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"Chloe Harris" really is the pseudonym for two writers, Noelle and Barbra, who've joined forces to write intriguing and sexy stories. A quintessential eccentric southerner, Noelle seems to find a story in almost everything. Ever ambitious to change her stars, she has a degree in Communications. Barbra lives together with her cat ('Princess Mimi'), who isn't very happy that she is spending so much time on writing. But this folly of the living can opener with opposable thumbs is mostly tolerated.

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Better Late Than Never

Yes the title applies to this blog being a day late but it also applies to me reading romance.

Back on Tuesday, October 13 over at Running With Quills Susan Andersen asked have you always been a romance reader.

My answer was no. I have not always read romance. I was a very pretentious preteen, teen and young adult and would not have been caught dead reading romance. In 7th grade I wrote poetry about the conflict in Northern Ireland and read A Midsummer Night’s dream. In high school I lusted after Russian male ballet dancers and read Chaucer and Chekov oh and The Little Prince in the original French. Ridiculous wasn’t it? Who in the world did I think I was? LOL Then in college the closest I got to mainstream fiction was Mark Twain.

But at some point in my late twenties a co-worker suggested a book called Outlander by Diana Gabaldon because she knew I attended the local Scottish games. I loved it! But when I went looking for more books like it I couldn’t really find anything similar until I tried an Arnette Lamb title from the romance section. And that was it, I was hooked for good. Now many years later, I’m not only a huge romance reader but also a writer.

So it just goes to show that there is hope for all those pretentious young women out there, they can be saved.

But what surprised me about the blog was the many other authors that also said they were late comers to romance. Lori Foster, Kate Douglas, Jayne Ann Krentz, A. E. Maxwell and Stella Cameron all mentioned in their comments that they were well into adulthood when they discovered the wonder of romance novels.

It extremely interesting to me but I’m not sure what that says about romance writers. Other than maybe it’s helpful in your craft to experience a wide range of literature before you focus on romance.

What about you? Are you a lifer or a late bloomer and why do you think so many successful authors are later bloomers?


Kate Douglas said...

Neat post, and how funny that I didn't notice that either about how many of us came to romance later in our reading, but I got to thinking about it, and the only ones available when I was young were the Harlequin bodice rippers of yore, and I STILL hate those stories. I just couldn't get into the sweet young virgins on the lonely sheep ranchers outback station falling for a macho jerk twice her age. It wasn't until I started reading Harlequin American romances that I got really hooked, and from there I discovered other authors who wrote about women I could relate to. That's why I liked science fiction, I imagine. Women often had a stronger role in those stories, or none at all. The women in my stories are never victims, or if they start out that way, they certainly end up stronger and in charge of their lives. I'm a control freak, so that's what my heroines are like--we understand each other!

Susan Greene said...

I didn't start reading romance until I was nearly forty. I'd always been a big reader - I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy as a teenager (more than once) and was a huge fan of mystery writers like John D. MacDonald. (Love me some Travis McGee!) I'd read a Harlequin when I was younger, and just wasn't interested in picking up another one.

The first romance novel I read was (prepare yourself) a Nora Roberts book. Yeah - I know. Key of Knowledge, from her Key Trilogy. I picked it up at the supermarket at the beach because I'd forgotten to bring a book. Boy, romance had changed since the last time I'd read one. Nora might not be everyone's favorite, but she changed my mind about a genre I'd written off years ago.

I wrote my first story as a fluke, for friends. Then someone suggested I try for publication. I did. It was published. And maybe someday, I'll actually finish another book.

Noelle said...

Hey Kate! Thanks for stopping by!
You make a great point.

I also read science fiction/fantasy before romance and loved women centered writers like the late Marion Zimmer Bradley.

Maybe for some of us romance needed to catch up with our particular tastes for stronger heroines.

Noelle said...


I'm so glad you did find your way to romance because we wouldn't know each other if you hadn't and I so enjoy knowing you.

I also feel you about finishing another book. I'm trying to work on something now that I love but I just can't get life to stop long enough for me to get it done.

Carole St-Laurent said...

My first taste of romance was a French series called Angélique. At 15, I wanted to learn English and I bought a Harlequin, which size seemed adequate since I read with a dictionary by my side. From there, I switched to Stephen King and so many others of all genres.

Though I read all genres, romance is the one I relish to sit down, relax and let myself get ensnared by the story. It's like having my favorite chocolate!

Noelle said...

Hey Carole!

I love the idea of romance being the comfort food or Chocolate of literature.