I write romance novels. I didn’t know I did until I wrote my first book.
I had never read what I would call a modern romance. I had read, and loved, Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart and other and other Gothic novels. I loved books by Frank Slaughter and Frank Yerby, the masculine take on romance. I gobbled up the Williiamsburg series by Elsweth Thane which chronicled the romances of one family in a series that started with the American Revolution and went through World War II. Should I also mention that Gone With The Wind was my favorite book?.
But I had never read a modern romance novel until after I finished writing a book.and started wondering if I could sell it.
I didn’t set out to write a book that would sell. I was frustrated in my publicrelations job and one day read an article in a western history magazine. Ideas bombarded me until I sat down at a typewriter (Yes, a typewriter) and started writing. I never intended to write a salable novel. I was writing for my own pleasure. But when I finished, I read an article in the local paper about a course at Emory University: “How To Get Published.” I signed up for it, and one of the speakers was a romance writer who talked about the genre and I thought, “Wow, that’s what I just wrote.” She went on to talk about Romance Writers of America and a local chapter in Atlanta where I lived.
I joined, submitted the manuscript in a contest, won first place at a conference that was attended by editors. One asked to see it and bought it the next week. I was off and running.
There wasn’t love at first sight in that book, but I have written books where there is, including the book I’ve just completed. I am a believer of such magic although I haven’t experienced it myself.
My mother and dad did. My dad met Mom during depression years. She was a student at the University of Minnesota. Dad was a student at a trade school because he couldn’t afford a four year college. He paid tuition by working in the cafeteria. His brother took him to a church social. When they entered, Dad’s gaze was riveted by my mom who stood across the room. He turned to his brother and said, “I’m going to marry that girl.”
His brother laughed. “No, she won’t look at you. She’s an university girl.”
But he did ask her out, and she did say yes, and they did get married despite her father’s vehement opposition. He didn’t send her to college to marry someone with few prospects.
Her father did not go to the wedding. She always said she thought Bill, my father, was so brave to come into their house to pick her up and take her to a church for the wedding while her father glared at their every step and refused to attend. It was the one time her mother refused to obey him and went by herself to the very small wedding.
The irony was that dad worked himself up the ladder with that trade college diploma to be on of the leading engineers in the space program. He was one of Werner Von Braun’s deputies. Mom saw the drive and intelligence and, I have to add, charm.
Second instance: my cousin was on leave in San Francisco (he was a carrier pilot during the Korean War) when he saw a woman walking while he was riding in a bus. He got off the bus, met her and they were married three days later because his leave was over the next day and he was heading back to war.Third instance is my fellow blogger, Carolyn McSparren. She saw her future husband across a military bar in Germany, and that was it. But I’ll let her tell her own story.
Do you have any stories of love at first sight..