Dr. Seuss was my first love. When my mom left me in the children’s section of the library I’d find Horton and the Cat. My mom hated the good doctor and refused to checkout his books. He was my secret, guilty pleasure. Eventually, I read about Narnia, Oz and Green Gables.
When my mom grew too sick to visit the library, a friend brought her a stash of romances which she kept in a big box beside her bed. Weekly, this good friend replenished the box. My mom didn’t know I read her books; it was like the Seuss affair, only sexier. Reading became my escape from a horrific and scary situation. Immersed in a story, I didn’t have to think about the life and death drama taking place on the other side of my bedroom wall. Books were my hallucinogenic drug of choice. In college, I studied literature and fell in love with Elliot, Willa and too many others to mention. (This had no similarity to my dating life.)
I’m no longer a child living with a grieving father and a dying mother, nor am I the co-ed in search of something or someone real, nonfictional. I’m an adult blessed with an abundance of love. I love my Heavenly Father and His son, my husband and family, my dog, my friends, my neighbors, my writing group, the birds outside my window.
Because I’m a writer, I also love my characters. I adore their pluck, courage and mettle. I admire the way they face and overcome hardships. But, as in any romance, I sometimes I get angry with them and think that they are too stupid to live. At those times, I have to remind myself that they live only in my imagination, unless I share. Writing for me is all about sharing--giving back to the world that has so generously shared with me-- because I learned a long time ago that the world is full of life and death dramas. Sometimes we need a story to help us escape.
And we need as much love as we can find. That’s why I write romance.
I have won awards and contests, but since one disgruntled critic once told me, "If you're as good a writer as you think you are, you should show us, not tell us," I no longer trot out my winnings. In the world of storytelling, they don't really matter.