The first news I saw when I woke up this morning announced the passing of Johanna Lindsey after a long battle with lung cancer.
Like many romance writers of my generation, I was drawn into the genre by her stories. I fell in love with her characters, and point to Tender Rebel and Anthony as the reason I fell headlong into romance. My dream to become a writer crystalized with that book. She was my gateway drug.
At one time I had paperback copies of every book she wrote. During our last move, I pared my collection drastically and only about fifteen remain. Over time I lost favor with her stories as readers often do and moved on to other authors. I still love those first romances, as troublesome as they might be. She was a product of her time and the bodice ripper trope makes an appearance a time or two and there are certainly infamous scenes among her works. (The utterly ridiculous sex on a horse in Savage Thunder made me laugh out loud even as a sixteen year old.) People like to point to her as both the lauded mother of the genre and an example of how problematic it can be.
I’m aware of all the issues, but none of that matters to me right now. Right now, I’m incredibly sad to have lost a person who made an incredible impact on me.
Thank you, Ms. Lindsey, for helping me find my voice as a woman and a writer.