Jennifer Echols and I were early pioneers of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies line of novels, so I'm extra-thrilled to be hosting her as we spotlight her latest release, LOVE STORY, out next week!
SHE'S WRITING ABOUT HIM. HE'S WRITING ABOUT HER. AND EVERYBODY IS READING BETWEEN THE LINES.
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions--it's her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family's racehorse farm in . But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin's college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she's sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He's joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin's heart with longing. Now she's not just imagining what might have been. She's writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
Growing up, my mother encouraged me to read a lot--but not romance novels, which she considered “trash.” At the same time, she was handing me wonderful romantic suspense novels by Mary Stewart, one of the greatest romance novelists ever, in my opinion. So without meaning to or understanding what she was doing, my mom simultaneously made me shun romance and got me hooked on it.
Like many English majors, I decided in college that I wanted to be a novelist. Of course, I did not want to churn out trash by writing romance novels. I wanted to be the next Hemingway. So I wrote beautiful (I thought), pithy (I thought) novels full of romance (which is what interested me), sent them to agents and editors who were looking for heavy literary experiments rather than romance, and got rejected.
Determined to figure out what I was doing wrong, I worked on a PhD in genre studies. I read lots of popular culture criticism that decried romance because it implied that a woman could not be fulfilled as a person without a man. I did not agree. In the best romances, the hero and heroine both grow throughout the story, to the point that at the end, they finally deserve each other. And so I found myself presenting a paper at the Rhetoric Society of America national conference on the commercial packaging of the YA romance series LOVE STORIES while simultaneously writing one.
Thanks so much for joining us, Jennifer! We love a juicy romance -- especially yours!