Squawk Radio

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Kate Duffy's Romance Roots

Like most of you, I read everything when I was growing up. Cave drawings, dead sea scrolls, rosetta stone – whatever was available. I had no idea I could actually get paid to read.

My grandmother and mother gave me my first Georgette Heyer books. This is a familial addiction. However unlike my relatives, I am not a great re-reader. Mom and Grandma never traveled anywhere without Heyer or Austin in their suitcase. The books, I mean. The actual authors were not an option.

I like to head for the airport or train station and see what’s new on the shelves. Something I can buy and try and pass off as “research”. Last trip, I went through Newark airport, picked up THE BAREFOOT BRIDE by Christina Dodd, whoever she is, and PRINCE OF FIRE by Dan Silva. I ended up being snowed out of New York by the blizzard. But I didn’t care. I got to read.

I got my first editorial job in New York because I had read everything by Phyllis A. Whitney and Mary Stewart. The company I was with as a temp did five gothic romances a month and nobody but me liked them. I LOVED them. Historicals or contemporaries – I didn’t care.

I don’t take full credit for the decline and fall of the gothic market but I had a hand in it.

But in the over three decades since then it has still always been about the romance. I also love mysteries and thrillers, do not get me wrong. But what keeps me employed, and with my many faults this should not be taken lightly, is romance.

I see limitless possibilities for our genre. For the books themselves, the covers, the copy, the content. We are creative smart women with imaginations that could power small galaxies. I just cannot wait to see what happens next.

Oh, and just to finish up, When we buried my beloved grandmother, she took two books by Georgette Heyer with her. As a book person, I completely got that.
Connie Brockway, 8:43 PM