Jennifer McQuiston – The Gift of Romance

It’s Read-A-Romance Month.

Welcome!

Visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about The Joy of Romance. Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

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Romancing the “Joy” Across Generations

I don’t remember the name or the details of the first romance IFinal Cover JQ Quote ever read, other than greatly enjoying the departure from the Nancy Drew books I had been reading. It was undoubtedly a book I spirited away from my mother’s overflowing pile of reading material, and I was undoubtedly far too young to be reading them.

5th Grade, I think.

For the next few years, I read under the covers at night. Historicals with a bare-chested Fabio on the cover, dressed like a pirate. Judy Blume’s iconic Wifey (oh, it was so deliciously different from her middle grade books that I had been reading!). Ranches set in Montana with hard-working cowboy heroes…  I enjoyed a diverse selection of reading material from my mother’s ever-changing basket of books, with one key, connecting thread throughout: a happily ever after waited for me at the end of each of them.

When she discovered what I was doing, my mother didn’t forbid me to keep reading them. No, instead of scolding me and directing me back to the decidedly uninteresting Nancy Drew, she just shook her head and surmised that if I was old enough to want to read them and manage the heavy text and adult material in The Thornbirds, who was sheWhat-Happens-in-Scotland-Paperback-P9780062231291 to interfere?

When I was asked to write a blog post on the “Joy of Romance”, I knew immediately I had to write about this early parenting decision by my mother. You see, my mother’s name is “Joy”, and her indelible gift to me was allowing me to develop my own love of romance. The “Joy of Romance” is almost certainly a learned trait, nurtured by family environments that encourage girls to read whatever their hearts desire.

Today, I write the same sort of romances I once had to sneak from my mom’s basket, and instead of turning a “blind” eye, my mother reads them all, cheering me on. And it seems that sharing a love of reading—and an appreciation for romance—really is a multi-generational thing.

My own pre-teen daughter is already older than I was when I snuck those books beneath the covers. She has more reading choices than I did, thanks to the lush and well-written crop of Young Adult books on the market today, and she is eagerly devouring the small mountain of books that I buy her (and read myself) every month. I love being able to discuss these YA books with my daughter, debate the finer points of the romance in them, choose sides in the inevitable love triangle. And even better, many of these books are being made into movies, so once the reading is done, we can launch ourselves into the story on the screen.

So kudos to all the romance readers out there whose appreciation sprang from a similar childhood experience, and kudos to the mothers Dedication(and grandmothers) who pretended to look the other way while the young girls they were raising discovered love between the pages. Thank you for permitting us that positive first look into what a woman ought to want (and expect) in the relationships we would eventually carve out for ourselves. I can promise you we are happier for it.

And thank you, Mom. For sharing the Joy.

Now it’s your turn to confess: I would love to hear if you had a childhood encounter with romance, and what that book was, if you can remember! Happy commenting!


Questions for the Author:

As a special treat and to support Jenni’s post, two terrific authors who couldn’t take part in RARM this year did the fun Q&A!

First: Julia Quinn

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

Earlier this year I took a vacation to Baja California to do some “hands-on” whale watching. It was amazing. I actually petted baby whales in the wild. Stop and think about that for a minute: WILD BABY WHALES. I got to pet some of the moms, too. It was always this crazy moment–we’d be looking at the baby and thinking, “Wow, that’s huge,” and then the mom would surface, and we’d all shriek.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

I was in a very rustic ecological refuge. Every day we went out on pangas (boats that are used for fishing during other parts of the year.) I never get seasick, and I love being out on the water, so it was just magical to be out there in the perfect blue of the ocean, watching for whales.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

I’m sure you’re waiting for me to say the whale songs, except these were gray whales, and gray whales don’t make that sort of noise. So I’ll just go with the aforementioned shriek of surprise when the mama whale surfaced.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

Well, since I’m piggybacking on Jenni’s page, I’m going to choose one of hers. When I read her debut novel, What Happens in Scotland, I was kind of nervous, because we had already become good friends, and there is nothing worse than when you realize you don’t much like your writer friend’s writing. But I needn’t have worried–I loved it! And it just kind of made me extra happy because it sounded like her, and it’s always fun to “hear” your friends in their writing.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

Pratt. Totally.

And Meredith Duran

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 
Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

I quite inadvertently answered both of these questions at once!

About three hours into a hike in Yosemite National Park, two hours after the realization that I forgot to wear deodorant (EEK – forgive me, fellow hikers), and an hour after turning my ankle—but still four hours from our destination, I heard a low distant hypnotic murmur that drew me off trail.  The sound led me through a stand of Jeffrey pines that smelled like butterscotch, into a clearing of scrubby lichen-covered boulders – and there, I lost my breath.

That strange distant sound was a waterfall plummeting from the soaring granite cliffs on the opposite side of the valley. Between that waterfall and where I stood was—nothing. Empty space. A free-fall of thousands and thousands of feet. The sound of a low wind whispered through the stunted trees that clung to the vertical walls plunging straight into the valley below.

Glancing to the left, I found Half Dome’s stony face in profile to me, fiercely outlined by a sky so electrically blue that I winced behind my sunglasses. And all around me, as the wind strengthened and cooled my sweat-soaked nape, I smelled butterscotch and wildflowers and felt the warmth of the sun.

My husband had followed me; as he joined my side, he caught my hand and squeezed. We stood there in silence for a very long time.

Joy is often wordless. It needs no words.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

When I’m visiting my parents, I receive the most delightful wake-up call. Our dog, Fred, comes to visit my bedroom at half-past seven, then grows frustrated that I’m still asleep. He spends the next half hour snuffling at the crack beneath the door while making these frustrated, piteous, imploring little whines. I am not a morning person (that is putting it lightly, in fact), but when at home, I wake up with a laugh every morning—and as soon as I laugh, Fred hears it and starts to dance with delight, his paws audibly scrabbling on the hardwood floor, because he knows I’m about to open the door for him. And so I laugh harder yet.

No day could begin more wonderfully.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

My sister’s debut novel (Insignia, by SJ Kincaid). I was so extraordinarily proud of her, so amazed and overwhelmed by her talent, that I floated on air for about a week after finishing it.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

How about Krrish, Hrithik Roshan’s superhero character in the 2006 film of that name? Because… c’mon, check out his skill with a rapier. No Chris on the planet has a shot against this: watch this you tube clip.

And Jennifer McQuiston!

Tell us about a moment in your life when you experienced sheer joy. 

I grew up with horses, but when my husband and I moved to Atlanta, it became quickly apparent a horse was not going to reasonably be a part of my future. The cost of boarding a horse in Atlanta is just crazy, and I was sadly resigned to being a horse-less family. Until I sold a book, that is, an event that changed my family’s life and brought us amazing joy. You see, the deal I made with husband was that if I sold a book, we could afford to get a horse. My kids were thrilled, but secretly so was I. Two weeks after selling my first book to Avon, Beaux Regard the pony came into our lives, a joyous experience that keeps on giving. We haven’t stopped smiling since.

Tell us about a place that brings you joy, or is attached to a memory of joy.

My family draws great joy from travelling all over the world, but our favorite place in the entire world is St. John on the US Virgin Islands. I can think of no more peaceful, joyous place than the white-sugar sand beach and brilliant blue water of Cinnamon Bay, and no greater joy than being here with my family.

Tell us about a sound that brings you joy.

When we drive up to the barn to see our pony Beaux Regard, he always whinnies to us in greeting. That is a sound that brings me great joy: it means he loves us as much as we love him.

What recent book have you read that brought you joy. (Or a book you read in your life that brought you so much joy you’ve never forgotten it.) Why?

In 1999 I had the privilege of deploying to Ghana in West Africa for 3 months to work on the noble goal of polio eradication for the CDC. It was the first time I had ever travelled out of the country, and I took 5 books in my suitcase, thinking they would last me. Silly me…I was done with those 5 books in the first week. Three long months loomed ahead of me and I was starting to panic because I was about to go out into one of the most remote parts of the country, tracking down its last polio cases. What was I going to do, locked in my room every night after dark?

And then, almost by accident, I discovered a lovely used bookstore in Accra featuring battered old American books. I bought twenty books and took them with me, and then replaced them the next time I returned to Accra on my way to another region. Those books truly served as a lifeline and I discovered the amazing author Ken Follett, reading his 1980’s Pakistan love story called Lie Down With Lions. It was the first time I could remember thinking about an author and how he approached the art of story-telling, rather than just blindly enjoying the story. I have since read every book Follett has ever written, and enjoyed them all, but Lie Down With Lions remains my all-time favorite book, probably because it came at such a critical time in my life.

And for fun, the joy of choice ~

Pick your Chris! Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt, Chris Rock, Chris Evans or Christopher Plummer (circ. 1964 aka Capt. Von Trapp?) – trying for a little diversity! ;o)

I am going with Chris Rock…. I LOVE a man with a sense of humor, and he always makes20150705_193502 me laugh.

Jennifer is generously giving away one copy of her latest book, Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, and this beautiful necklace featuring the word “JOY” in Morse code, to both US and international readers.

 

mhs_2088.e1.lrJennifer McQuiston is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Victorian-era historical romance, including What Happens in Scotland,  Summer is for Lovers, and Moonlight on My Mind, as well as the novella, Her Highland Fling. The latest book, Diary of an Accidental Wallflower, is available now.

A veterinarian and disease detective with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Jennifer has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, two daughters (who got a pony out of mom’s book deal!), and a house full of pets.

Follow her online:

 www.jenmcquiston.com   |    Facebook    |    Twitter 

Buy Jennifer’s books:

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  • Sheryl N

    Love Jennifer’s books, she is a must read for me!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you so much!

  • Jennifer C

    I love your background, Jennifer! A vet, working for the CDC, writing romance novels. Amazing! Also loved the story of how your family got the pony. 🙂 (Huge animal lover here!)

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Nice to meet a fellow Jennifer!! And not amazing… lacking sleep, lol.

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Nice interview.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thanks!

  • Debby

    I love romance books, they make me smile when I can’t smile on my own. I love the background in them, the rules, fashion, scenery, and people make me smile.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      We all love them for much the same reasons!

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I really enjoy your books. My Mom had a vast selection of romance books by her bed. She never said a word when I quietly borrowed a few. We share books to this day. If I read a book and live it then it is passed on to her and vice versa. We are never lacking for reading material.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Beautiful story, love that you still share with your mom!

  • Mary Helene

    Nothing better then a good romance book to curl up with in the evening with a glass of ice tea.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      You sound like you know how to have a good time, Mary – my kind of good time, at least!

  • mariannewestrich

    My first exposure was a Kathleen Woodweiss book that I found in my mother’s bedroom. 😎

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      LOL, didn’t we all!!??

  • You know how much I adore your books, Jennifer. They are quickly filling their own keeper shelf in my home library! Thanks for sharing the story of how your mom supported your romance reading. Both of my parents were readers but it was my dad who facilitated my introduction into romance. When I grew bored with my small-town library’s children’s books, I sneaked into the “adult” section and discovered the wonderful Gothic romances of Victoria Holt and Mary Stewart. The straight-laced librarian was not amused and called my dad, certain, I’m sure, that I would be punished for daring to read “adult” books. End result of the dad vs. librarian meeting: my library card was amended to allow me to check out any book of my choice. Go, Dad! 🙂

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Oh my gosh, I LOVE this story PJ! Go Dad indeed! That is a wonderful example of cross-generational encouragement.

  • Jeri Michelle Reuter

    My first brush with romance came during 8th grade – The Forestwife by Theresa Tomlinson. It was not a romance in the traditional sense, and that particular storyline was secondary to the main plot. The story, a twist on the classic Robin Hood, had extremely subtle sexual overtones, but I watched the love develop as the story did. I found myself longing for a happy ending, which I wouldn’t get. The sadness that lingered after that book haunted me for a while. As time went on I found myself gravitating towards the same kind of books – exciting tales in historical settings with romance brewing somewhere in the middle. I was 22 when I read my first traditional romance, sort of accidentally, and I’ve been hooked ever since. It was…a relief, really.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      It is a relief, isn’t it, to know you are aiming for the beauty of a happy ending! I love reading your backstory, Jeri!

  • Aleen D

    I loved this post. One of the things on my bucket list is whale watching.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      After Julia’s answer, I think I am adding it to mine too…

  • Meghan Lyndsey Ann Edwards

    I went whale watching in California and Mexico, and it is an incredible feeling to see such massive creatures and realize how gentle they are.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I know, Julia’s answer made me immediately get on a plane and head there myself!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I must go. Must must must.

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    first two books I remember reading were The Wanton by Rosemary Rogers and The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Delicious choices!

  • jcp smith

    I don’t remember the first romance I read

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Honestly, I don’t either… I just know it was goooood.

  • LSUReader

    I didn’t romance when I was younger, not counting GWTW, which I did read as a 6th grader. I came to romance gradually, from romantic suspense–a natural offshoot from the mysteries and thrillers I love. I read lots of it now and I love your books, Jennifer. Thanks for visiting.

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Thank you! I love your books!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you!

  • Karen Mikusak

    Loved your interview!

  • Linda Henderson

    My first sweet romances were Emilie Loring and Grace Livingston Hill but then I graduated to my first powerful romance, The Flame and The Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Needless to say, I was hooked.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I am seeing a delightful Kathleen Woodiwiss theme here. Apparently, it was what all the bookishly curious young ladies read, back in the day…

  • My childhood encounter with romance happened when I was 10. I don’t remember the title of the book, but I remember truly well that there was a BRAD! But I found other category romances somewhat lacking in comparison…Then I read Knight in shining armor at 14. Amazing! And my love for reading romances restarted!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      LOL! About the same age as I was, then!

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    I’ve only been reading romance for about 8 years. I was a mystery/thriller fan before my romance obsession.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I think genre fiction, in general, tends to be one of the things that brings us all joy. There is something lovely in a mystery that you know will get resolved in the end…

  • catslady

    I remember my sister gave me a book from a book fair when I think I was in 7th grade – the title was A kiss, is a kiss is a kiss or something like that lol. But later on Kathleen Woodiwiss got me hooked.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Here’s to sisters! They share the joy too!

  • Kareni

    I very much enjoyed hearing about your mother, your own Joy of reading and romance. I only remember one occasion on which my reading was censored. My mother found me reading one of her Angelique books (author Sergeanne Golon) when I was about ten or eleven. She told me that I could read it at age 16; I immediately began reading it the next time she left the house! From about ten to fourteen, I read The Valley of the Dolls, Airport, The Godfather, and a slew of Harold Robbins titles. I also read Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Mary Stewart, Mary Renault, James Michener, and the perhaps more age appropriate series featuring Cherry Ames, the Bobbsey Twins, the Hardy Boys, and Nancy Drew. I read the Thornbirds a few years later!

    • Nancy Stillings

      Me too! And don’t forget Peyton Place, back in the day ! LOL

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      It sounds like we are cut from the same cloth, Kareni!

    • Pamby50

      Kareni, I was writing my post and I caught the name Angelique. It is the name of our daughter. I picked that up from the show Dark Shadows.

      • Kareni

        Angelique is truly a beautiful name!

  • alisha woods

    graduating from college

  • Kim

    I can’t imagine where you find the time to write when you have another career with the CDC, plus a family. You must be excellent at prioritizing your free time.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      LOL, I sacrifice sleep, I usually set my alarm and write from 4am to 6am. Unfortunately, this means by 9pm at night I am pacing around my house yelling at my kids to Get. In. Bed. 🙂

  • Nancy Stillings

    What a treat, Jennifer, Julia and Meredith all on one post! Thanks for sharing ladies. Love all your books!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I admit… I am a little giddy. I love Julia and Meredith!

  • Debbie Fuller

    I didn’t enjoy reading when I was young and really didn’t discover reading romance until well into my 40’s. I have 4 daughters and I do encourage them to read romance because it gives you so much insight into relationships and ways to deal with certain situations with grace, wit, and different points of view.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Well said!

  • May

    For me… It’s Anne of Green Gables. I love how Anne and Gilbert fell in love when they were kids. 🙂 So cute!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      I have actually never read Anne of Green Gables… but I think I must!

  • Sharlene Wegner

    The closest I came to reading romance in childhood was Little Women, although I am still upset that Laurie ended up with the bratty sister instead of Jo! The Thorn Birds was the first book I read in my adult life that started me on romance. That did NOT have a happy ending & I remember crying so hard reading that book! Jennifer, you know I was one of your original fans for What Happens in Scotland – love that book!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Yes, Sharlene, it is lovely to see you stop by here! I felt the same way about Little Women: Laurie and Jo belonged together!

  • Patty Vasquez

    Holy cow, Meredith Duran’s “Krrish”, Hrithik Roshan, has a pair of the most beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen on a Chris! Wow. Jennifer, my first book hero was the result of an assignment in the fifth or sixth grade to read a book that was a Newbery Award winner. I chose Lloyd Alexander’s The High King. It happened that this book was the final book in Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles. The entire series (5 books) told of how the lowly pig-keeper, Taran, became the High King and his long-time companion in his adventures, Eilonwy, who was also quite a heroine herself, became his Queen. I had to go back and read the entire series so I could capture their friends to romantic couple story. It is a wonderful story. And so, following that assignment, a romance reader was born!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      *Love*!!!!

  • Diane Sallans

    I just finished reading ‘Summer is for Lovers’ – I do enjoy a heroine with a unique skill!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thanks Diane! Caroline was a fun heroine to write, for sure!

  • Pamby50

    Unfortunately my mother was not a reader. Therefore no sneaking books. The first romance book I read was Shanna by Kathleen Woodiwiss when I was a senior in high school. I have been a romance reader since. Now my daughter she rarely reads a book. She loves music.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Hopefully you guys can share music!

  • Julie Ford

    Love your books

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you!

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    Unfortunately I did not start serious reading until I was in my very early 20’s and I was married at 21 yrs old so I did not have to hide from anyone. My husband worked shift work and I worked straight days so when he worked and I had free time I started reading romance novels. I started with Barbara Cartland and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and have not stopped reading. I enjoy your books and thank you for the chance to win.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you for stopping by!

  • Kathryn Trask

    I loved reading romance early in life, can’t remember exactly. I live in New Zealand and we mainly only got British or NZ authors. I remember Lucilla Andrews who wrote medical romance out of her experience of war. Also loved Elsie Summers a NZ author who wrote a lot of farmer type romances set in NZ.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Medical Romance… I think that is an area I need to delve into!

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    When I was 11, our local librarian took pity on me and issued me a young adult library card. I was a weekly visitor to the library and had read everything that I could in my age group. She recommended the Victoria Holt, Barbara Michaels, Elizabeth Peters and Mary Stewart books. I checked out Mistress of Mellyn and The Shivering Sands by Victoria Holt. I fell in love with the romance genre after I read those 2 books. I have been a fan ever since.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Three cheers to librarians who make awesome recommendations!

  • Sharlene

    I loved Accidental Wallflower and can not wait for the new book to get here.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you!

  • Chelsea B.

    That necklace is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Love <3

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      When I saw it in our local art store, I knew I had to buy it for this giveaway!

  • Joan Varner

    My mom was a diehard mystery reader so that was all we had in the house as I was growing up. I didn’t actually find romance books until my mid to late 20’s. Now I can’t imagine my reading time without them.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      It’s neat how people discover them at every stage of life… but once they do, they stay with the genre. That speaks volumes!

  • Dawn Anderson

    As a kid I read everything I could get my hands on, this did not include romance novels. My first foray into any kind of romance was the Sweet Valley High books. I became completely engrossed in that series and I read most of them. As I got older, probably 9th grade, my aunt would give me the romance novels that she had already read and I became hooked. She still gives me her old books and I have even given her some of mine.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Love this!

  • Erin F

    I’m so jealous!! My parents were very religious so romance novels were strictly forbidden! I did the whole bait and switch with dust covers and even made my own to hide them. The library was definitely my favorite place and since my parents weren’t readers, I had free reign 🙂 thanks for sharing!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Ooooh… dust jackets. I remember folding the cover page over so no one could see what I was reading. I thought I was being very smooth.

  • Molly

    I love your books.

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Thank you!

  • Angie Frawley

    My mom is still a avid reader,and she taught us all at a young age to read..I started riding horses at around 4 years old and the one thing I always (and still) have to have in my saddle bags is a good book!!! She always read historical romance and at first I read sci fi -ish books like The Man in The High Castle,To Outrun Doomsday ,ect..then when I was around 12 my mom couldn’t take me to town to the library ( we live in a VERY rural area) so I picked up one of her books which happened to be Johanna Lindsey Fires of Winter..I was hooked on historical romance ever since that day…

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      Historical romance AND horses… you are my new BFF, Angie!

  • Sharon Forbes

    I enjoyed your post on here, and also enjoyed watching your video on your FB page, that was great!

    • Jennifer McQuiston

      If you are talking about the “Wallflower” video, that features the manager of our pony’s barn… her name is Harriet, and that accent and attitude in honest-to-goodness real!

  • marypreston

    The image of a bare-chested Fabio will stay with me all day now.

  • Katherine Cummins

    I too snuck my first romance novels out of the supply my aunt sent to my mother. Sadly, my mother did forbid me from reading them because she felt they weren’t appropriate. Naturally this meant I simply went to great, stealthy lengths to read them anyway. I don’t think it was the first one I read, but Brand of Diamonds by Ann Major is one of those early ones that sticks out because it was one Mom caught me with and took it away and I had to wait years to track it down and finish it.

  • K Davis

    I’ve read all your book and loved them. I’m looking forward to your next book. (hint, hint) 🙂

  • Michele Hayes

    I love your books. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Rhi

    My first romance novel, the one that I hid from reading was one of Jude Deveareux historicals, The Raider. The one that takes place during the Am. Revolution. I was on vacation and we were staying with family friends. The oldest daughter had a small collection of books, of which that was one, and I felt so incredibly naughty reading it under the covers at night. Of course, that just started an obsession and while I head the number of romances I got from the library, or the used book store, it eventually came out.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I can’t remember the first romance book I read but one was about a high school girl who moved to Florida for a year and discovered guys. Another was again about a high school girl who lived in a small college town and hung around trying to get the attention of the college guys. I have no idea who the author was. I was probably in the 4th grade when I read these. My daughters discovered my stash of romance books and have devoured many of them. I was glad they were reading, not so concerned about the type of book.

  • Glenda

    Oh I had forgotten about Wifey! My mother had a copy she put on the top bookshelf. She had a major hissy fit when she found me reading it. I was not expecting that side of Judy Blume. . . . I never did finish that book.

    Love all of your books, Jennifer!

  • Mary McCoy

    The librarian at our local library let me start checking out books from the “adult” side, meaning anything not YA, when I was 9. She took an active interest in what I was reading, after she got over the fact that I did enjoy and understand both The Illiad and The Screwtape Letters. She was the gatekeeper to my joy of unlimited reading.

  • Marcy Shuler

    The first romance I remember reading as a preteen was Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman. I can still remember wishing someone would call me their “little cabbage” in French. LOL

  • kirsten west

    I think my first romance novel was Gone with the Wind, followed by Scarlett when I was in sixth or seventh grade. The story about Beaux Regard reminds me of my horse, Gertie. She knows I come down after work and she watches out her window for me and knickers when I get there.

  • flchen1

    Wonderful post, Jennifer! I just finished Her Highland Fling and loved it! Thanks for bring us readers so many moments of joy!

  • Joanna Moreno

    I don’t remember the name of my first romance novel or even how old I was or what made me pick it up but I do remember the feelings, the yearning, the fact that I needed more. It’s great to know that I’m not the only one that went through that 😉
    Thanks for writing beautiful Romance Jennifer!

  • Sue G.

    I was 17 when I read Judy Blume’s Wifey! Boy, did I learn a lot! Great write up!

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    I love hearing about when writers first started reading romances!

  • Sheila M

    Your story about your mother supporting your reading by looking the other way reminded so much of my own mother and made me tear up.

  • Anita H.

    Thanks for sharing how you got the start of your love affair with romance, it’s always so interesting to hear how authors got started!

  • Ada H

    Love your post! My first romance was Saving Grace by Julie Garwood. I remember the feelings I had and the HEA at the end left me wanting more of the same. That’s how I got started with reading romances.

  • Deana Dick

    My mom gave me the gift of loving to read. We would go every week to the library and I would look at all the books and wish I could check them all out. I always looked forward to out visits at the library because it was peaceful and filled with adventures just waiting to be read .