Sidney: Jodie, I love hanging around readers, especially romance readers. I think they’ve got to be the most well read, accepting group of readers out there. Sadly, I wasn’t always a romance reader. *gasp* I know! I actually didn’t even pick up a true romance book until I was in my mid-20’s. I’d clung to the idea that it was a dirty genre, blahblahblah, I’m sure you can fill in the blanks. I want to eye roll every time I think about how silly I was. When I finally picked up a romance, it was on a dare. It was a book I didn’t really enjoy, but I’d never read something so emotionally honest. In short, I was hooked. I went on to read what would become one of my favorite series of all time, the Darkyn books by Lynn Viehl. I was a little shy to admit at that point that for me, reading romance was more than just the enjoyment of it, it was also a bit of self-therapy. To be able to believe, if even within the pages of a book, that love and acceptance were possible was a huge hurtle for me. And that’s where my story begins… Jodie, what about you?
Jodie: I was always a voracious reader. I started on adult books when I was really young. I’d read a lot of sci-fi fantasy that belonged to my stepdad, but it all changed when I was 9. This pivotal moment happened when second hand bookstore opened across the road. I would find all the spare change in the house and rush over to buy a book. Back then they were like 0.15-0.50c. Bargain! So, me and my twin sister found all these romance books along the bottom (since we were kids it was a perfect height). I picked up an old bodice-ripper and took it home. It was a historical set during the Normandy invasion of England in the 11th Century. The cover was as you’d expect back then with a muscular man holding a woman who looked like she was in the throes of ecstasy. I can’t remember the author or title of that book, but I do remember the premise. And no, I haven’t google searched for that book since…Well, okay I have. But alas, to no avail (-_-;) . BUT, upside is that book popped my romance cherry. I was addicted. I devoured Connie Mason’s backlist as well as developing a love for Johanna Lindsey. I was hooked on historicals. Probably surprises you huh, Sid? Considering Dirty Beautiful is a contemporary. In fact, you teethed yourself on paranormal and you also have a contemporary out. So do you read just paranormals or do you delve into the other sub-genres was well?
Sidney: Bodice rippers? I’ll admit, it’s one genre I don’t embrace blindly. A historical has to come highly recommended, with an unusual heroine or plot for me to pick it up. There are a few historical authors I blindly buy though!
In the beginning I read paranormals – only. I was used to reading high action novels, and I didn’t think historicals, contemporary or anything in between would hold my interest. The first romance I ever wrote was a paranormal. And the one after that. And the one after that. They were okay, but not great. There wasn’t anything special about them that hadn’t already been done. The first contemporary author I read was either Rachel Gibson’s hockey series, or Victoria Dahl’s Tumble Creek; one for my hockey obsession and the other because – OMG Victoria Dahl is freaking hysterical! I thought my first contemporary story was going to be a fluke. Though that book, in that incarnation, will never see the light of day, I realized that I enjoyed contemporary. I wrote another. And another. And here I am… A happy contemporary author. That’s not to say I won’t try another subgenre of romance. I’ve been jonesing for a really good sci-fi-rom lately. Something with laser pistols and adventure in far flung galaxies. What other genre could be calling your name, Jodie?
Jodie: Dude! I can’t believe how similar we are. I remember when my sister made the shift into contemporary romances. I would sniff disdainfully at them and refuse to leave my noble ladies and rakes behind. Then… one day… I opened a… Rachel Gibson book. OMG. I was hooked. I actually didn’t find out about paranormals until about 7 years ago when I had my first girl and joined a romance readers community in an effort to connect with REAL adults. LOL I jumped onto ebooks as well about the same time too. I read paranormals like crazy. In fact, you might be surprised to know that my first attempts at writing romance came as historicals. Or well, not so surprised. (>.>) But, I wrote two and then wrote a couple of sci-fi/ futuristic novellas, but then landed in writing urban fantasy/ paranormals. But how did I end up writing a contemporary? I just… had this plot bunny that wouldn’t let me go and here I am. Will I write other subgenres of romance? I hope so. I have a whole virtual folder full of half-fleshed out plots/ ideas. Perhaps you’ll find me writing and erotic historical or a kick-butt urban fantasy. Who knows, only my grumpy bunny does. But you know, I’m a proud romance reader. Out and proud of it. I’ll shamelessly trawl the bookstore in the romance section and carry them to the front counter. I’ll talk to strangers out this fantastic romance I read. I just love it. It’s not the ugly stepchild of the literary world. It’s the swan!
Sidney: Rachel Gibson rocks!
Ehem. I think I’ve come a long way from my early days of being a voracious reader. Gone are the days when you wouldn’t catch me within five feet from the romance section. Oh no. These days I’m standing in the romance section, reading the blurbs – out loud. And you should know, I have issues with staying around anything considered an “inside voice”. Now that I’ve been converted and educated, I recognize just how great the romance genre is. It’s a strange mix of everything across the bookstore, with so much variety and spice! Who wouldn’t want that?