A Lifelong Affair with Love

Hello Scribblers!  Long time no write.  Vivienne Ylang here.  I’ve got something exciting coming up and I wanted to tell you a bit about it.  On July 1st, I’m kicking off a new writing project.  I’m putting the finishing touches on an old project now and I’m Thrilled!!! to be starting something new.  My new characters are chomping at the bit (well, they would be if they were horses.  They aren’t.) and I’m looking forward to all kinds of fun stuff.  This new project brings me back to my reading roots ~ romance. 

The romance industry has changed dramatically since Kathleen Woodiwiss published The Flame and the Flower in 1972.  I was MUCH too young to read romance back then (or read at all) but about ten years into the genre, I was a young teen bugging my mother for something to do one summer day.  I must have been bugging her a lot because she chucked her book at me and sort of screeched, “Read this!” before stomping back into the house.  Being the dutiful daughter I have always been, I immediately flopped down into the lawn chair she had vacated and opened Lost Lady by Jude Deveraux. 

WOW!  What an eye-opening book for a 15-year old!  :)  Let me take a look-see at my copy (I still have it!).  By page 18, just into chapter 2, our hero and heroine have met and are having sex.  Quite graphic sex.  Somewhat against the heroine’s will – well at the last minute, anyway.  But the sex aside, I loved this story and became a voracious reader – of historical romance.  I did try a contemporary romance once, Jude Deveraux had written one long before the contemporaries she writes now, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.  By the time I went to college, I had read hundreds and hundreds of romances.  I was hooked. 

Sure, I had learned a lot about romance novels by that point.  I had favorite authors – those author’s whose books I purchased the day they were released, in $25 hard cover versions.  Jude Deveraux, Johanna Lindsey, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught.  There was a second tier of writers in my mind too – Kathleen Woodiwiss, Theresa Mederios, Jill Barnett, Constance O’day Flannery, Constance O’Banyon – if only because there weren’t as many of their books available.   (I read Velvet Chains by O’Banyon so many times that the pages fell out of it.  I may actually have to buy a new copy…hmmm)  And eventually, I became a romance snob.  There were authors I wouldn’t read if someone had paid me to do it. 

Many of these authors are still on my list of favorites – some for their current works and some for more nostalgic reasons.  By the mid 1990′s new top romance authors were making names for themselves.  Julia Quinn and Lynn Kurland are certainly my two favorites these days. And it’s because of Lynn Kurland and this very blog that I’m about to begin my new WIP.

Last fall, we at the Scribes interviewed Lynn Kurland (part 1 and part 2) and after a crippling ice storm sent most of Connecticut back in time (at least from the perspective of having no electricity!) I sent Lynn a note with an idea for a story.  She very kindly wrote back saying that I should write it.  Well, friends, I am.

These characters and their problems have been percolating in my mind for nine months, waiting somewhat patiently for their turn on the laptop.  And in two short weeks – their time will arrive.  I’ll let you know more as things develop – and if you see me word sprinting, you’ll know why! 

Today’s Secret: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  to all the wonderful romance writers who’ve gone before and inspired me.  I promise not to head hop!  ;)

Today’s Question: Who has inspired you to reach for your dreams?

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7 thoughts on “A Lifelong Affair with Love”

  1. I was a romance writer way before I ever read my first romance novel. In my head I always put people together who I thought should be together. It wasn’t until I read Susan Elizabeth Phillips did I realize that I can write those thoughts down.

  2. Viv! Great to see you, sister. I can’t wait to read your new romance. Way to go in spreading your wings and writing the book of your heart! Mixed metaphors there, but you get the idea. For our readers who don’t know what a writing sprint is: writers get together, either in person or connected up through a Facebook page (or some other electronic means), and work on their current manuscript. The idea is to challenge and encourage each other to get as many words on the page as possible. It is so much fun, the writing doesn’t feel like work. And if you’ve been feeling stuck or blocked, it’s a great way to get the words flowing again. Hmmm, maybe I’ll do a post on organizing and participating in a sprint in a week or two…

  3. Hi Viv! Welcome back. I was hooked on mysteries, thrillers and horror through my teens (ala VC Andrews and Steven King)–until I stopped sleeping nights, that is. I got away from reading fiction in my early twenties and spent the next ten years or so reading self-help books, spiritual growth kind of books and journaling. I had a lot of emotional and spiritual healing to do and those books broke me out of old habits and self-destructive thinking, so I’m eternally grateful for that.

    I didn’t actually start reading romance until I was in my late thirties. But once I started, I was hooked. I read a ton of historicals, Stephanie Laurens being my fav back then. I also read a lot of literary fiction for a while, totally inhaling books by writers like Barbara Kingsolver and Diana Gabaldon, which ultimately led me to read whatever romancy thing I could get my hands on.

    I fell in love with romantic suspense when I found Sandra Brown and read dozens of fabulous authors in that genre until I expanded my repertoire to include paranormal romance and discovered Sherilyn Kennyon and Laurell K. Hamilton. I was reading those kinds of books when I first started writing, so I was initially drawn to writing paranormal romance, followed by two romantic suspense novels. The Harry Potter series turned me on to YA, followed by Twilight and the Hunger games series which gave me pause to think I could actually write books for young adults. Since I was a bit squeemish about having folks read my sex scenes, writng YA made sense for me. Some day I may adopt a pen name and go back to writing those juicy romances!

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