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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.


Seductive Musings

Saturday, July 07, 2007

In memory of Kathleen Woodiwiss

So, who was the first romance author you ever read?

Kathleen Woodiwiss was my first. Somehow I got my hands on a tattered copy of The Flame and the Flower, and the story captivated me. I must have been about 14 when I read it. The book was first published in 1974, I think, so it was a few years old by the time I read it.

I remember being utterly swept away by Brandon and Heather's story. Heather was so abused and innocent, and Brandon was... Well, what can you say about a hero who rapes the heroine. Of course, he didn't realize that's what he was doing, at least not the first time. The sex was hot, not by today's standards certainly, but for it's time, it was pretty scorching, opening up possibilties for women as writers and readers to explore their own sexuality and their relationships with men.

That's what romance novels are really about, after all. That's what makes them inherently feminist — powerful tools for women in changing their lives and visioning the world in new ways.

I didn't understand much about sex then, just the basic Tab A into Slot B mechanics. But I knew the moment I finished reading her book that I wanted to write stories like that one day.

Kathleen Woodiwiss is why I write romance. It's as simple as that.

I read Rosemary Rogers and other early romance authors, also, and I loved their novels, too. But Kathleen's books stood out for me. Who can forget Shanna? My friends and I had a dog-eared copy of that book. I can't tell you how many times I read it or how often we traded it back and forth. Anyone who read that book never forgot it.

And then there's The Wolf and the Dove. Wonderful story.

I didn't follow her later novels, but I'd hoped to have a chance to meet her one day and thank her for the hours of escape and for the inspiration she gave me.

My condolences go out to her surviving family, and I know that many of us in the world of romantic fiction, both writers and readers, will be saddened to learn of her passing.


Nes said...

I'm so sorry to hear about her passing. May she rest in peace.

My first romance was Sweet Savage Love by Rosemary Rogers. Damn, I loved that book.

That book was being passed on secretly from one friend to another when I was a freshman in high school. By the time I got that book, it was tattered too. Gads, I loved Ginny and Steve and I read every single book about them.

My second most memorable romance book was Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne. Anyone else read that? I still have my tattered copies of both books.

Like you said, Pam, that's what romance is all about....

Thanks for the trip down memory lane. :)

Debbie H said...

It was Victoria Holt books. The mystery with the romance. I was thirteen when I started reading those and then went to Kathleen's books. She will definitely be missed.

Romance does give us power to let ourselves dream and take that step into the unknown in our lives. Thank you for doing that for me!

See you in a few days!

For me it was Daphne DuMaurier, Anya Seton, Mary Stewart - but when I read Kathleen Woodiwiss, I was in shock almost at what I was reading, it was so different. I just heard about her passing and was saddened. She was a huge contributer to today's romance. She and others led the way.

Debbie_D said...

Kathleen Woodiwiss was the first romance author I read. I was about 13 and my mom gave me the book to read because I kept pestering her to let me read one of "Mom's books". Mom read romance for as long as I could remember and I wanted to know what was so great about them. I found out and haven't stopped reading them since. I'm sorry for Ms. Woodiwiss' passing but am glad I was able to experience her writing for as long as I have.

Thank you Ms. Woodiwiss....
you'll be missed.

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