Romance ruined me!
I was a happy little SFF reader as a kid. Swords, monsters, dashing about on epic adventures, etc. Then I read Kathleen Woodiwiss’s A ROSE IN WINTER… And I was ruined! Ruined forevuh, I tell you! Just as a romance heroine meets her hero and no other man can ever again be enough for her, so I swooned into the arms of romance novels and my heart was won.
(Which is not to say that I don’t — like some wayward Beatrice Small heroine — occasionally step out on my beloved romances to dabble with some other worthy genre.)
Romances had all the things I loved about SFF — high stakes, strong characterization, occasional swords, and LOTS of dashing — but there was also kissing! And romances offered one major component I didn’t always find in my SFF back in the day: the woman’s story. In romances, the heroines were adventuring as epically as the men. How cool was that?
Today of course SFF has more powerful heroines and romances have a LOT more than kissing 😉 All my favorites genres have grown up a bit, but my first love remains strong. I’m pleased to say A ROSE IN WINTER still holds up today as an excellent example of its subgenre. (Although my personal copy is looking a little dog-eared…) If you haven’t read it yet, get thee hence and enjoy!
So what did you read before romance? Did romance introduce you to other genres like urban fantasy or young adult?