A funny thing happened to me on the way to becoming a romance writer. I fell in love. For real.
Here’s how it happened. For years I lived the single life in the big city. Sex and the City was the show that spoke to me more than any other. I knew those characters, I was those characters, at least bits and pieces of them. I dated like mad, got my heart broken, broke hearts myself. Between men, many pints of Cherry Garcia were eaten, many nights spent alone with my TiVo. Over time I grew more wary and self-protective. I didn’t give my heart away so easily. I didn’t want to get hurt any more, even if it meant being alone.
Then my life fell apart. A bad breakup, a personal medical crisis, a downward turn at work, everything happened at once. It was like a perfect storm of misery. So I did what I always do … turn to romance novels for a little escape and comfort. I started with my longtime favorites, Nora Roberts, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Elizabeth Lowell, then began discovering new writers, Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Julie Garwood. Then one day it occurred to me that I should try to write one. So I did … and loved it. I started another one. At that time I had no thought of publishing. All I wanted was to write, to find a haven from the drama swirling around me.
It turns out that beneath my ‘who-needs-love’ exterior, I still believed in romance. At least on the page. I read it, I wrote it … and before I knew it, a miracle happened. I left my job, moved to another state, and lo and behold, met someone who opened his heart to me so fully that I couldn’t resist. I fell in love. I wasn’t just reading and writing romance, I was living it. After all that time, all those wrong turns, I found my soulmate.
To this day, I believe I owe my shiny new love life to romance novels. When I was miserable, romance novels were there for me. They made me believe. And when I started writing romance, I had to believe even more. I had to reach down and resurrect that hopeful part of me that had gotten buried. Once I’d done that, I was ready to meet someone and fall in love.
So thank you, wonderful genre of romance! I will always be grateful. (And, of course, relieved that I didn’t turn to crime novels in my moment of need.)
How has reading (and/or writing) romance changed your life? Do you read for escape, comfort, or something else?
BIO: Juniper Bell lives with her sweetie in a cabin in Alaska with no running water and a spectacular view of glaciers. She spends her time writing, shoveling snow, and dreaming of her next trip to a warm climate. Juniper’s third book, “Training the Receptionist,” is out now from Samhain Publishing. For more, visit her website or her blog. You can also find her on Twitter as @AuthorJuniper.
Training the Receptionist by Juniper Bell
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
It’s her naughty dream job—if they’re satisfied with her performance…
Eager to escape her miserable existence in Low-Life, Long Island, street-wise Dana Arthur jumps at an entry-level position with the consulting firm Cowell & Dirk. As her training period begins, she quickly discovers she’s required to do more than take messages and order office supplies. Her job description contains some deliciously naughty duties that give receptionist a whole new meaning.
Simon has almost given up on finding the right woman who will please his clients as well as his demanding partner and mentor, Ethan Cowell. No one measures up—until Dana. Her inner fire and fearless nature are perfect for the job. No matter what wicked punishment he devises to chastise her for her on-the-job mistakes, she accepts with a relish that leaves him wondering which one of them is really in control.
The last thing he expects to discover is that she’s a perfect sexual soul mate he can’t bear to share. But share he must—it’s part of his business agreement. Unless he makes Ethan the deal of a lifetime…
Warning: This title contains explicit sex, bondage, ménage, ingenious use of office furniture, lingerie, and the occasional sex toy. Oh, and did I mention the package delivery guy?