Boy! This is a topic for me.
I have been a romance bookaholic since I was nine-years-old when my mother gave a Harlequin Romance she was reading so that I could get out of her face for awhile. I am addicted. So addicted that I carry a romance every where I go. I read at least 3 single titles per week and resale them on Amazon.com. My family laughs at me - or gets seriously irritated - when I can't seem to function with my book. Every night I read myself to sleep and if I am standing in the grocery store line, car wash line, or waiting for my meal at a restaurant, I have my trusty book along. If I misplace a book that I am reading, I have a fit. (laughing)
My daughter is NOT a reader and is quite sick of my book habit but my hobby (uh, addiction) has gone from being just a hobby to now research into the art of writing a selling romance novel. I'll be the first to admit that reading does distract me from writing. But I am working on that.
I can't even begin to list my favorite authors. The first novel that touched my soul was Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (1979). Oh my God!I still remember the story and characters of the Civil War Era novel after all these years. Cole Latimer was the perfect hero. He was complex, conflicted, gentle, sensual, at times temperamental, but with a heart of gold. Alaina MacGaren was definitely a strong heroine, able to adapt and handle every situation that was thrown at her. Her strength and determination were admirable. I enjoyed the fact that she challenged Cole during various situations and was able to outsmart him to boot. Now that I'm thinking about the story, I'm going to have to read it again. I kept the book until I graduated from high school then lost it when I went to college.
But the seed was planted for sure!
I enjoy most genre of romance novels but I love the vampire and werewolf stories, single titles as a part of a series, and romantic suspense. I've picked up some erotica - and many of my male friends think I read romance simply for the sexual content - but the erotica can be disappointing because they tend to lack character development and a truly fleshed out plot.
So, my love for books and romances started at a young age and I will always make time to read a book. Hopefully, when I'm published I can touch readers in the same way Kathleen Woodiwiss and the early writers of romance touched me and plant the seed for another book addict.