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Who Was Your First?

No, not that first. I’m talking about your first romance hero. Since this is my virgin blog post, it seemed appropriate to talk about firsts.

I have a confession to make. Unlike many readers, I have not been reading romance novels since I was a pre-teen. I didn’t sneak them from my mom’s stash. Although she came to romance before I did, it wasn’t until after I was an adult.

I didn’t discover romance until after I had my second child. Being an English teacher, I usually read what I would have to teach. Literature. (When you say that, be sure to sound snooty.) Not that there’s anything wrong with reading the dead white guys, but it did make me a bit of a snob. Before having kids, I read one “fluff” book a year; one book that was for pure pleasure, and this is how I discovered romance.

Being at home with a toddler and a newborn, I needed mental breaks. I began reading while the baby ate. I didn’t even know that the book I’d chosen was a romance. It wasn’t a Harlequin category title. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was a reprint of one of her Silhouette books. In my mind, romance was the stereotypical bodice-rippers that I thought were beneath me.

While at Costco, I found a book with a blurb that I thought sounded good.

Who was this Nora Roberts person anyway? (Oh, how little I knew.)

The Return of Rafe MacKade

Ten years after disappearing from Antietam, Maryland, the bad boy has returned. Cleaned up and successful now—and still dangerously good-looking—Rafe MacKade sets the town on fire, and tongues wagging.

Lovely newcomer Regan Jones is intrigued—what kind of man could cause this sort of talk? She’s just about to find out.… (from Amazon)

Lucky for me, I discovered my perfect romance hero in that first book. Rafe MacKade. He was a former bad boy returned to town to fix up a house and his reputation. A bad boy with a tool belt. What more could I ask for?

The Return of Rafe MacKade turned me into an avid romance reader. I gobbled up a huge portion of Nora’s backlist, but I branched out in so many ways. I never thought I could find so much contentment by reading about someone else’s HEA. After years of reading, I turned my sights on writing, something I had given up in the years after college while I was a teacher.

I still love to read romance even as I work on my own writing. There’s nothing like a satisfying happily ever after to put you in a good mood.

Your turn. Who was your first romance hero? (or if you really want, you can tell us about your other first :P)

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About Shannyn Schroeder

Mom of 3, editor, and contemporary romance writer

23 responses »

  1. Ah yes, the first romance story; you always remember your first. The Book was Pride and Prejudice. Maybe you’ve heard of it. tee hee Oh dear, is my age showing? sigh

    Great first post, loved it. Congrats.

    Reply
  2. My first was a Harlequin Presents novel, No Gentle Possession by Anne Mather. It was free with a bottle of dishwashing liquid. I was 12 years old. I read a lot of Presents novels, then branched into the Sweet Dreams & Silhouette teenage romance novels. I bought every single one that came out! I tried to write a YA romance in high school. I wrote 70 pages. No idea what happened to that first manuscript!

    Thanks to a friend I discovered Johanna Lindsey in high school. That triggered a love for all books Lindsey and traditional Regency romances. Since then I’ve branched out and read books in almost all romance subgenres. I don’t read category romances very often anymore. I prefer single titles. And now I’m working on my first single title manuscript–a paranormal Regency romance. :0)

    My first reading loves were mysteries (Encyclopedia Brown & Nancy Drew), then fantasy and sci-fi (Andre Norton and David Eddings were my faves). I kept reading them alongside the romances. My dad always called my romances my “smut” books. But he let me read them. :0)

    I’ve always loved romance novels. They were the only books that guaranteed happy endings!

    India

    Reply
  3. Marjorie Morningstar, I think? Five Smooth Stones? Or maybe Valley of the Dolls? Oh, dear. Let me see….something by Katherine Woodweiss? See, this was back in my “if it’s not 1,000 pages, I don’t want to read it because it’ll be over too soon” period. Before I discovered series fiction, that is.

    Reply
  4. My first *cough* romance hero would have to Todd Wilkins from Sweet Valley High. Not sure if that really counts, but I read most of the series.

    Reply
  5. Oh, wait — how could I forget??? “Gone With The Wind!” (See what I mean about the 1,000+ pages???)

    Reply
  6. Author Kristen Lamb

    Some romance about a woman kidnapped by a sheik. All I remember is it involved a prehistoric Brazilian wax.

    Reply
  7. Pick any of the heros from the 1980’s historical romances by Kathleen E Woodwiss, Rosemary Rogers, and Katherine Sutcliffe. Loved them all! 🙂

    Reply
  8. Hmm, I’d have to think. I had a huge crush on Ned, Nancy Drew’s boyfriend, when I was young, and I read lots of horror, sci-fi and fantasy novels with romance subplots in them in elementary school and junior high. I think I read my first “real” bodice-ripper around 10th grade, and that had some sort of run-of-the-mill title like “Scandalous” (the school librarian gave me quite the knowing glance when she checked it out for me). I was actually banned from romance books in high school, but I got a job working at the public library when I was in 12th grade, so I could check out books without my mom inspecting them first. I really fell in love with the strong, dark and handsome Scottish highlander types, though; Karen Marie Moning’s books are my favorite.

    Great first post, Shannyn!

    Reply
  9. Hi Shannyn!

    So glad to visit your first post! Big Congrats!

    First romance novel? Hum. I seem to recall P&P like Prudence and GWTW. But it seems the one with the Brazilian wax sounds vaguely familiar. lol

    See you soon!

    Reply
  10. Hmmm it was either Heathcliff from Withering Heights, Mr Rochester from Jane Eyre or Rhett Butler in GWTW. Not sure which I read first. I reread all of those as a preteen and teen. 🙂 Great post.

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Defending Romance « Shannyn Schroeder's Blog

  12. Pingback: Shannyn Schroeder | Author

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