October 11, 2016 02:52 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
An integral part of my journey to becoming a romance author was my introduction to the romance genre. Throughout my life, even as a child, I was always drawn to fairy tales and other romanticized stories. When it came to movies, many of my favorites were Disney classics like Snow White and Cinderella. And no matter what medium the story came in, the part I liked the best was when characters fell in love and (hopefully) lived happily ever after. So I guess it’s no surprise that when presented with my first romance novels, I eagerly devoured them and immediately begged for more.
The first romances I recall reading were in high school when I was probably about fifteen or sixteen years old. I went to a small, private Christian school that was primarily self-taught. They didn’t have much of a library to speak of, but they did have a bookshelf in the main classroom with a few titles on it. We were welcome to borrow books from it if we finished our classwork. I was a bit of an overachiever and nearly always finished my work before the end of the day, so out came the books with which I happily immersed my imagination for the remainder of my time at school.
It was on that little bookshelf that I found my first inspirational romances. They were Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke and Love is a Gentle Stranger by June Masters Bacher. As a huge fan of the Little House series (both the books and the TV show), I was instantly draw to them because of the pioneer themes. I can’t be absolutely sure which one I read first, but I loved them both. From there, I started scouring the public library for all the inspirational romances I could get my hands on.
Once I reached eighteen, my tastes started branching out a little. My mom read a story in the newspaper about Barbara Cartland, and how her romances were pretty clean. Still somewhat concerned about me possibly getting sex in my romances, she recommended her to me, and then I started devouring as many of her books as I could find at the library. But when I met my husband’s (then boyfriend's) mom, she introduced me to Julie Garwood who I loved, and from there, I started delving further and further into mainstream romances. After getting married, I joined the Harlequin Historicals book club and the Doubleday Book Club where I discovered my all-time favorite romance, Outlander, and I haven’t looked back since.
Now I read pretty much every type of romance from the sweet inspirationals of my youth, all the way up to hot and sexy erotic romances. If it’s got a love story in, I’ll read it. And after twenty-five years of reading romance, it just wasn’t enough for me anymore. I finally decided to write my own. Stop back next month to get the story behind the story on how I started writing my very first romance novel. And in the meantime, hop on over to Facebook and tell me about the first romance novel you ever read.