~ By Amylynn Bright
I came to romance late. Really late. I’ll admit to you now that I was a literary snob, the kind of person I can barely tolerate these days. I am sorely ashamed, but I will say in my defense that I don’t think I ever shamed anyone for reading romance like so many of the uninformed do. I simply didn’t read it myself. That’s not to say I didn’t read genre fiction. I loved mystery and horror. I think it was the romance covers that put me off—those same covers I now think are glorious with Fabio and some darn near naked virgin on a windswept beach. I’ve met Fabio and he was just lovely in person. And very tall.
Anyway, I’ve told this story many times of how my best friend handed me a stack of Julia Quinn books and said, “Read these.” I turned up my nose and planned to give them to my mother-in-law, but a long stop light changed my life.
I’m one of those people who always has a book with me. After all, you never know when you’ll be in a line somewhere with three minutes to spare. I’m the kind of person who reads while I’m brushing my teeth, sitting at a stop light, or making dinner. I picked up The Duke and I by Ms. Quinn during that very long stop light and it was all over. I devoured her back catalog and everything that she’s put out since. Then I tackled Stephanie Laurens and all the Cynsters. I became a regency fanatic.
That same Halloween I started writing my first Regency romantic comedy. The final product took years and had so many rewrites that it’s light years away from the original concept. I’ve published four historical stories since.
And then I found contemporary. Once again, my world changed. Nothing Susan Elizabeth Phillips has ever written is safe. Same for Rachel Gibson and Kristan Higgins.
I no longer have to look up words to see if they were even around in 1810. Or if there were sugar cubes yet. Or barbed wire. Or revolving doors.
Now I get to research the best cupcake recipe, when People magazine first started publishing, and how conservationists are working to save the clouded leopard.
Ta da! My first published contemporary romantic comedy, Cooking Up Love, is out this week.
I’ve always been a writer. I wrote my first novel in third grade—won the school competition. I still have it, illustrations and all. Now that I look back, I was writing angsty characters even then. The hero of that early story was the white crayon who was sad because he never gets used like the red and blue ones. There was a character arc and everything in that story. The emotional payoff comes when he gets to be a happy, fluffy cloud. Later I wrote a soap opera with a friend in high school that had romance and intrigue, all the things I strive to include in my stories these days.
I found a home in romance and I love it here.
Check out Amylynn’s giveaway!