Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and for the first time since, like, fifth grade, I actually have a valentine! It’s kind of a nice feeling to actually have plans beyond “writing and drinking wine.” Seriously, every holiday, that’s my game plan. I knew I didn’t have a social life, but I didn’t realize how bad it was until I started spending weekends with him and occasionally his family.

However, even before I had a boyfriend I always had a love for love and romance in my mysteries. I don’t know when I started to love romance in my books, but I even remember being a teenager reading One for the Money, which is about a woman who goes after a fugitive – who happens to be the man she lost her virginity to as a teenager and you bet there is plenty of flirting between the two of them.

Love and Mystery

I think my affection for love stories came for the same reason I loved mysteries and adventure – they were unobtainable for me, but they were obtainable for others. Fantasy books have never had any interest for me because I can’t get on board with faeries or dragon or mythical creatures. But conspiracies and sexy rendezvous? Those actually can actually happen to people and both mystery and love are exciting things. There’s a real emotional reaction we have to love, whether we realize it or not.

For so long in my life, I didn’t even have a possibility of something like that. And my relationship is not the over exaggerated, sickly romantic or sexy thing you find in books. I wouldn’t want it to be, my relationship is real – not just some plot I’ve made in my head. But as I met him and fell in love, it’s funny how my relationship snuck it’s way into the Emily Burnet Series. I wrote and published Airtime and Alibis before I met him and I like to think I could write some damn good romance in a plot for a woman who hadn’t had any (enough that it made my mother uncomfortable), but there was something about meeting someone and feeling some of those feelings that made me feel more confident in these relationships in my stories.

Spoiler alert: At the end of Cameras and Confessions, Austin meets Emily’s parents as her boyfriend. The week that book came out, my boyfriend met my parents for the first  time. That was not planned but its was a great moment of life imitating art.

Right now, I’m in the middle of reading a book in one of my favorite book series- Golden in Death. While I admire so many things about this series, my love for Eve and Roarke’s relationship is one of the top reasons I love this series so much. Like so many others who use reading to escape from the world around us, I love these mysteries with romance the best. For a while, as a woman who was single for eight years with no prospects, I think reading and dreaming of romance, especially around this time of the year, was a way to enjoy what life wasn’t giving me.

I’m a big believer that every author writes to the influences around them – both in real life and in other stories we read. So for a love of these stories, it’s no surprise when you open one of my books, you’ll find some mystery, a lot of sass, but a little bit of romance too.