Today Pink Heart Society editor and Harlequin SuperRomance author Jeannie Watt talks about her journey to discovering romance.
Unlike many category romance readers, I did not discover romance by finding my grandmother/mother/aunt’s stash of Harlequin or Silhouette Romances in the attic or under the bed. I never even saw a stash of category romances until I created one of my own. My family read voraciously, but the genres they read were of the mystery, spy or western variety. No romances.
I know what you’re thinking—what a sad way to grow up. Indeed. All that changed when I was eighteen. I’d noticed these displays of books in the grocery store during my teen years. They changed every month and there seemed to be a lot of them—although back then there were only Harlequin Romances and Harlequin Presents. Finally--and by finally, I mean a couple years after I first noticed the racks--I bought one out of curiosity. I can’t remember the title or the author, but I remember the plot. The heroine was in Paris. She was in a bad way financially but was discovered in a hair salon by a fashion designer who thought she was the perfect model for his new line. Her life changed. There was another guy involved who was also rich and handsome. I was such a romance rookie, I couldn't figure out which guy was the hero. And I was actually surprised at the ending. The heroine and hero overcame some pretty decent roadblocks and got together!
I’d been reading some pretty cynical books at that point in my life and found that the happy ending was just what I needed to put a little sunshine in my day. I bought another Harlequin. And another. Soon I had a heaping pile. I read two or three a week. I was soooo hooked.
Still am. I made a mild stab at submitting to Harlequin back in the 1980s. I received some good feedback and the editor even mailed me a Harlequin Romance to study. But life got in the way and I didn’t resubmit until about five years later. At that point I got a rejection. But I kept reading and writing and finally when the kids were in high school, I began to seriously pursue publication. In 2006 I sold my first book. Now my books are on the shelve! It’s been a long journey since that first impulse buy in the grocery store at the ripe old age of eighteen, and you know what? It was one of the best purchases I ever made.