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I've always loved the written word. For as long as I can remember, I read as much as I could, as often as I could. Cereal boxes, newspapers, product packaging. Ebony, Essence, and Jet Magazine. Billboards. I loved it all. I read the entire Fear Street series, as well as the Sweet Valley Books, from Twins and Friends through Sweet Valley High. Each week I'd bring 15 or 20 books home from the library, and read them all before the due date.
Now, my mother owned a pristine, barely touched collection of Harlequin romance novels, and I was not to touch them under any circumstances. Well, as a teenager, you know what that meant. I read some of them, and got my first introduction to romance.
When I was sixteen, I picked up my stepmother's copy of Night Song, by Beverly Jenkins. The cover showed an obviously historical image of a black couple, against a beautiful backdrop, locked in a passionate embrace. With my love of history, I had to crack this book. What I read inside literally blew my mind. I was exposed to a wonderful, touching love story involving people who looked like me! What a thrill. To this day Night Song remains my favorite book, and I credit it with planting the seed of desire to write romance. I didn't get serious until many years later, but that's where it all began.