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The Creeper–A Drive-By Style of Buying

My Books!

Romances? No. It's a mystery. With a sexy cop and kickass heroine. And sex. Lots of sex.

I used to try to deny my interest in romance novels.  “Oh, no!” I would say, “this is a murder mystery.  You know all about a serial killer and cops and guns and such.  Romance novel? Pshaw! I would never.”  But see the thing is? That Nora Robert’s novel I was reading? Or that Karen Robards? Or that Julie Garwood?  Though they were about murder and mayhem–I read them for the romance.  In fact, they were romantic suspense. Not really mystery, suspense, or thrillers at all.

Romances–I was told–were not something “nice young ladies” read.  Once, I let my BFF at the time borrow one of my treasured romance novels.  A nice safe Nora Roberts.  Her family found it and the Romance Smack-Down of 2003 occurred.  Yelling.  Fighting.  Drama.  Instead of taking the blame for that “trash,” my nervous BFF sold me out and exclaimed, “It’s Lizzie’s! She left it here.  I’ve not read it!” The turncoat.  Not cool. But her family’s reaction to those smutty, smutty books isn’t exactly uncommon.  In high school I was told I would certainly not write a book report about Julie Garwood‘s Heartbreaker. That was inappropriate. In fact, I should not be reading them at all. I should focus on something inspirational or deep and meaningful.  Not something so common.

It took me forever to even admit to myself that I liked romances.  I mean–I used to deny, deny, deny.  Then those romantic suspenses led to contemporary romances and from contemporary romances to historicals.  Garwood‘s Murder List became her medieval romance Ransom.  That Karen Robards‘ mystery Bait became her historical Irresistible. The list went on and on, slowly moving me down the mystery aisle at the bookstore and into the romance section.  But my paranoia remained.  I was still afraid of the stigma attached to the “romance” novel.

I had a system for buying my romances.  I called it The Creeper. I would start in the mystery section leisurely browsing through those titles that I had no real interest in.  Then after a few crafty and well-placed side glances to make sure the coast was clear, I would head slowly to the romance section.  Those bold colors and heaving bosoms.  I would speed through that section.  Eyes straight ahead.  No left, no right.  I pretended like I was just walking through romance on my way to “real” literature, picking out titles and authors out of the corner of my eyes.  Then after my initial sweep, I would circle back and grab my books and run.  This drive-by method of shopping was my primary means of picking out my reading material.  God.  I’m sure I was super transparent.  But The Creeper made me feel better.

Shhhh! Cover that cover with this Hide-a-Cover...

Then I went to college, and though my friends were a little apprehensive about my romance novels, they came to accept my reading preferences with a minimum of teasing and ribbing.  Sure, they thought it was mildly embarrassing, and yes, sometimes I do still get grief from them about it, but for the most part, I was able to at let myself read what I wanted to read without too much hassle.  Moreover, I was finally able to come out of the romance closet, so to speak.

After my time abroad in Scotland junior year, I realized how silly I was being about the whole “romance novel” thing.  Why was I so ashamed?  I liked romance novels.  Who cares?  Then senior year happened–meaning everyone and their grandmothers wanted to know what I wanted to do with my life.  Finally having accepted that I love romances and want to work with them after college, I stopped hedging and replied. “I, Lizzie Poteet, want to publish/edit/sell romance novels!” (inspiration music now please!)  So yeah, I still get funny looks at Barnes and Nobel when I buy my books.  And people often criticize my taste in books when I tell them.  But really, who cares if that one girl in class looks down at me for my “low brow” habits?  And do I really care if that one professor thinks I am wasting my potential? Honestly? No.  Because this is who I am.  I want to work with romances after college.  So really.  Romances make people happy.  Nough said.


March 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm 5 comments

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