Alice’s Restaurant

January 8, 2007

What Was Your First Romance Novel?

Filed under: Writing Life — aliceaudrey @ 10:23 pm

This seems to keep coming up, so I guess I’ll try to come up with an answer.

I have no idea what the title or author of my first Romance novel was.  I was in high school and hanging out with a girl who was addicted to Harlequins.  Out of curiosity I asked her which was her favorite and why.  She couldn’t tell me.  Apparently she never looked at the title, only the number.

She leant me one of her favorite numbers.  I found it frustrating because it was full of dot-dot-dots.  Dot-dot-dots are where they used to have all this sexual tension leading up to the moment of fulfillment, then right when it got interesting there would be an ellipses, a couple of line breaks, and the scene picking up with the after glow.  Argh!  Leave me all hot and bothered why don’t you!

So then she leant me a few that sort of filled in the dots.  Only it was in some strange code.  I mean, when you’re still a virgin can you be sure what “he entered her” means?  It sounded rather grizzly to me, especially when she was a virgin and blood was involved.  Worse yet, I would try to read them on the school bus, and really, really did not want to have to explain why I was blushing.

I tried a couple of bodice rippers, but they were badly written.  Pretty quick I was back to a straight diet of Science Fiction and Fantasy, which was what I was writing anyway.

15 years later I was visiting my mother over Christmas and ran out of reading material.  Her bookshelves had a few SF/F I hadn’t read yet, but a lot more Romance.  I asked her for a recommendation.  She handed me an Amanda Quick.

I love Amanda Quick’s sense of humor!  I devoured the book and asked for more.  Mother refused, though there were several more Amanda Quicks on her book shelf.  She said I had to give it a long break between or I would ruin it for myself and not be able to enjoy Amanda Quick’s books anymore.  So she made me read something else.  It might have been a Nora Roberts, but I forget now what it was.

The thing about the Amanda Quick book was that it had a one-word title, like about a dozen of her other books.  After having read a dozen, I don’t remember which it was.  What’s more, I’m not sure it matters.  All her books use basically the same two characters in more or less the same situation and most of them even include a fire at the end.  Even her other pen names tend to use the same two characters.  I read too many in the course of a single year, and now I don’t enjoy them anymore.  Whaahhhhh!

That Amanda Quick book got me started reading Romances again.  I only read a few now and then when I happened to run across something interesting.  Then I moved to a podunk town on Montana which thankfully does have a good bookstore as well as a library, such as it is.  The first thing I bought in town was a Romance novel.  It was something about cowboys in Montana, but again, I don’t remember the title or author.  I quit watching TV and started reading like crazy;  200-300 books a year.  I even decided to start writing the stuff.

So, we could say I have three “first” Romance novels – the first I ever experienced, the first to hook me into the genre, and the first to set me off.  And I couldn’t tell you the title of any. I could only name the author of one.  I guess my answer to the question is “I don’t know.”



  1. LOL on “rather grizzly.”

    I have to admit, I don’t remember my first romance novel, either, but like you, I’m sure it was one of the heavily ellipsed (is that a word?) Harlequins.

    Comment by guavaln — January 9, 2007 @ 10:46 am

  2. Mine was A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. I ALWAYS read mystery (from Nancy Drew on) but my room mate in college was addicted to Harlequin Romance Novels. No way I was going to read one of “those”. . . but, over Spring Break one year at the bookstore, I saw A Rose In Winter and loved the cover but wouldn’t fork out the bucks for the book (I was on a budget!). My mom bought it for me and sent it in my end of semester goodie box (snacks, etc. to get me through finals). I devoured more than just the cookies! Hooked me on romanance, although I still like a little mystery on the side with mine and I finally deigned to read a few Harlequins and *liked* them! GASP!

    Comment by Pam — January 9, 2007 @ 5:18 pm

  3. I was also primarily a mystery reader (Nancy Drew was an alarmingly important influence in my life!). In college, I was waiting on a friend to finish a paper before we left on a road trip, and my dorm had closed, so she lent me Julie Garwood’s Saving Grace to read. Although it was years before I read another romance, reading that novel helped me get past misgivings I had about the genre.

    Now, my second romance novel … that’s a much more interesting story. 🙂

    Comment by Kelly — January 9, 2007 @ 5:42 pm

  4. I Jacqueline! I don’t care if ellipsed is a word or not. We know what we mean.

    Pam, you got end of the semester goodie boxes? You lucky bug.

    Kelly, isn’t it sad that we needed to get over any misgivings in the first place? Romance really does get a bum rap.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — January 9, 2007 @ 11:39 pm

  5. Mine was No Gentle Possession by Anne Mather. I will always remember it. I even remember that the first time I read it, I read it from the part where she bites him. My first historical was Johanna Lindsey but I can’t remember which one.

    Comment by Bev — January 10, 2007 @ 5:02 pm

  6. Sounds like an interesting book, Bev.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — January 10, 2007 @ 10:54 pm

  7. Babs Cartland was the QUEEN of the ellipsis. Her heroines simply could not get out a sentence without pausing. Maybe their corsets were laced too tightly?

    Comment by Lynne — January 11, 2007 @ 6:40 pm

  8. Barbara drove me nuts with all her ellipsis. And most of her heroines were total wimps.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — January 11, 2007 @ 11:15 pm

  9. […] Already blogged this.  Not a straight answer. Alphabetize by author Alphabetize by title or random? […]

    Pingback by Tag: Womens Fiction Book Meme « Alice’s Restaurant — January 28, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

  10. Julie Garwood… Who was and is great.

    Comment by Janelle Allen — November 24, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

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