Since this is my first post for Nocturnal Nights, I thought it would be fun to do a blog about Firsts.
I'm not talking about first loves as in romantic loves of the opposite sex, or even the same sex. ("Not that there's anything wrong with that!"A little Seinfeld to get us rolling!) I'm talking about our first loves as readers and writers.
From a reader's perspective, I have long been a lover of romance novels. I started reading them when I was in my early teens--maybe fifteen or sixteen. My first straight romance was a Barbara Cartland historical romance. I'd been reading animal stories since I could focus on the written word. I'd read all the Black Stallion books, all the Lads and Lassies. Since I was horse mad, I’d pick up anything that had a horse on the front cover and that's how I became exposed to romances. Someone gave me a book they thought I'd like because it featured a girl's love for her equine friend. It also featured a girl's awakening to boys. The book was as much a romance as an animal story. And I loved it. After I finished it, I went looking for similar books. Books that combined a love of boys with a love of animals. But I couldn’t find any. LOL. I guess that particular niche hadn’t been discovered.
So I started looking for stories that just focused on the romance, and that's how I stumbled across Barbara Cartland. I devoured those books. Jumped from there to Harlequin Presents and BOOM. I was addicted. My first paranormal romance was one of Maggie Shayne's old Silhouette Shadows. Her vampire series hooked me on paranormal romance.
As often happens, my heavy reading gave way to day dreams about my own worlds and characters. My writing tended to follow my reading endeavors. So when I was reading about animals, I was writing about animal. When I started reading romances, my writing swung in that direction as well. The first romance I actually sat down and wrote from first word, to last--was a category length contemporary romance. The story was about a book worm college professor, who was determined to get in shape and the famous baseball player who was hiding out in the house next door while he recovered from an injury. I was 20 years old and in my first year of college. I wrote the book two hours at a time. Every day after classes, I'd go to the library and write the story in a notebook. The entire manuscript was 300 handwritten pages. After I finished it, I approached one of the writing professors in the English department. He informed me that if I wanted to submit it to publishers, it would have to be typewritten. This was way before the personal computer and I didn't have a typewriter. The notebooks sat in a box for years and eventually disappeared.
I wrote my next manuscript when I was 29. Like the first, this one was handwritten, but this time I revised it on one of my dad's brand new IBM DOS personal computers. The printer was dot matrix and had those folding edges you'd tear off. The book was a paranormal suspense and set up for a trilogy about a trio of genetically enhanced girls who’d escaped from a laboratory during an earthquake. The heroine in the first book was a psychic and the hero was a rock star. I made up lyrics and everything! I actually submitted that book to Silhouette Intimate Moments and received a very nice letter back saying that while the manuscript had a lot of potential; Nora Roberts was coming out with a series quite similar to it. The editor encouraged me to write another book and submit again.
It was another thirteen years before I wrote another book and by then my interest has veered from category to single title. But I still loved romance, suspense and paranormal, and I still love them to this day.
What about the rest of you?
What were your first loves?