Day 21 Cherry Adair – On Love and Libraries

LIBRARIES, LOVE, AND HAPPILY EVER AFTER

RondeboschLibraryI grew up in a suburb of Cape Town (South Africa) with a wonderful library. The building was over a hundred years old, two stories, with a sweeping mahogany staircase leading up to the second floor. No one under 13 was allowed up those stairs. No exceptions.

In the Children’s Library I read my way through every book, short story, piece of loose paper, envelope, or shopping list used as bookmarks, I was ready to go upstairs. MORE than ready!

On my thirteenth birthday the best present from my mother was a brand new library card. I burst into tears, I was so happy. That year, my birthday fell on a Sunday. Talk about bad timing! Worse, the library was closed on Monday’s. I had ants in my pants, and a list as long as my arm of the books I would check out the second I walked through those double, mahogany doors on the second floor. But I had to wait 48 long, anticipatory, hours.

On Tuesday morning, my parents (yes, my father actually took the morning off work for this momentous occasion, and they allowed me to go to school late because, for goodness sake! I could not possibly have waited until 3:30!) and I waited in the car outside for the doors to open at nine. I had, of course, been wide awake and bushytailed since 5 A.M.

When the heavy, carved door opened, the three of us were standing there in the pouring rain. I didn’t care. I would have dashed through the first crack as the door was unlocked and pulled open. OMG! It opened so sloooowly!

My heart started pounding so hard, I gripped my Mom’s hand in case I fainted before I got upstairs. I have never in my Cherry Adair Ice Coldlife been that excited, and filled with quite that much anticipation as that day. (Not even on my Honeymoon – but that’s another story.)

With my parents on either side of me, I stood at the base of those sweeping, mahogany stairs, frozen in my tracks, savoring the moment. I’d waited so long for this I could hardly breathe. The treads were worn from over a hundred years of feet going up and down them. The swooping gracefully curved banister was satiny smooth (I knew, because I’d been stroking the bottom curve of it for years as I looked up longingly) from thousands of hands (and probably bottoms) sliding down it.

My father crooked his elbow in a sweetly gallant gesture which I’ve never forgotten. I slipped my hand around his arm, and together, the three of us ascended.

My memory has a choir of angels singing on the top landing, and white doves swooping overhead, but I’m pretty sure the Rondebosch Public Library would have frowned on singing and bird poop, so it probably didn’t happen that way.

When we reached the top of the stairs, taken in complete and reverent silence, my father reached over and pushed opened the double doors.

The smell hit me first. Paper. Leather. Dust. Books. Adventure. Romance. I had to just stand there and take it in. THEN I gave my Librarian The List.

Number One: Gone With The Wind. Ahhhhh Bliss. Loved and hated Scarlett, and started writing the moment I closed that book. I rewrote the end many, many times(It was only years, and maturity, later that I knew the ending was absolutely perfect.)

I’ve been a romance writer ever since. It’s the best job in the world and I can’t imagine doing anything else.


 Questions for Cherry:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

A tough question to ask an ex-interior designer. I , of course, think everything in my house is gorgeous. But, unfortunately, this question is far too easy to answer. Hand’s down my darling husband’s favorite original oil painting which hangs with pride in our living room (See how much I love this man?!) Driving past a garage sale he saw this masterpiece, and knew I’d love it, and it would be absolutely perfect in our home. (Say what?!) This is a man who doesn’t want to have a garage sale, let alone one who stops and purchases anything at one. Nor has he ever bought anything decorative for the house. The subject matter of this work of art is always a conversation piece. The blue sections: A woman’s naked breast? The back end of some sort of farm animal? The lemon/lime green section: A man’s elbow? Possibly the lemon/lime green nose of a hippopotamus with sinus problems? The fuchsia section: A telephone? A cyborg? A piece of silly putty? Over all this is a clear wash (unfortunately too clear!) of fog-gray with lumps of. . .Personally I think lumps of cauliflower. But that’s just my opinion. As I said, I love my first husband.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

Up All Night. Because, well, I usually am up all night- writing. With my husband upstairs asleep, and both dogs snoozing under my desk, the midnight hours are my most productive. I love watching the sun rise as I’m off to bed. The Carrie Wells character played by Poppy Montgomery in Unforgettable should play me. We have the same color hair (I think we might use the same formula for this natural red of ours lol) and while I thinks she’s very attractive, I’d kill for that memory. I don’t remember if I had breakfast most days, let alone remember what it was.

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

My first Library Card.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

Jake and Marnie from KISS and TELL, I loved their dynamic, and really loved how free and without angst Marnie was. She was Jake’s polar opposite, and watching him fall in love with her was so much fun to watch and write.


You are reading this essay at ReadARomanceMonth.com. Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.  Also visit the Awesome Contests page to see how you can register each week to win “A Month of Romance” (31 books), e-readers, and even the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

Cherry is generously donating an e-book (ICE COLD, or the enhanced collectors editions of KISS and TELL or OUT OF SIGHT) to three U.S. readers (U.S. only, apologies to international readers.). U.S. readers, to enter, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 21 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


Cherry AdairNew York Times and USAToday bestselling author Cherry Adair has carved a niche for herself with her sexy, sassy, fast-paced, action adventure novels which have appeared on numerous bestsellers lists, won dozens of awards, and garnered praise from reviewers and fans alike. She’s written over 30 novels and novellas, hates first drafts, has a passion for mentoring unpublished writers, and is hard at work on three series – T-FLAC, CUTTER CAY and LODESTONE. You can find Cherry online at CherryAdair.com

 

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  • Nancy Huddleston

    What a wonderful memory! I love our library. Thanks.

  • Laurie W G

    My parents were avid readers who visited our local library on a weekly basis. They instilled their love of books in me. I have passed this love on to all four of my children and now my almost 2 yo granddaughter.

    I have only recently discovered your thrilling books.

  • TrishJ

    I am having a fan moment!! Your books are the perfect blend of edge of your seat action and hold your breath romance. I have read them all. Okay, done. I love that your first experience with the library was so momentous. I grew up going to the library as soon as I could read. I just took it for granted. I did spent a lot of my teenage years at the table in the corner reading tho. I was very shy and lived my life through books.

  • Kim Cornwell

    Love finding new authors! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Sue G.

    I love your joy from the library. As a kid we could ride our bikes to our library. I would spend most of my summers there. I was always the kid staying up past bedtime, reading under the covers with my Girl Scout flashlight! I’ve shared this love with all three of my daughters only now they read on their tablets instead of holding books.

  • M Kuxhaus

    I love your answer of library card; mine took me to River Heights and all other sorts of places. 😉

  • mariannewestrich

    You definitely need to post a picture of that piece of “art”! 😎 Thanks for reliving your wonderful library memory with us!

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    I just love your essay with memories of your library, so beautiful! I love how you write and can’t wait to read more!

  • Rochelle

    I love your essay, and how wonderful your parents are to nurture your love of books.

  • Karin Anderson

    I wish more people would be that excited about reading. It is such a vital part of our culture.

  • Kareni

    I’m a big library fan, too. I’ve worked as a librarian, I volunteer at my local library, and I like to visit libraries when my husband and I take trips. Can one be a library-aholic?

    Thanks for your fun post and for your books!

  • Anne

    Thank you for sharing! Your story touched me and reminded me of the first time the librarian in our small town wrote my library card number down from her memory because I was there so much. I was there at least three times a week with my bike and backpack. Thank you for the great memory!

  • Margaret Hughes

    Thanks for sharing a wonderful memory! It’s a shame that more people don’t take advantage of the library. Thanks for a great post and all of your fabulous books!

  • Evelyn S

    That was the sweetest story!!! I loved going to the library with my mom – we only browsed the romance section! 🙂

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I really enjoyed reading your essay. Libraries are so important!

  • Rosemarie N.

    I love my library. Without them my husband would have ban me from having a buying a new book budget. I do everything to support my local library. Thanks for sharing your story. Love read all your books. Can’t wait till the next T-FLAC and Cutter Cay books are out. Maybe you can sneak in another Camel or two? LOL…..

  • Britney Adams

    LOVE THIS ESSAY!! I still have my first library card that I received when I was 5 years old!

  • Jami Good

    “Loved and hated Scarlett” – oh, my merciful stars, yes!! 😀 My family moved a lot when I was a kid — one of the first places we would go in our new town was the nearest library. <3

    • Elle Lothlorien

      I thought we already talked about the Scarlett situation. Trust me: you WANTED Scarlett O’Hara at your side during the Civil War. If your CW tour guide had been Melanie Hamilton…well, good luck with that Union soldier, hon. ♥ 😉

  • Rowan Worth

    What a great story from your childhood. And how NICE of your parents! I loved libraries as well–the children’s librarian also used to bring me books from the OTHER sections when I had worked my way through the “appropriate” stuff. Love your books; Jake & Marnie’s story is one of my all-time favorites.

  • Elle Lothlorien

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful story! I too remember my first library card and my first trip into the “Adult Section.” What an unexpected, lovely trip down Memory Lane your piece turned out to be for me this fine morning…

  • Toni Linenberger

    I so enjoyed meeting you at RT. I could totally hear your voice as I read this. What wonderful memories!
    Loved the comment about your first husband. 🙂

  • MK

    What a fantastic story. I love libraries too- they save my pocketbook, although I still but a ton of books!

  • jcp

    What sweet parents you had to let you be late for school and for your father to take off work so you could go to the Adult section of the library.

  • Willa Blair

    What a wonderful story!

    I don’t remember my first foray into a library with my very own card, but I do remember years of bringing home a stack of books (what ever the limit was) and finishing them all long before I was allowed to go back for more.

    I, too, have a husband-chosen awful painting, but I refuse to hang it. Depressing gray view of a windmill and water he got in Holland years ago. It brings me down every time I see it. At least yours is colorful!

  • rebecca moe

    I got tears in my eyes at your library story! Tears, I tell you!

    And another kind of tears reading about that painting. My condolences.

  • Stephanie M.

    Thanks for the great story. We moved so much when I was a kid, the library was always my first friend in a new town. I still have a library card and use it all the time.

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I love other people’s stories about their love if libraries! My library card is well worn and used constantly. They know me by name and have even asked me to help them select books to buy for their romance section 🙂
    I’m intrigued by the yard same picture…I wish you had included it in your post!

  • Kristy Birch

    What a beautiful story! The library was one of the constants in my life as an Army brat. I never knew what each base or neighboring town would have, except I knew there would be a library and that was really all I needed.

  • Ketta Peters

    I have a collection of library cards from every place I’ve ever lived… great post.

  • Debra Fritz-Austin

    I’m sure those birds and choir were there 😉 just for you that day.

  • Mary McCoy

    Wow that is a library card drama! It reminds me of the times my daughter had ended a discussion of a new kid she had met by saying “Can you believe he doesn’t even have a library card?”

  • Marjorie morris

    Totally adore your books!

  • Cynthia Reifel

    Cherry, You know I love your books and as I am now on a fixed income, permanently, anything by you that I would win would be a BONUS, so thanks for the giveaway! You rock, Miss Snapple!

  • Cheryl Sanders

    What a wonderful story. You must have had amazing parents growing up. I particularly liked it when your dad crooked his elbow. That’s a special memory to cherish.

  • Vonda M. Reid

    What an absolutely wonderful “memory” of your childhood. You’re parents are awesome! I, too, loved Jake and Marnie. After reading *Kiss and Tell*, I bought your backlist and have been a fan ever since.

  • Marcy Cordova

    What an amazing memory! It brings back my own memories of feeling so grown up once I could check out books in the adult department. I have so many fond memories of my hometown library.
    I haven’t read anything by you, but this essay makes me think I should give you a try. 🙂

  • glittergirl54

    You just proved why you are one of my favorite authors…wonderful post and fabulous storytelling. It kept me engaged the whole way through. Thanks for sharing your talents with us readers. Also thanks for the giveaway!

  • c owens

    what a great childhood memory and that was truly a gift for your parents to encourage your love of reading.

  • MooMoo Cake

    Your story is truly awesome. I spent as much of my childhood either in a library or reading a library book but I never had such a defining moment as a library-goer. Thanks for sharing and for participating in RAR Month!

  • Pamby50

    What a great looking library. I can just picture it. I love my library card. I believe everyone should have one. I read my first book by you when the library for Valentine’s Day would fill a bag with paperback books which you can purchase for $5. There had to be 20 romance books in the bag. All to support the library. I have read all your T-FLAC novels. Will have to check out Cutter Cay.

  • Ann Mettert

    I loved the library story. 🙂 I can’t remember the exact age, but maybe I was ten, my mom signed a form to let me take out “big people” books. I got an Agatha Christie and a Phyllis Whitney. Mystery and Romantic Suspense still my tops. 🙂

  • Valerie

    I adore your library story and that things like that actually happen. I think it’s funny that your library had a whole other floor “curtained” off, almost like an old fashioned movie place. That’s sweet and in this day and age wonderful!

  • Meredith Richardson

    Oh I am so jealous!!! The library in my home town has older sections with history but still very small… Especially the romance section. I can only imagine how much fun you had at that library as a kid 🙂

  • Kristen Pfister

    Ahh the library of my dreams.

  • Larena Hubble

    what a great story and it sounds like a fantastic library.

  • MaryC

    I remember how excited I was when the local branch library opened its doors whem I was in the third grade. My class was taken on a school trip to visit the new library and all the students got library cards. We were allowed thirty minutes to check out the shelves that day and select a book to check out.
    Love your books!

  • Elizabeth Gray

    Cherry is one of the authors I started reading when I branched out my reading. One of the best decisions I ever made. Love Cherry Adair books.

  • Thelma Baker-Hill

    Memories of my visits to the Atlanta Library when I was small are some of the best. You read Gone With the Wind and I was able to look at the collection of memorabilia that was always on display at the library. I also remember the distinct wonderful odor that is only found in a great library. Every summer I would spend as much time as possible at that library. After all, I got to read at least 10 books during the summer and get a certificate that I still have.

  • Cheryl C.

    Wow, what a great post! You won the parent lottery.

  • leah g

    That might be one of the coolest stories I have ever read!

  • Tory

    Very awesome memory and parents!

  • Glenda

    Awww! Love that your dad took off work to escort you to the grown-up library the first time! !

  • donnas

    How cool, what a great story and sounds like an awesome library building.

  • What a wonderful story, Cherry! I love it. I actually had a dream not too long ago that the tiny library in my town opened up again, and I was so excited to be able to go in, and take my daughter in. I really was sad when I woke up and it wasn’t real. Libraries are special places. 🙂

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for your “library story”. I grew up where there weren’t any public libraries nearby, so I am envious of your special time. I love your books because they are a perfect combination of romance and suspense.

  • Raine Dawson

    What a great story, I adore Cherry’s stories but I had no idea about her personal life. That library sounds unforgettable-what a memory to have.

  • BookLady

    What a wonderful post! I felt the same way about getting my first library card. Thanks for sharing.

  • Karen Gallagher

    Libraries! Love them. Always have. Always will. There’s only two things I don’t like about them. First, wasted space. So many new libraries are huge and have so much wasted space. I’ve tried to give them “gently” used magazines and books to fill up those empty spaces, but they refuse. I find that rude. And wasteful. And second, all those non-gently used books. My little bit of OCD has to do with other people’s dirt. Gross. I’ve not read any of your books yet, but will add your name to the getting-longer-by-the-day list of authors and books I now must read.

  • Brenda E

    Fantastic, loved your story. A romance made in Heaven – you and the Library. 🙂

  • Kim

    I love that story!! I loved the excitement of going to the library and finding a new book or 10 that I had to read!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    I loved your Blogpost today, Cherry! It truly resonated with me because I love Romance and Libraries have always been a hugely important part of my life. Even these days when I can afford to buy my books, I often use the library to check out new authors. I especially like to recommend new authors and books to the LAPL (Los Angeles Public Library) they are very responsive in trying to get books out there even in this economy.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    I love libraries too! It was great reading your story and when I first went to the library in my city- reading romances-I started alphabetically by authors and yours was the first I picked if my memory doesn’t fail me. 🙂

  • Roxanne St. Claire

    Awesome post! You knw I’m a huge fan! xo