Valentine’s Day is my kind of day. I was a romantic before I ever wrote a single romance, and once I did that – and discovered that people loved reading what I wrote – there was no end to my hearts-and-flowers imagination. All told, I wrote fifty romances, sometimes eight a year, I was that into it. But being a romance writer wasn’t, in fact, entirely hearts and flowers. There were friends who politely told me that they didn’t read “that kind of book.” Worse, there was the family member who actually told me she didn’t read “that kind of trash.” There were booksellers who hid me in a back corner when I came for a signing, rather than up front, where other visiting authors sat. And then there were people (male, usually, like the one selling me my first computer) who blithely said, “So now all you have to do is cut-and-paste different names, and you have a new book.”
People like this are ignorant. They’re also hypocrites, if the attention they give to Valentine’s Day means anything. Valentine’s Day is a huge commercial event, a day when even the emotionally squeamish are allowed to indulge in red roses and chocolate kisses. How appropriate it is, then, that the first of my two romance trilogies has just debuted in e-book form!
Trilogies are commonplace now, but when I wrote these in the early ‘90s they were not. I was at a stage in my career when the 200-page restriction of the romance genre was starting to chafe. Three books would give me a whopping 600 pages in which to tell my story. I had no problem with that story being divided into thirds.
So I conceived of a seaside book involving a gorgeous old Colonial home on a hill that its owner could no longer support, expansive acreage that included a pine grove, meadow, and duck pond, and a conglomerate willing to build homes, condos, and harbor shops in the tasteful way the owner wanted. Picture together (in Valentine’s Day mode) that owner and an architect with a tie to the land, the builder and interior designer for the project, and its realtor and a fellow-consortium member whose bookstore will be one of the first of the harbor shops.
There you have it – the Crosslyn Rise Trilogy — three separate stories woven around a single breathtaking piece of property. Each book stands on its own, but if you read them in the order in which they were written, i.e., The Dream, The Dream Unfolds, and The Dream Comes True, you’ll more satisfyingly follow the progress of the project and the characters.
Rereading the trilogy in advance of this reissue, I was intrigued. These books were among the last of my romances and, in that, are more sophisticated in style than their forebears. Hence, they are my Valentine’s Day gift to you all. They also embody my love of romance. Let’s face it – the real world can be brutally painful, and much as we want it to, hope doesn’t always win out. In a romance, it does! These books capture a fantasy, much as red roses and chocolate kisses do.
So, on or around Valentine’s Day, here’s to strong – strong heroines, heroes strong enough to bend, and a strong happily ever after.
Oh oh oh. I did mention having written two trilogies. The second, the Matchmaker Trilogy, will make its e-book-debut on April 1. I kid you not!