Day 3 – Juliana Gray

Romantic Encounters

I encountered my first romance novel when I was about thirteen years old, and it was a doozy. November had just settled in, and I was earning my pony’s board by bringing in all the other horses from the pasture each afternoon and doling out feed. While they ate, I was allowed to take shelter in the stable owner’s basement, where his college-age daughter stashed all her romances.

Well. I picked up Lady Vixen––”A golden heiress living a lie…in a stormtide of rapture and romance!”––by Shirlee Busbee, and each afternoon those forlorn horses were left to lick the bottoms of their feeding troughs while I followed my auburn-haired minx Nicole Ashford from her days as a stowaway cabin boy, to her passionate nights in the bed of notorious privateer Captain Saber, to her waltzes in London ballrooms, where Captain Saber had transformed into aristocrat Christopher Saxon, complete with golden eyes and sardonic smile.

Eh, hooked? You think?

As the raw Seattle winter dragged on, I lost myself in Civil War romance (blonde identical  twins, one good and one evil, sort of Sweet Valley High meets Gone With the Wind), Napoleonic war romance (something about spies), Gothic romance (Cornwall, dead first wife), and Louisiana plantation romance (more identical twins). It was my scandalous basement secret: me, the studious second child, the fuzzy-haired bespectacled bibliophile, who never met a rule she didn’t obediently follow and a human being she didn’t yearn to please. I received a thorough (if possibly flawed) sexual education at the hands of Busbee and the Avon ladies, while my unsuspecting classmates played Pac-Man and watched Growing Pains. Bulging manhoods––goodness me! Oral sex––who knew? If the boys passing me blankly in the hallways of junior high didn’t quite measure up to the superb masculine standards of Captain Saber, I didn’t care. I had a hero and a sparkly rainbow orgasm waiting for me, somewhere.

Then high school. Then college. Whenever the boys didn’t quite measure up, whenever the sparkles and rainbows didn’t materialize, whenever I was overlooked and turned down and passed over and dumped, I turned back to romance. Whenever I encountered a thorny term paper or a thorny professor, a parental divorce or a resume rejection, I sieved through the shelves of the local bookstores until I found solace, until I found that solid rectangular doorway into another body, another time, another world. And when I emerged again from that doorway, I was a little bit stronger, a little more heroic. A little more able to face down the slings and arrows of real-world fortune. (Which is, after all, the point of all human storytelling.)

And this story ends happily, never fear. I did find my hero, and plenty of sparkles and rainbows, and a baby epilogue too. For many years, I stopped reading romance entirely; I was occupied from dawn to dusk with the immensely satisfying epic of my own life. But when life’s little setbacks inevitably arrived, I knew where to turn. A whole new generation of romance authors, a whole new generation of Captain Sabers, lay waiting for me at the bookstore. Then and now, they turn me back into my heroic self.


Questions for the Author:

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

As I have four children, the list is endless! Leaving them out of it, for the longest time I kept this bizarre miniature plastic bathroom scene my mother inexplicably gave me one Christmas. You pushed various buttons on the diorama and it would emit the corresponding rude bathroom noises. My mother isn’t a vulgar person, so I have no idea why she sent it. A menopausal moment, maybe? Anyway, I hid it in a closet for years, because how can you throw away a present from your mother? I think we “accidentally” put it in the Goodwill box when we moved.

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

Fifty Shades of Coffee. Starring Rachel McAdam on a really bad hair day.

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

I’m a huge Patrick O’Brian fan, and my husband pulled some strings for our fifth anniversary and got tickets to the London premiere of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World. (We were living in London at the time.) It was the official Royal premiere of the year, so Prince Charles was there, a few seats away. It was amazing. I wore the most fabulous dress I owned. When we left the after party, there was this crowd of paparazzi outside, waiting for someone famous to pop out, and an embarrassing silence settled around the doorway as they tried to figure out who we were. Then a single flashbulb went off. So that was my moment, LOL.

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?)

Oh. Gosh. The problem is, I’m usually most in love with the couple I created last, so I’ll have to go with Princess Emilie and the Duke of Ashland in my latest book, HOW TO TAME YOUR DUKE. As for romance novels in general, I do so love Sarah Maclean’s A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME, which just won the RITA for Best Historical (hurrah!!). (*I haven’t read A ROGUE, but One Good Earl Deserves a Lover is one of the best books I’ve read this year. I do not envy the RITA historical prelim judges for 2014. Amazing titles this year! ~Bobbi)

As for recommending another romance author, it’s so hard to choose! I absolutely love Meredith Duran, though. The quality of her writing is just superb.

Juliana Gray is  generously donating three signed copies How To Tame Your Duke  to give away.  U.S. only, apologies to international 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 midnight EST Aug 3 to be eligible, though winners will be announced the following week.


 

Juliana Gray began writing as a child to relieve the tedium of being sentenced to her room, and later turned to romance to relieve the tedium of unsatisfactory suitors. Sadly, despite five years’ residence in the most exclusive areas of London, she never met a single duke, though she once shared a taxi with a future baron.

Juliana’s debut romance trilogy, A Lady Never Lies, A Gentleman Never Tells, and A Duke Never Yields, won widespread acclaim, including the RT Book Review’s Seal of Excellence and Best First Historical award. Her latest novel, How to Tame Your Duke, earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and a Top Pick rating from RT Book Reviews. As Beatriz Williams, she is also the author of Overseas and A Hundred Summers from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. She enjoys dark chocolate, champagne, and dinner parties, and adores hearing from readers. Visit her website at www.julianagray.com.

Buy Juliana’s books and Beatriz Williams’ books on Amazon.

  • Allison Siegel

    I love that you admit that romance books were a sort of means for an escape from life’s troubles for you. Now I know that whenever a man doesn’t stand up to my literary crush, it doesn’t mean I’ll never find one its just I haven’t found one yet.

    • Juliana Gray

      The sad lesson of life is that most alpha males really are jerks. But if you can find one with just enough sensitive beta, that’s the one!! 🙂

  • Kim Cornwell

    We have something in common. Horses and Romance books! I my self have 8 and love to carry my book to the barn and sit in the hallway and read while they eat. I love to feel the breeze on a hot day in that hallway while the horses are munching. Thanks for stopping by! Can’t wait to pick up your books love finding new authors!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Kim! (I only WISH I’d had a hot breeze while reading – those Seattle winters are dank!)

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I so remember the early days of adolescent romance reading…your post just brought it all back for me!! Was there anyone better than Shirley to a young reader, just starting out??!! Love your books and look forward to checking out Meredith Duran (already a fan of Sarah MacLean…yeah on her win this year!!)

    • Juliana Gray

      Yes, do check out Meredith!! She’s wonderful. (And I did read the other Shirlee Busbees at the library. Ooh la la!)

  • Melanie Backus

    Love a great read and am keeping my fingers crossed!

  • Britney Adams

    Thanks for sharing your first romance novel encounter!

  • Jen C

    I didn’t pick up a romance until I was in my 30s, but boy am I hooked. I’ve at least 2 at a time going since. 🙂

    • Thank you Jen – and thanks for the RARM profile pic! Awesome! xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      Love readers like you, Jen! 🙂

  • PJ Ausdenmore

    I picked up my first romance at age 13 too, with much the same results. I’ve evolved from that first Gothic historical by Victoria Holt and now embrace the books of many different sub-genres. One of the things I love about romance is that there really is something for every readers.

    And I second your recommendation of Meredith Duran. Her writing is stunning!

    • Thank you PJ!

    • Juliana Gray

      I LOVE her writing! She’s so good.

  • Thanks so much, Juliana! It’s been so nice getting to ‘know’ you. xoxo

  • I started reading full-length “grown-up” fiction in third grade, picking up whatever my mom left sitting around the house. My first book report in fourth grade was for a romance novel. About a decade later I found those books I’d borrowed from my mother up in her attic and re-read them. Oral sex. Bulging manhoods. The whole shebang. I didn’t have a clue what was going on when I was little. All I knew was that they “loved” each other. I know I read every word. I was very very proud about not skipping. But, as a child what I needed form those books was not romance, but a happy ending. As I grew up, I came back to the genre again and again… and it’s never disappointed.

    • love this, thank you JW!

    • Juliana Gray

      As Milton said, “to the pure, all things are pure”! But imagine your mother’s horror if she knew…

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    Thanks for sharing your first Romance book. :0)

  • Kristy Birch

    I was arbitrarily labeled a slow reader on the first day of kindergarten and as a good 5 year old I believed them and felt that I had to do everything possible to “catch-up.” I read voraciously until I hit middle school and then I became too “busy” to read. I rediscovered reading for pleasure at 16 when my sister worked at a local bookstore and I found Julie Garwood’s For the Roses. I have been a devoted reader of her’s and the genre’s since then.

    • xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      Ooh, I remember discovering Garwood in high school! I think my best friend loaned me The Bride. Not sure if I returned it!!

      • Kristy Birch

        Julianna, I have three copies of The Bride because I keep reading them to pieces! I’m sure your friend quickly replaced heroes sing copy, though she may have shook her fist at you a bit first; hopefully you’re still friends 😉

  • Donna Logan Brown

    You are a new-to-me author and it’s great to get a chance to “meet” you. Look forward to reading How to Tame Your Duke as Duke books are my favorite. Love your blog and can’t get that bathroom diorama out of my mind. What a gift from a mother! First romances are a wonderful experience although mine was well over fifty years ago, so I don’t remember exactly which one it was. Did love Lady Vixen though, Whew! Really enjoying all the authors on the RARM blog and love the concept.

    • Thank you so much, Donna! xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      Thank you, Donna – yay, a fellow Lady Vixen fan!! That Christopher Saxon *sighs*

  • I am really looking forward to reading Juliana’s romance novels. I loved reading the interview with her. So fun!

    • They are SO GOOD! xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Brooke! Happy reading (and let me know what you think!).

  • lisa

    Thanks for sharing your lovely thoughts. I look forward to reading your stories.

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Lisa 🙂

  • Tory

    I read my first romance at 12 – a Janelle Taylor – I still have the book but am somewhat afraid to re-read it 🙂

    • Juliana Gray

      I did re-read Lady Vixen a few years ago, and was pleased to find it just as good as I remembered! But definitely lacking in a few politically correction conventions… 😉

  • Hannah Weitzman

    Can’t wait to read it!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thank you – hope you enjoy!! 🙂

  • Erlinda Mejia

    I agree, reading romance is an escape, an adventure, a dream, and oh so entertaining. Thank you!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks so much, Erlinda!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I look forward to reading your books. I have twin girls and the amount of crazy toys we have is unreal. I can totally identify with the crazy toys.

    • Juliana Gray

      They are a plague! I think I just need to get the junk hauler guys out and solve the problem once and for all.

  • suepeace

    I love how you describe the books 🙂 I too was reading/sneaking romance novels at a very young age!!! Of course when your mother says that’s too old for you, you have to read it!!! 😉

    • Juliana Gray

      I have to confess, I’m a little nervous about my own daughter starting romance when she’s the same age! CERTAINLY don’t want her reading one of mine – the horror!

  • Sandy Xiong

    Reading books to escape from real life even if just a little while does bring peace to one’s self. I always do that especially now for college…so frustrating. How to Tame Your Duke was the first book I read from you and it really caught my eye because of the duke’s willingness to remain faithful even though his wife betrayed him. Thanks for sharing your first romance novel encounter!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thank you, Sandy! So glad you enjoyed. I do have a major writer crush still on Ashland – fidelity is something I adore in men.

  • Carla Michelle Peavler Alcorn

    Your life growing up sounds a lot like mine lol. Love your enthusiasm. Can’t wait to read your books.

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Carla!

  • Rebecca Berus

    Your story reminds me a bit of mine and I love the happy ending. It gives me hope that eventually I will find my own. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Juliana Gray

      You’re welcome, Rebecca – thank you! Happy endings do come eventually… 🙂

  • Chanpreet

    My first romance novel was The Love Stone by Deanna James and I was about the same age!

    • Ruth

      Where did you find your icon?! I want “Keep Calm and Read” on a t-shirt!!

      • Chanpreet

        I’m not sure. I think I was looking at various keep calm icons and this one immediately caught my eye. The whole thing says, “Keep calm and read a book.” I wasn’t able to fit the whole thing in.

        I think it suits me perfectly and I think it’d make a great t-shirt design! 🙂

        • Ruth

          Well, I am going to investigate this and get back to you!
          Thanks!!

          • Chanpreet

            You’re welcome! I look forward to hearing back from you! 🙂

          • Ruth

            Did a little google research. Unfortunately, your icon comes from a poster that is no longer available. Many have made “Keep Calm and Read” t-shirts, but none I like as much as this girl in a hammock with her dog. That’s as far as I’ve gotten. I didn’t want you to think I wouldn’t get back to you. Where there’s a will, there’s a way 😉

          • Chanpreet

            Well darn! I do hope you’ll be able to find what you need. You’re on the right track!

    • Juliana Gray

      Ooh, I’ll have to check that out!

      • Chanpreet

        You should! It was written in the 80s/90s and has a kick @$$ heroine and the story centers around them being enemies from warring kingdoms. It was a mind blower for me!

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    You are a new name in Romance for me, Juliana, but I have3 heard nothing but great things about you. My TBR list just got longer!

    • As it should be, at Read-A-Romance Month! ;o)

      • Flora Segura-Buchler

        LOL! 😉

    • Juliana Gray

      Thank you, Flora!! 🙂

  • Dana Shoulders

    I also started reading what were sort of “forbidden” books while I was babysitting and the kids were either in bed or down for a nap and there would be that great stretch of time just waiting for the parents to come home finally. Typically, the mother would leave a book lying on a coffee or end table, or just have bookshelves full of choices, and I’m the kind of person that would read the back of a cereal box if I was bored enough. The worst part were the times I would totally get into the book and I’d have to wait until I babysat again before I could finish it :). I’m sure that is why I learned to read so fast.

    • I totally read the back of cereal boxes, too! But I like romances much better. xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      Oh yes! I am an unashamed snooper on other peoples’ shelves. And the forbidden books were always the best! 🙂

  • Mary Tapia

    Great Blog post!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Mary! 🙂

  • leah g

    I love that you found your hero. I am still searching, definitely having a problem with men not measuring up. But its probably a bit of me too.

    • Juliana Gray

      I think many men do have a little problem growing up these days…on the other hand, it’s probably also a tough time to be a traditionally masculine man. 🙂 Keep looking!

  • Nicole Fortuna

    I too put aside romance for a long time and came back after the birth of my son. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed romance and now there are so many authors I enjoy. I will have to try one of your books they sound really good.

    • Juliana Gray

      Sometimes I think it’s good to take a little break and come back! You remember all the things you loved about the genre. All those feelings are fresh again!

  • tonda hargett

    I’m a huge romance fan, your books sound absolutely wonderful!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Tonda! 🙂

  • Laura Z

    We used to go to the library once a month when we were kids, and when I was about 11-12, I would sneak romance books into my bag so Mom wouldn’t see them. Trying to remember who I read first, I think it was Charlotte Lamb or Violet Winspear. Years later Mom tells me she knew that I was checking out romances books when I was supposed to be reading other things for school and she read some of them while I was at school. She was just happy that all of here kids liked to read books.

    • Laura – My mom was very disapproving of romance! (also mentioned in the NPR piece, I think.) Lucky you! xoxo

  • Kim

    I really liked thast movie. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Juliana Gray

      You’re welcome, Kim! 🙂 Great movie, and the books are just amazing.

  • Ann Mettert

    I don’t remember when I started reading romance. I started with mystery do maybe romantic suspense led me there?? I’m just glad I got there. 🙂

    • Have you read my NPR article? It’s on the About page and mentions how I skimmed Nancy Drew books to find Ned. xoxo

  • Valerie

    I love that you used Romance novels as your escape. I do the same thing…. Whenever I need that me moment, I always find my escape in another world, where things end happily

    • Juliana Gray

      I agree, Valerie – real life can be so overrated 🙂

  • ki pha

    Oh I was 15 when I picked up my first romance!!! Barbara Delinsky and then from there Stephanie Laurens and the rest was history! Oh those first beginnings, how they were so romantic, not that they aren’t anymore, but how I learned something new everytime I opened a romance book! LOL so naive then.

    • Hi, Ki – Barbara is posting tomorrow. :o)

    • Juliana Gray

      “History” – literally! 🙂 Funny how so many of us started romance at about that age (mid-teens). I really think it helps a girl get through all that angst!

  • erom13

    I also started reading romance quite young, even before the age of 13, actually. And you can definitely never be too old to read a romance.

    P.S. I love you bio. I never met any nobility when I visited England.

    • A friend of mine in college went out with a Greek prince! They broke up, though, so I never went to his Christmas party in his NYC mansion. (sigh) ;o)

    • Juliana Gray

      Sadly, real-life dukes tend to be less (ahem) endowed with nature’s gifts than our tall, handsome, brooding, heroic dukes of fiction. So probably just as well I didn’t have my fantasy punctured!

  • Lisa Kay Argo

    You’ve brought up wonderful memories by sharing yours, thank you.

    • Juliana Gray

      You’re welcome – isn’t this a wonderful bond we all share? 🙂

  • Melissa Sullivan

    I remember reading my first romance at 14. The funny thing was that i didn’t even realize it was a romance at first. I was completely in love with Ewan Mcgregor at the time. The main character was named Ewan. I was hooked by the end of the book and was begging my mother to take me to Borders to get the next one in the series.

    • Juliana Gray

      Haha – definitely a good crush! I applaud your taste…and at 14, no less!

  • Robin Ray

    I must admit that Julianna Gray is an Author that is New to me I truly
    enjoyed her article and looked up her latest book. The fact that it is
    what I at least would consider a BeautyBeast Theme puts it on my Want
    To Read list. I’m also curious to know of the books she mentions namely
    “Lady Vixen” are still available somewhere.

    • Hi, Robin –

      It looks like there are some used copies on Amazon. Would you consider using the link on the post? I get a tiny percentage of sales that come off this blog. (Though I’m not sure about outside booksellers. Still, it’s worth a try and I’d be grateful.)

      • Robin Ray

        Bobbi, Thank you for the information and I’ll keep it in mind. To be honest since its appears that it is not Out of Print due to budgeting issues I need to check my Local Resale Book shop first.

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks so much, Robin – hope you enjoy! And you can definitely find a used copy of Lady Vixen on Amazon somewhere.

  • Ketta Peters

    I didn’t read my first romance until I was in college, as Mom read biographies and Daddy was sci-fi and history reader. Loved your post!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Ketta! Better late than never 😉

  • Ruth

    Juliana! After reading your article today, my first response was, “I love you!” I, too, was a really good girl. I think I would have been better off if I had read romance in junior high, instead of beginning my addiction as an adult. Wait! I think I did have a romantic comic book! Anyway, you have Captain Saber, I have Lisa Kleypas’s Simon Hunt. Or Paula Quinn’s Dante Risande. Or Candace Camp’s Alec Stafford. You catch my drift. I may still be waiting for my happily ever after at age 90, but I just can’t give up. Romance matters because there is hope in those pages and how can that be a bad thing? I can’t wait to read your books!!

    • lovely Ruth. I am happily married, but I might leave him for Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent (A Devil in Winter)! ;o)

      • Ruth

        I can understand that, since I have read A Devil in Winter three times. We might have to roll around on the floor over St. Vincent! And thanks for taking time to kindly respond to my messages 🙂

        • You’re very welcome. And he’s mine. ;o)

          • Ruth

            LOL! xoxoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      LOVE. SIMON. That is all. 🙂 And thank you so much – being a pleaser is heavy burden, isn’t it?!? So good to have an escape and a place to slip into another skin.

  • Katy M

    I read romance to escape the stress life can bring and the worries that I can’t seem to turn off and because I know it will have at least a happy-for-now ending if not an HEA. I need that even if it’s only for the length of a book.

    • Juliana Gray

      Oh yes – I get such lovely notes from people going through hard times who get much-needed relief from reading romance. Makes it all worthwhile!! Good luck with everything, Katy 🙂

  • M Kuxhaus

    I wish Lady Vixen was available on Kindle! I’ll have to try another one by Ms Busbee.

    • Juliana Gray

      You can get it used from an Amazon reseller! Honestly, there is no substitute. Or maybe I’m just biased! 😉

  • Patty Vasquez

    I had to smile while reading your essay. I began reading romance when it was a little more PG-13: Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. And then along came Kathleen Woodiwiss! My education jumped logarithmically. I also quit reading romance for a period of time, but in my case it was because my first marriage was a bust; I became cynical in my heartbreak. Romance? Bah. What I needed, however, was my prince, and I’m happy to say, he found me! (Although, I did ask if I could kiss him first.) My husband tries to keep up with the authors, series, and various couples in the books I’m reading. He has some trouble remembering 2 or 3 couples a week, and it always gives us a good laugh. Now, I continue to read romance because it gives me a safe place to go when, as a 4th grade teacher, I’m answering the same question or explaining directions for the 5th or 6th time. I take a calming breath, picture Sebastian or Marcus or Lucas, or whoever the hero of the week may be, hear the deep growl of his voice in my ear, “You can do it,” and I find the patience to explain one more time.

    • Oh – that must be you again. Your husband sounds like a real keeper, Patty! xoxo

      • Patty Vasquez

        Yes, sorry. Somehow when I added my avatar my comments ended up being posted twice. My husband is indeed a keeper. When we pass a bookstore, he will ask me if there are any new books I need to add to the collection. He’s the most fun when I’m on the hunt for an author’s back list. I think he enjoys the search as much as I do.

    • Juliana Gray

      Love your husband!!

      • Patty Vasquez

        He’s a good guy. Our conversations go something like this:
        Husband: “So how are Roland and Elizabeth doing in the search for everlasting love?”
        Me: “I presume they’re just fine, as I finished their story 2 days ago. Well on their way to their HEA.”
        Husband: “Argh. I can’t keep up. Whose story are you reading now?”
        Me: “Now Abby is trying to convince Wallingford she’s his forever love.”
        Husband: “What kind of name is Wallingford? How am I ever going to remember that?”
        Me: “Just remember he’s a duke, honey.”

  • Courtney Cogswell

    Reading your blog and then reading through the comments definitely makes me feel like I’m in good company for having started my romance addiction so young. I’ve branched out to other genres but I always come back to my romance novels. There is just something so compelling about the strong male characters and the woman who tames them that just reels me in every time. I’m new to your books, so I’ll definitely look forward to checking them out!

    • Juliana Gray

      Thanks, Courtney! Hope you enjoy! I think there’s definitely a romance gene in there somewhere 🙂

  • Guest

    I had to smile while reading this essay. I began reading romance when it was a little more PG-13: Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney, and Victoria Holt. And then along came Kathleen Woodiwiss! My education jumped logarithmically. I also quit reading romance for a period of time, but in my case it was because my first marriage was a bust; I became cynical in my heartbreak. Romance? Bah. What I needed, however, was my prince, and I’m happy to say, he found me! (Although, I did ask if I could kiss him first.) My husband tries to keep up with the authors, series, and various couples in the books I’m reading. He has some trouble remembering 2 or 3 couples a week, and it always gives us a good laugh. Now, I continue to read romance because it gives me a safe place to go when, as a 4th grade teacher, I’m answering the same question or explaining directions for the 5th or 6th time. I take a calming breath, picture Sebastian or Marcus or Lucas, or whoever the hero of the week may be, hear the deep growl of his voice in my ear, “You can do it,” and I find the patience to explain one more time.

    • Love this! xoxo

    • Juliana Gray

      I do the same thing out running, LOL!

  • Kim

    I love how you started reading romance! I started reading romance around high school and I’ve been reading it ever since.

    • Juliana Gray

      High school is an excellent time to start reading romance, IMO! Boys lagging behind girls and all… 😉

    • Could you please send me an email, Kim? bobbiwrites at att.net

      • Kim

        Sent an email!

  • MooMoo Cake

    Your books are definitely going on my to-be-read list! Thank you for participating in this event. I also started reading romance novels at a young age and I know what you mean about becoming more heroic through romance. Thanks for sharing and for creating more stories for those of us still depending on romance novels to encourage us as we still look for our own heroes.

    • Juliana Gray

      Thank so much – hope you enjoy! (And good luck with your own hero – he’s out there, never fear! 🙂 )

  • Krysten Michelsen

    I don’t think I read my first romance until the end of high school/early college.. I was definitely more sci fi until then, weird as that sounds 🙂

    • Juliana Gray

      I read a lot of sci fi and fantasy in high school, too! And that was before it went more mainstream. Yep, weird kid here!! 🙂

  • Karin Anderson

    I have never tried Meredith Duran, but I have one of her books on my TBR pile. I will definitely have to move that up a bit higher.

    • Juliana Gray

      Do, Karin! She’s just so good. Happy reading!!

  • Lisagk

    Great sharing of your secret reading, I used to read with a flashlight under my comforter.

    • Juliana Gray

      Yep, the flashlight is the most important accessory to a young reader of romance!!

      • Eileen Wetterstrom

        I read my history book under my blanket with a flashlight. About 40 years later my father said he knew that I did that.

  • Eirene Oh

    Yes, thank you for writing that romance novels can be a place of comfort. It’s difficult explaining why I love reading romance novels, so I’ve settled to saying that it makes me happy and people usually just accept that. I started reading romances a year ago. It was an accident really, I was looking for a new book and decided to buy one randomly online (thank you Kleypas), and I swear the Wallflowers gang has managed to pick me up and helped me go through one of the hardest times of my life. And it continues to do so now. So thank you to you and to everyone else who writes these wonderful books. 🙂

    On to more important questions though, was Prince Harry there with Prince Charles?

    • Juliana Gray

      LOVE THE WALLFLOWERS! Eh, sadly Harry was not there. Now THAT would have had me swooning!

  • Morgan

    It seems we all start by accident! And for every bad day, there is a sappy book waiting to take me in.

  • Niki Rittenhouse

    Fifty shades of Coffee. I love it. Mine would be Fifty shades of Diet Mountain Dew. I love historical romanaces.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    When my kids were younger, the only reading I did was their bedtime stories (usually multiple books!), but in the last few years, I have gotten hooked on romance novels. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Diane Giarrusso

    Is there anything more fun to remember than the secret of reading under the covers… I’m pretty sure my parents did know!

  • Kareni

    Thanks for your books and the chuckles above!

  • Eileen Wetterstrom

    What a wonderful essay. I’m glad you found your true love. Your books are terrific. Keep sharing!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    I’d love to read “How to Tame Your duke”.