This month, the Crew talks about when they knew they wanted to write romance novels. 

Nancy Robards Thompson 

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always written and I’ve always been a hopeless romantic, who devoured romance novels. When I was in junior high, my best friend and I passed a notebook back and forth, writing an on-going romantic saga starring us and our crushes from our favorite boy band. Eventually, life got in the way and took me away from my starry-eyed musings. I went to college and took the practical route, majoring in journalism. I was in my early 30s before I decided to try my hand at writing a romance. That was after the editor of the newspaper I wrote for told me he didn’t want me to be creative; he just wanted me to report the facts. It was a life-changing moment that made me reconsider my future. I wrote four manuscripts and finaled in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart contest – winning once -- before I sold my first book. This month, I’m celebrating the release of my 30th book published by Harlequin (40 published books in all) -   MADDIE FORTUNE'S PERFECT MAN - and I haven’t looked back.  

Angi Morgan 

My mother said I began telling stories when she first put a crayon in my hand. I wrote my first romance/western in the sixth grade (and no one will ever see it). Most of my fans know how I was introduced to Harlequin® romances. My grandmother and aunts would buy them at Woolworth’s. Throughout Junior High I waited for the next visit to “Mommie’s” house. There, I’d search through the inside cover corners for
checkmarks, aunt’s initials, and my favorite phrase: Okay for Angi. That’s right, my aunts and grandmother censored which stories I could borrow until I was thirteen. Reading gave me a love for the Harlequin® name and story. I still have several of my grandmother’s books on my keeper shelf. I keep reading romance. And now I completely fall in love with the “Happily Ever After” for each of my hero and heroines while telling their stories. (See Angi's Books.) So I guess I’m definitely “a fool for romance” and always have been.

Avril Tremayne

I’ve wanted to be a writer from the moment I started to read, but there are two books that told me romance was my genre. The first was Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, which I read as a teenager. The passion and the drama of that book still thrill me, almost to the point of obsession. The second came later, when I chanced up a copy of The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which sent me on a hunt for every historical romance I could find.

I’ve had two goes at become a writer. My early attempt, many, many years ago, involved many, many (atrocious) submissions, a couple of not-bad submissions that almost worked, and a gong as a Romance Writers of America Golden Heart finalist. But my career took off like a rocket shortly thereafter, and I hung up my quill.

And then in 2013, coming home to Sydney after a stint in the Middle East, I found myself with time on my hands at last, entered Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write competition, scored two publishing contracts as a result, and the rest – as they say – is history.

E.E. Burke

When I was in high school, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and I recall I really liked it. But I was much more intrigued by Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff was the dark, brooding hero I fell in love with. I started indulging in historical romance in college, and by the time I was a young adult, I was expending much of my disposable income on books. Being a history geek, as well as a sucker for a good love story, I read equal amounts romance and historical fiction. My decision to write historical romance was quite simply a logical extension of the kind of books I love to read. 

My grandmother was the one who encouraged me to pursue writing books as well as reading them. Sadly, she was gone long before I saw a dream come true when I made the finals in the RWA's prestigious Golden Heart contest. My pseudonym is a variation of her name. 

Now for a bit of trivia few people know. The hero in my first published full-length novel, Her Bodyguard, started out as a "bad guy" in the very first book I wrote. While I was furiously typing that first book (which never saw the light of day), I realized the "bad guy" wasn't as a bad as I thought. He had a very dark side, but he was tormented and conflicted. Kind of like Heathcliff! By the time I got to "The End" I was more interested in him than in the main characters. That's when I knew I'd written roughly 400 pages of backstory! Of all the heroes I've written, he's still one of my favorites. 

Nan Dixon

I wasn't the writer in the family. That was one of my older sisters, and my mother. My mother wrote a newspaper column for about twenty years. She was also a playwright and poet. 
But in high school, my senior English class was required to write journals and hand them in. My teacher liked my writing and encouraged me to do more. I didn’t think much about it, but then my college freshman writing professor had us do a creative writing project. I wrote a story on fairies. She read it aloud to the class and encouraged me to publish the story. (I lost it before I could do anything!) Those two teachers made me think I might be a writer. The idea percolated for many years before I gave it a try.
Of course I was so clueless, I didn't realize the first book I wrote was a romance! Once I found my tribe in the form of my local RWA chapter, Midwest Fiction Writers, I learned how to really write a book. And my books always have a happily-ever-after!

Lizbeth Selvig
Like so many of my fellow GLIAS authors, I have been writing since I was ten or eleven. When my friends were reading themselves to sleep, I was writing in notebooks until the wee hours. Before that I would tell myself stories to put myself to sleep. All my work was about the crushes I had from TV, records, and movies. It was a while until I understood that what I loved was called "romance," but I'd definitely been writing it--having had novelized HEAs with everyone from Paul McCartney to Bobby Sherman to Captain Kirk by the time I was fourteen! When I discovered Harlequin & Silhouette romances, I was a goner. And
My first book!
My most recent book

when I read LaVyrle Spencer in the early 80's, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I got a journalism degree and worked for newspapers and magazines--and when my first novel was published and I saw my name on the cover, I knew I'd found a real HEA!