I always wanted to be a science fiction writer. The old Star Trek series introduced me to SF, which I then began to read voraciously. It wasn’t long before I tried to write my own, but my science fiction stories were...well...to put it nicely, horrible. Eventually I gave up and began writing contemporary stories. Everything I wrote seemed to have people falling in love, so I finally gave up the pretense and began admitting I wrote romance. I still occasionally tried to write science fiction, but my muse just wasn’t working with me.
My life changed one day in 1997. I attended a one-day romance writers conference, and one of the speakers was Catherine Asaro. Ms. Asaro, a respected science fiction writer and scientist with multiple degrees from UCLA and Harvard, stood in front of us and proudly stated she wrote science fiction romance.
I was stunned. I’d never heard of such a thing. Combine science fiction and romance. I had discovered Nirvana! The world suddenly opened. I just didn’t have the guts to actually try this great new thing I’d discovered, especially since it was such a new sub-genre. Ms. Asaro sold her books as science fiction, and I'd already found my muse didn't play in that sandbox. I contented myself with putting tiny paranormal elements into my contemporary romances.
At this point, my life took a couple of side trips. I wrote, but not a lot, and I didn’t submit much either. I did, however, manage to find and read some paranormal romances. Among the novels that had the most influence on me were Catherine Asaro’s books (of course), the old Silhouette Shadows books (especially Waiting for the Wolf Moon by Evelyn Vaughn), Nora Roberts’s Three Sisters Island trilogy, and Linda Lael Miller’s vampires. There were others, but I can’t them remember right now.
Eventually, I read a Katie MacAlister vampire novel and began to look for, and read funny paranormal romances. Since the first little piece I’d ever had published was humor, it seemed a natural for me to try my hand. With mixed excitement and trepidation, I began a humorous paranormal romance about a woman who moves into a haunted house.
My muse had other ideas. The dang thing got darker and spookier. Yeah, there was still a wide streak of humor, but it was a part of a spooky whole. I tried to beat the story into shape, but my muse refused to work with me. I threw up my hands in surrender, and wrote a dark paranormal with comic relief. I didn't care, because I’d come home. I could have my cake and eat it too (the cake here at the diner is wonderful, by the way).
Other paranormal romance authors who have influenced and inspired me are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mary Janice Davidson, Susan Grant, Kerrelyn Sparks, Charlain Harris, Michelle Rowen, Ann Macela, Susan Squires, Jesse Verino, and many more that I just can’t think of right now. Plus there are more that are on my "gotta buy/read soon" list.
Okay, I have to go now. I should write, or do housework, or something constructive. What I want to do is curl up and read.
But isn’t that what it’s all about?