I'm not sure when I first realized I liked to write, but in 7th grade I penned my first novel (I use this term loosely to apply to a hand-written story of about 50 journal pages). I still have it somewhere. It even had a romantic element. Hey, I was 12, and I'd always liked boys.
For some reason, I never considered a writing career, though. It seemed daunting, and about as likely to happen as that singing career I once envisioned. It's still daunting, and the achievement of bestseller status is unlikely–though I'm not opposed to it–but here I am plugging away at the keyboard each day, blissfully hopeful.
For years, I dabbled in poetry, wrote lots of technical documentation, and emailed little bits of inspiration home from work. When I finally quit working two years ago (wow, time flies!) I spent time learning Dreamweaver and writing fitness articles for my lame website. I also considered pursuing freelance writing, but couldn't get excited about it as a full-time endeavor.
I really wanted to write fiction! The problem? No ideas. Well, not the kind I thought I wanted to write. I'd spent most of my adult life reading mysteries, political/military thrillers, and historical adventures. How on Earth do people like Sue Grafton, Clive Cussler, Ken Follett and Vince Flynn think of this stuff? Talk about intimidating.
Looking back, I was always happier when the story included a romantic subplot, and especially a happy ending. That should have been a clue.
It wasn't until I picked up a couple of old historical romance novels from the “Free” box at the library that I realized there was a genre for the stories in my head. It really was an epiphanic (yes, that's a word), slap-your-head sort of moment. I knew historical wasn't for me (love to read it, can't write it), but when I started picking up contemporary and romantic suspense books from Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, Lisa Kleypas, and others, I knew I had found my home.
It's always fascinated me how the smallest act can have such huge consequences. Would I have come to romance another way eventually? I hope so. It's likely. But who knows how much longer it would have taken?
I'm just grateful for the ways of the universe, and happy to have found my niche.