Do you remember your first? No not first love. Not even first lust at sight. I'm talking about your first romance book. Do you remember what it was like to first pick up a romance book? What about writing that first romantic scene?
My first romance was a Cry Wolf by Tami Hoag. The moment I'd read it, I knew what I wanted to write...and what I'd love. Before that moment, I'd been reading thrillers... Dean Koontz, Stephen King, etc. I did enjoy them but what I wanted was something more. In some of Dean Koontz's books there were little snippets, brief mentions of intimacy between chars. I wanted more but because my parents were strict about reading content and keeping me away from any thing regarding 'romantic interludes', I couldn't say that I wanted to read something more along those lines. So I waited... and then one day at Chapters, my mom came up to me and asked if I thought that Cry Wolf was interesting.
Not marked per say as a romance, it had to do with a serial killer. Curious, I got it and that was it. There was no turning back. The following years I kept up the facade that I was just reading suspense. I chose books with covers that didn't resemble anything romantic. Nothing with bare chested men or women half throwing themselves at him. Nothing that would give away what I was reading. And if they asked what it was about... it was about an archaeologist caught in a murder scheme or... whatever.
I had my lines ready.
I started writing romance soon after. I remember researching, and coming across a piece of advice that rubbed me wrong. I don't know who it was that said it, but it was essentially that if you haven't had sex yet, you cannot write it. Or shouldn't. Bad advice to a stubborn teen.
The first few sex scenes were... awkward. Paranoia was definitely up there on the list of what I was feeling. Paranoid that my parents would come across what I'd written, unsure of how others would think. But I loved the romance, the build up and every high and low in between until the end when it all turns out to be worth the struggle.
I suppose I kept what I was writing a secret for a good five years at least. It wasn't until after that I gave up and just didn't care. Ask me today and I won't hesitate in my answer. I write romance. Sex. Intimacy. It may not be the plot device that exactly drives the story, but it will always be there somewhere in the tangle of other struggles.
What about you? What were your firsts like?