September 3, 2008 at 3:31 pm | Category: blog
“All You Need Is Love”
Once upon a time there was an American girl growing up in a suburb of Chicago. She loved everything English – from Agatha Christie to the Beatles (especially Paul McCartney). She didn’t really fall into a particular clique but her boyfriend wore a black leather jacket, slicked back his hair, smoked Marlboroughs and played guitar.
But then an English boy moved to her town. She was fascinated by his accent and quickly got to know him. They worked on the school newspaper together and became the best of friends. He was one of those long-haired hippie-types – he had a wicked, John Lennon-ish sense of humor and he played bass guitar in a really hot local band. But she had a boyfriend and he was going out with one of her best friends.
They talked on the phone all the time. When he stayed home from school with a cold, the day dragged on forever for her. He started driving past her house at night. She started having dreams about him. One night she went to watch his band practice and to listen to Paul McCartney’s new solo album. And, without going into details, everything changed. She said a sad goodbye to her first boyfriend and he stopped seeing her friend. She went to England with him that fall and the following October they got married. “All You Need Is Love” was the music they played for the recessional. The year was 1971 and they are older, grayer and chubbier but still in love and, miraculously, still married.
So, that’s my big love story. I wondered if I’d be able to write about romance and dating since I never really did “date” as such. But I have a young son and daughter who have a lot of friends and I’ve been caught up in so many of their sagas that a lot of their feelings and experiences have rubbed off. Or been absorbed into my imagination, I guess. In any case, I think we are all born looking for love and, with a little luck, many of us find it. Some find it in husbands and lovers, others find it in family, children, pets or in their work. I have found it in all of those and I feel incredibly blessed because of it. But I have my off days like everyone does, and nothing picks me up faster than reading a great romance.
My kids are complaining that I’m talking more about books than about them, so please forgive me for doing the proud mama thing. Chronologically (because God forbid I should show a preference here – my kids have had a running joke about being ‘Mom’s favorite’ their entire lives), my amazing daughter lives in Orlando, Florida. She has a great job at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. She attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio and graduated from the University of Central Florida last December with a degree in English/Creative Writing. She spent a month in Morocco last year with her (then) boyfriend. She collects dolls – not Barbie’s but Japanese Blythe dolls, Pullips, Lattes and the like. She has a unique and wonderful sense of style.
My son is about to graduate from the University of Chicago (in June 2009) with degrees in Economics (with Honors), Mathematics and Statistics. He has run in the Chicago Marathon, the Barcelona Marathon and the Cincinnati Marathon; he’s aiming for the Iron Man Triathalon next. He is a nomad: in the past two years he has been to China, Tibet, Spain, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France, England, the Czech Republic and other places I’m forgetting. His girlfriend is from Portland, OR, and after she graduates in 2010 they are talking about going to grad school on the West Coast.
My husband still plays guitar – not bass so much anymore, but electric and acoustic, as well as the mandolin and ukulele. He never goes anywhere without a guitar pick in his wallet. We lived in England (Greater London) for seven years before we had kids but I haven’t been back in awhile. He goes back to visit his dad and other friends and relatives every year – once our son graduates, it’s my turn again! He works in the computer business and travels a lot for his job; since our dog died two years ago I have been accompanying him on a lot of those trips. Of our many pets, only our 12-year-old cat is left, but his best friend is a raccoon who lives under our deck and visits every night.
Last year we went to Banff, Canada and the Canadian Rockies and had a wonderful time. It’s an amazing place. This year we’ve been back and forth to Chicago more times than I can count, and I’m going to RWA National in July (hurray!). If you’re going to Lori Foster’s Readers and Writers Event, I’ll see you there!
So, that’s more than you’ll ever need to know about me. I’d love to hear about you now!
September 3, 2008 at 3:28 pm | Category: blog
“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.”
~ Desiderius Erasmus
On the ‘About Me’ page I wrote about what led me to start writing contemporary romance after years of writing in other non-fiction genres. I decided to go into the more autobiographical aspects of my life on this blog. I hope you’ll post comments and tell me something about yourself, too.
First of all, I love books. I have something like 21 bookcases in my house and the last time we moved we had almost 70 cartons of books. I would guess that’s probably doubled now. I trade and give books away all the time but – what can I say? – I consider books to be a necessity of life.
Luckily, my husband feels the same way and our book budget is right up there with food and shelter. There’s a saying that food feeds the body but flowers feed the soul; I agree with that but I’d also say that books feed the soul, and the spirit, too. Reading is not only an escape, it’s an adventure that enables to see the world through the eyes of others.
I got hooked on mysteries after reading The Secret of the Old Postbox at age 9. Nancy Drew came next, followed by Agatha Christie. Along the way I discovered Mary Stewart (favorite: The Ivy Tree) and Evelyn Anthony (favorite: The Tamarind Seed), whose books combined mystery with romance. I’ve been addicted to both the mystery genre and the romance genre ever since. I read all kinds of books, but my favorites tend to fall into those categories.
I started reading series romances (Harlequin, Mills and Boon, Silhouette, etc.) in about 1975 but drifted away when my kids were in high school – I was all about mysteries and thrillers for several years. In 2006 I rediscovered Nora Roberts (I had read her first series books and loved them) but still didn’t think I’d like historicals, paranormals, or – God forbid! – women’s erotica. Now I read anything and everything. Recommendations from readers on the Barnes and Noble book club boards introduced me to more new authors than I can count. My favorite authors are probably Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Suzanne Brockmann but when it comes to authors whose books I always preorder and save the list becomes to long to print. Suffice to say it’s always a struggle to decide which to do: write about romance, or read about it.