Friday, March 22, 2013

Origins

Hello all.  We had an author that was unable to join us today, so you get...me. :)  Actually, I wanted to take this time to thank everyone for their kind words and support over my mother's passing. She was a big supporter of the Romantic Suspense genre, and without her influence I probably wouldn't have been such a fan of the genre, or a storyteller for that matter.


When I was a child, Mom had this lantern hanging from a chain above her bed (yes, she was a product of the 60's). We would sit on the bed and she would spin that lantern and start to make up a story. When the lantern stopped, it was my turn to spin it, and also my turn to pick up the story-line. We would go back and forth like that until the tale was complete, or I threw up from all that spinning. :)  

Mom also taught me the power of observation.  While watching TV, during the commercials she quizzed me on things in the background of the show we were watching.  What was the painting hanging over the couch? What was the color of the rug? How many framed photos were on the fireplace? These are skills I find I still tap into while I'm watching TV.  There is a show on FX called The Americans, which takes place in the 80's. I commend them on how accurate every item is on the set. After all, who didn't have a gold or olive refrigerator and stove back then! I noticed last night that even the model of Bic pen that she was writing with dated back to that era.


As a youngster, I began writing with my literary masterpiece, Super Watermelon Man. By 7th grade I had written a 60-page thriller about aliens landing on a beach in Scotland. LOL!  After that, I evolved into the horror genre with some equally ridiculous plot. In high school I started to dabble in romance, and then one day Mom hands me, TELL ME NO LIES by Elizabeth Lowell.  That was it for me. The great writer from above came down and stamped my forehead with a big Romantic Suspense label.  My first attempt to write romantic suspense even yielded me a Golden Heart nomination in the category.


Mom's book cabinet was stocked with many of the authors on JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE. Carla, she loved Saint's Gate! I know that lately, she was reading  SCORCHED by Laura Griffin. She loved all the blogs here, but she was a voyeur...always too shy to post a comment.

As readers or writers have you ever been influenced by a relative in your genre of choice?

29 comments:

  1. Maureen, so sorry about your mom. She sounds like a wonderful person. I loved your stories about the lantern and her quizzing you to make you more observant. As for an influence on my writing by relatives, I can't say anyone in my family has influenced me. My big sister, Lisa, got me reading romance. But my fascination with romantic suspense came much later and I still don't know why! :) Hope you have an awesome day. Hugs.

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    1. Hi Miss Lena! Thank you, and we are grateful for whatever force nudged you towards romantic suspense. :)

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  2. Maureen: Loved your entertaining post and your stories. I began reading romance at an early age too, and soon found myself craving for more adventure, intrigue and suspense. Then I started reading romantic suspense and soon I was writing it. It seems easier to write for me than an ordinary traditional romance. I guess I need more adventure in my life so I can live vicariously through my books.

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    1. Thank you so much, Lorelei. Living vicariously is what gets us through the day. :)

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  3. What a wonderful mom. With those memories she will live forever in your heart and mind. Super Watermelon Man? Love it. I was the big reader in my family. My books came from the library. The librarian thought my reading choices were inappropriate and reported me to my mother. Ha!

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    1. Thank you, Rita. Oh, those stodgy old librarians! How else were we going to learn about the birds and the bees? :)

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  4. Oh wow, I love the lantern-spinning storytelling. What a gift she gave you.

    My parents had those Reader's Digest Condensed books in the house when I was a kid and I read every single one of them, lol.

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    1. Those Reader's Digest condensed books also served as decor with their colorful binders. LOL, I read the Hunchback of Notre Dame in one of those.

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  5. So sorry about your mum! My grandma was a huge Agatha Christie fan, so that's how I got into mysteries/suspense from a fairly early age. My dad reads a lot of military, political, and technothrillers, so I picked up some of that from him as well. I got into reading romance in grade 6 thanks to a friend who lent me Julie Garwood's RANSOM and I've since combined my love of thrillers and romance to become a huge RS reader. An interesting twist: I've gotten my mum hooked on RS as well :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Cris. You are definitely in the right environment here with your pedigree. We're just waiting for you to write a thriller that takes place in the lab!

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  6. What a beautiful post. My condolences about your mother's passing.
    She sounds like an amazing woman. So touching how she gave you the gift of reading.

    I love the details game. Sounds like she could have been a detective! I love reading a book where the character notices something that others would have glossed right over.

    Thank you for sharing this!
    --Laura

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    1. Hi Laura. Thank you. :) Yes, Mom was the classic armchair detective. She prides herself on solving all the cases five minutes before Perry Mason did.

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  7. What a great post, Maureen. It sounds like your mother was someone we can all look up to. So sorry you've lost her. I'm the only big reader in my family. . .but I could blame film for my love of reading. When I was in middle school, I watched Flowers in the Attic. When told it was first a book, I had to read it. Soon after that, I discovered Nora Roberts. She is to blame for my love of Romantic Suspense. The first Nora book I read was Public Secrets and it's still one of my favorites.

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    1. Hi Dana. I never saw the Flowers In The Attic movie. I'm afraid to see how it compared to the book. But, I was hooked on that book, and the sequels. I had to see what happened with Chris and Cathy. :)

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  8. Maureen I am so sad to hear about your mother's passing. Hugs.
    I did not enjoy books as a kid... most of the time I read it had to be for a report, so I did not have an enjoyment attached to it... towards high school I saw a tv movie that I really enjoyed... saw it was based on a romance novel... asked for it and started reading... a little later I saw a historical by Catherine Coulter and from that point on I was bit by the romance novel bug... my family was never big on reading alot... nowadays, they joke that I could open my own library with all of my books.

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    1. We could all stop by Colleen's Bookstore! That would be awesome. If you're like me and someone goes to buy one of your books, you'll grab it out of their hands and say, "No, not that one. Umm, no, not that one either. Nope, that one's really not for sale...." :) Thank you, Colleen.

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    2. :) yep that sounds like me!

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  9. Maureen, I don't think we got shortchanged at all by having you here today. You are a lovely story teller. I'm very sorry to hear about your mother and so enjoyed hearing some of your memories of time spent together. We all should be so lucky to have had that kind of relationship. Can't say that I recall my reading habits being influenced by any relative (or anyone). I'm one of those who need to experience on my own - good, bad or indifferent! God Bless.

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    1. Thanks so much, Karen. Yep. Sometimes you have to fill your swimming pool with books and just dive in, and see which one you come up with! :)

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  10. So sorry about your mom, Maureen. Sounds like you have lots of great memories to hold on to.

    My mom is a huge reader, everything from romance to mysteries. She introduced me to Nancy Drew when I was ten, and I was hooked. She loved Perry Mason and Murder She Wrote, and was good at figuring out the villain very early in the shows.

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    1. Hi Miss Tori. Your mom sounds like mine. I often wondered how the world solved crimes without consulting her. LOL

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  11. Maureen, big hug. Your Mom sounds like an awesome lady. Love the lantern story.

    My Mom is a storyteller, and a reader. She fell in love by reading Nancy Drew, and was happy to pass that on to me.

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    1. Howdy Miss Gayle. The Nancy Drew books were great. If I was sick, Mom used to read them to me. She was audible.com a long time ago!

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  12. What a great tribute, Maureen. Your relationship with your mom will continue in so many really wonderful ways. I love the connections between generations.

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    1. Thank you so much for the kind words. It is so true. They may be different generations, but at some time we walk the same line.

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  13. Tanks for sharing memories of your Mom with us - I know what a comfort they are as time passes.

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  14. Thanks so much, Taurus. Hugs to you.

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  15. I am sorry to hear about your mom, Maureen. My mom has always been a reader and while I remember her reading romance books a lot when I was growing up, as an adult I recall her reading more thrillers than romance recently (James Patterson, etc). She reads a lot of different genres but suspense and thrillers are her favorite. I usually let her borrow any books I buy or win. She recently read and loved Cindy Gerard's Last Man Standing that I won here on JRS. I haven't even read it yet and can't wait to read it now.

    When my mother in law was in the nursing home and later on hospice her sister would read books to her when my mother in law couldn't hold them any longer. I told my husband that if I am ever laid up in bed and can't read he better get me a way to listen to books!

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    1. If you get laid up in bed, I will come read to you, Amy. And I'll feed you cheese puffs. :)

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