Today in the Author Life Month Instagram challenge, the topic was "A favorite book outside of your genre." I ended up picking the books that made me want to become a writer: A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende.
I read both around 4th or 5th grade, and though I was already an avid reader by then (there was much Babysitter's Club consumed), those were the first books I remember sweeping me away completely. I felt transported to a new world and experienced that unique magic only books give you access to. And I knew then--I need to do this.
But this week I also saw this Harlequin ad that made me smile.
Go ahead and watch, but it's the journey of a girl discovering her mom's romance novels and then getting hooked for life and passing that addiction along. Really sweet. And very true for many of us. Most romance readers I talk to have had similar experiences of stealing their mother's or another relative's books and "sneaking" them. Is there really anything better than a kid sneaking books? Sure, maybe some content is a little older than our parents wanted us to read. But being unable to resist reading is a pretty awesome thing.
For me, my mom wasn't a romance reader per se. She has always read more suspense and mystery, though many of those were romantic suspense. But I do distinctly remember what books I "stole" from her. The Flowers in the Attic series by V.C. Andrews. I still have the actual copy I stole because I haven't ever given it back, lol.
They are not romance. They are family saga and tragic and gothic. BUT there was romance in there and love scenes. That was very eye-opening to me at an innocent fourteen years old. "They can write this in books?!" Of course, I was hooked, lol. I think I read every series V.C. Andrews had at the time after that. And my mom, to her credit, let me read what I want. I mean, I was already reading Stephen King at that age so I'd jumped to adult books anyway.
But that opened the door to reading romance for me. I bought a few teen romances. Here's one I found in my mom's attic from 1993. :)
In adult books, I stuck to more romantic suspense and the occasional vampire book. I honestly didn't know there was this whole enormous world of romance. But in adulthood, I discovered the richness of the romance genre and how many subgenres were out there. The obsession was born. So I've been playing catch up ever since. :)
So now I want to know yours. What book made you a romance reader? Or what book made you fall in love with reading?