The Making of a Bookophile

When I was just a wee lass, I fell in love with mysteries. Before I hit my 8th birthday, I’d already blazed through the entire Nancy Drew Series. I scoured my school library for Caroline Cooney books, especially the ones that were a little bit “too scary” for a kid my age, then finally drew the line at Anne Rice because she gave me nightmares for a week. At age 9, I moved on to Sherlock Holmes.

After that came the “Mythology Phase.” They were like fairy tales–only WAY cooler–in my young opinion. I memorized stories about Narcissus and Persephone. Roman or Greek, it didn’t matter. But I loved the really dark ones, the ones that involved betrayal, jealousy, entrapment… at that point, my parents started to realize I wasn’t quite “normal.”

Middle school ushered in the Fantasy Era. I read everything David Eddings had ever written, followed by the Dragonlance Chronicles, and of course, Patricia C. Wrede. (Don’t laugh. The Dealing with Dragons series changed my LIFE.) I also read a few deeply disturbing fairy tale revamps, before giving up on a Sleeping Beauty reboot that combined time travel and a Soilent Green-esque future. Yuck.

In high school, I dabbled in romance. (The tame kind. Think less Karen Moning, more Francine Rivers–falling in love with the blessing of Jesus and whatnot. Lol… I still laugh when I think back to this one where God told a frontiersman to go seek out a wife in a brothel. And god saith unto you, “go get yo ho…” Not really, though.) Anyway, that was a short-lived phase, because even back then, I was smart enough to know the difference between “contemporary romance” and “you’re frigging dreaming, lady.” But it was fun while it lasted.

In college, I started reading honest to goodness thrillers. Legal, paranormal or romantic, it didn’t matter. But they had to have that same twisted darkness I’d come to love, and the characters had to be believable. Linda Howard, Tami Hoag, Lisa Jackson, Suzanne Brockmann… I’d eagerly devour anything written by those ladies. Sophomore year, my roommate and I found this amazing used paperback shop a couple of towns away, and we’d travel there twice a month to trade in our “new” books for “old” but unread titles. I miss that shop, and especially the hilarious elderly woman who owned it. You could literally walk into her store, describe the cover of a book, and she’d be able to tell you the title, who wrote it, and where it was.* (Provided it was some kind of Harlequin romance–she had an entire room dedicated to those.)

Since then, I’ve pinged back and forth between genres, authors and formats (paperback, Kindle for iPad, iPhone, etc.). But my love of books has only grown. Two years ago, I decided to take a serious whack at writing one. My first attempt was a paranormal mystery/suspense with WAY too many plot twists, and I ended up putting the completed (but deeply flawed) manuscript away for a later time. Then, I went back to my roots. I decided to write a story that based on a fairy tale, but which quickly grew into something quite different. Now, I’m working on my second and third books, simultaneously. Even though they sometimes give me grief (or drive me to drink at 2:00 in the afternoon), I’ve never stopped loving them.

My name is Veronica, and I’m addicted to books. This is my story. What’s yours?


*There’s actually an amusing anecdote about a Christmas gag gift for one of my husband’s friends that goes along with this. Back in high school, they’d caught him reading a book called “Christmas at His Command.” I googled the title and showed it to this lady, and her eyes lit up. “I have three of these,” she exclaimed. Classic bookophile, I thought.