My Love of Writing by Zoe Archer + Giveaway

Filed in 1000 follower celebration , Giveaways , Guest Post , The Latin Lover , Zoe Archer Posted on October 15, 2011 @ 6:18 am 50 comments
Today we are very happy to welcome back to BLI and have her join our big celebration party Zoe Archer, the author of many fantastic and diverse romance novels. Zoe wrote the Blades of the Rose historical adventure romance series, Collision a sci-fi romance and her new upcoming release Hellraiser will be a paranormal romance! It seems Zoe is keen on trying out all different subgenres of romance as she has so many stories to tell. But we readers can only rejoice at that! 🙂 Please give a warm welcome to Zoe, who will share with us how she came to fall in love with reading and writing romance stories.
My mom taught me how to read when I was four. She’d been a preschool teacher, and an avid reader, so it made sense that she would be the person who first opened the doors that led to the expansive kingdom of reading. The first book I ever read on my own was Grasshopper On the Road by Arthur Lobel. I remember my mom putting me on the phone with my grandmother and me reading to her. It was a happy day.

As soon as I learned how to write, I began writing my own stories. Most of them didn’t make much sense, or had serious gaps of logic. In one story, a mystery entitled The Road to Durango, a friend and I discover a body by the side of the road. Naturally, we put the body in the trunk of our car and drive on. I think we may have stopped for lunch, too.

Logical gaps aside, my parents knew that I was serious about my writing. My mom would help critique my work, and was candid when she felt that something wasn’t my best. But she was always proud of my work, and saved everything. I don’t think I would have ever entertained thoughts about being a professional writer if it hadn’t been for my mom passing along her love of reading.

In the 9th grade, when I was about 14, my friend Adrienne introduced me to romance novels. Her mom read them and then gave them to Adrienne, who then loaned them to me. I became hooked right away. I used to read them under my desk in class. I’d stay up far into the night, reading, until my head spun with eyestrain. She and I would lay on the floor of her bedroom and just read all day, with periodic breaks to make Pillsbury Sweet Rolls for lunch. We’d read Jude Deveraux, Judith McNaught, Johanna Lindsay, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Julie Garwood, Iris Johansen, Dorothy Garlock, LaVyrle Spencer, Nora Roberts, Karen Robards… Back then, there was a huge variety of settings and time periods, so I could be in Viking England or Imperial Russia or the American Frontier. I loved these stories of adventure, of passion, of things that as a teenager in suburban Los Angeles I hadn’t ever experienced.

It didn’t take long after I first started reading romance novels that I wanted to write them, too. Adrienne and I talked about collaborating on them, but I was the one who spent my weekends writing on a computer that would probably now be considered an antique, using the WordStar program, and slowly, laboriously separating the perforations from the dot-matrix printed pages. I don’t know what happened to those early manuscripts—and I don’t think I want to know. It’s probably painfully evident that they were written by a 15-year-old girl.

Fast forward many, many years to me in graduate school, getting an MFA in Fiction. I would sneak romance novels in between my “serious” reading, and told only one other student at my program about my love of romance novels. When I’d come home for summer break, I didn’t work on The Great American Novel. I holed up in my room and wrote a historical romance novel. I went back for the next semester and didn’t talk about romance with anyone. I most assuredly didn’t submit that novel as my thesis. But after I received my degree, I got a day job, finished the romance, and, after a long, long process, found an agent.

I’ve recounted my publishing history elsewhere, so I won’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say, the road to publication hasn’t been easy. There were lots of times I thought about just giving up and trying something else. But I couldn’t.
My home is filled with bookshelves custom made by my husband. There are books in every room. I’m a reader. And because of that, I’m a writer.
Now! Here comes the fun part! Who were some of the first romance authors you ever read? What were the stories and settings that grabbed you and never let you go? I’ll pick one commenter to win a copy of my December historical paranormal release, DEVIL’S KISS!

You can find out more about Zoe and her novels on her website, Facebook or Twitter.


Zoe is offering a copy of her upcoming historical paranormal release Devil’s Kiss to a lucky commenter!

You’re also getting an extra entry for the main giveaway if you entered our Big 1000 Followers Giveaway here.

All you have to do is answer Zoe’s question or leave a comment about her post.
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)
Please leave us a way to contact you.
(Email or twitter name – no way to contact you – no entry).
This giveaway is open worldwide! (anywhere the Book Depository ships to)
Giveaway ends on 22 October and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Good luck!

About Susi

Susi is a geeky vegetarian from Gemany. She just finished university and now works as a civil engineer in steel construction. Besides her reading addiction she also knits like a maniac while listening to audiobooks. Susi also blogs at the Secret HEA Society.

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  • Camille October 15, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Hi Zoe!!

    it's wonderful how you remember the first book you ever read on your own and how you knew what you wanted to do at such a young age- I envy that drive and passion 😀

    keep up the wonderful work!!

    as for answering the question:

    I would say my introduction to romance was a gradual thing, from reading fantasy which more often than not has romantic elements but I guess I did grow up on fairytales being told to my sister and I by my grandad (still don't know if he made them up or if they're in a book somewhere…)

    but pinpointing it well I guess Anne Rice was where I got started and I don't know what lead me to her but Nicole Jordan's Passion would be my first official romance book (or is it Charlaine Harris? because I was already reading her at that point lol see? confusing!)

    My favorite romantic trope is the hero falling for 'the other sister' or the 'quiet friend' or love hate and oh man, can't choose XD I just LOVE this genre and everything in between. But then it's a genre that is a part of everything in fiction so…;D

    midnite dot fantasy at gmail dot com

  • IdentitySeeker October 15, 2011 at 7:32 am

    My first romance author was Sandra Brown and I continue to love her as my favourite romance author of all time. My other favourite authors are: Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Hill, Catherine Anderson, Christina Dodd, Linda Howard, Diana Palmer, Mary Balogh, Nisha Minhas, Cecelia Ahern and Sharon Sala writing as Dinah McCall. I'm a big fan of the romance genre.

    I read both contemporary and historical ,but I find that I particularly enjoy the Irish and Scottish settings (be they contemporary or historical) and I love regency era romances.

    Thanks for the giveaway:)


  • Natasha October 15, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Hrmm.. Although Laurell K Hamilton isn't a romance author, her novels have a ton in it. Her novels were one of the first romance(y) novels I started reading. Anne Rice was a favorite of mine as well. She's a classic. Besides those I read a bunch of Keri Arthur. 😀


  • Sharon October 15, 2011 at 8:03 am

    my first was Laurel K. Hamilton which lead me to Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris. I was a paranormal junkie!

    Thanks for sharing

  • Ren October 15, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh, yay, so want to read Devil's Kiss, LOL!

    I and romance novels have a hate relationship for the first. I love to read, but from elementary until high school I used to read manga (Japanese comic) and pure fantasy novel. I always despised romance, which I think as sappy genre. But, when I go to college, my friend lend me her Linda Howard's book. I remember the title is White Lies. And well, I'm hooked! And ashamed with my self, why I hate this wonderful genre. Romance not just about love, but about relationship too. White Lies, beside romance aspect, full of suspense and action aspect, that make me can't stop reading. After that, I begin reading so many romance novels, and from any genre. I don't want to be picky anymore My love of romance novels teach me that romance can be a great read. And because romance too, I learn to read English book and writing in English, things that maybe 2-3 years ago I'm so afraid and unsure to do it =D

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Ms Archer!

    And +1 to enter the 1000 follower giveaway =)

    sawamura_foxman AT yahoo DOT com

  • Romance Girl October 15, 2011 at 9:11 am

    At my age, it seems too far away to remember when or who. I would probably say the first romances were by Nora Roberts and I have been reading her ever since. I even go so far as to order her books from her husband's bookstore so I can get them autographed. I even stay at her inn that is decorated according to literary themes for my birthday wekend. About 8 or 9 years ago, a friend hooked me on Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I absolutely love them. Diana makes things come so alive you can actually believe in time travel, love and romance. I fell so in love with her books and Scotland that my husband took me to Scotland for two weeks for our 15 year wedding anniversary. I won't bore you any longer. I read so many romance authors these days that I love too many to count. There are so many wonderful authors that I hate to miss any of them. Thanks for sharing Zoe. Even though I have no desire to be an author, it is such fun to find authors who started on their reading journeys so young also.

  • Victoria October 15, 2011 at 9:24 am

    My first romance author was Valerie Sherwood. It was a series of books about a girl who becomes a buccaneer's lady. I loved the settings. Often in Tortuga and North Carolina.
    Thanks for the wonderful post and fantastic giveaway.


  • Jet October 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

    My first adult romance read was probably I think Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. I still love to read that series. Planning on doing a re-read of the whole series soon.

    +1 entered the 1000 follower giveaway


  • Michelle Bledsoe October 15, 2011 at 9:37 am

    I think it was either Diana Palmer,Kay Robbins, or Nora Roberts that was my first romance book that I read. I was 12 or 13 at the time and my grandmother was reading a book and let me borrow it when she was finished. I fell in love with romances and have been reading them ever since(OMG, over 25 years now..LOL)
    +1 main giveaway

    koonie2888 at yahoo dot com

  • Margay October 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Jude Devereux was the first author I read that I just had to read everything she wrote. I absolutely adored her medieval tales of the Montgomery brothers.


  • Mary October 15, 2011 at 9:50 am

    The very first Romance book I read was once in Paris by Diana Palmer…and I still have that book as well as about 30 of her other books. I really fell in love with her books.

    Then I read some Sandra brown and Nora Roberts and I kept their books too. I just loved the storylines, and the settlings in places like Scottish castles or on the beach or on farms with cowboys. You just never know what you are going to get with romance.

  • LadyVampire2u October 15, 2011 at 9:58 am

    You know, when I was young I went for fantasy books after the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys phase. And one day I picked up a book I thought was a fantasy book. It was a book called Warrior's Song by Catherine Coulter. I had gotten the book at a train stop and when I discovered it was a romance book, I was not happy…at first. But by the time my train stop came, I wasn't able to pry my eyes off the pages. I was good and hooked. That turned out to be my first romance book. I read a lot of historical romance authors at first like julie Garwood and Amanda Quick, a few contemporary romances. And when I tried paranormal books later..well paranormal romance became my favorite genre. Laurell K Hamilton launched me into the genre. I quickly found Kim Harrison, Marjorie M Liu, Sherrilyn Kenyon, etc. Since then I have branched out so much that I have too many favorite authors and series I enjoy to really count them all.
    +1 Entered the 1000 Followers Contest

    LadyVampire2u AT gmail DOT com

  • Jason October 15, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Great interview! I don't read much romance, dose erotica count? The closest I come is the Claiming of Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice (I forget her pen name).


    jason {at} jasonkivela {dot} com

  • Vivienne Westlake October 15, 2011 at 11:03 am

    The first Romance novel I ever read was Only His by Elizabeth Lowell. I got it in a thrift store and the cover was stripped. But, I loved that book!

    My first real loves were Elizabeth Lowell and Amanda Quick, though I did read a lot of different authors when I started because a friend of my mother's inherited a huge box of romances that she didn't know what to do with, so she gave them to me and I was hooked!

  • Vivienne Westlake October 15, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Forgot to put my twitter name: @VivWestlake

  • Yto October 15, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    my first romance book was diana gabaldon's highland series. i know that the first 100 pages of the first book were kinda boring to me, but then it just swept me away (well the story finally started for me with the girl landing in the past).
    from then on it was really great. i loved the whole time changing thing and the setting of that century was really well described. and i loved the characters.

    witchvela at web dot de

  • Anna Carrasco Bowling October 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    I got dropped right in the deep end of romance reading at a young age -eleven. I filched my mother's copy of The Kadin by Bertrice Small, and oh my. I knew right then and there that I'd found the genre I wanted to read and write for the rest of my life.

    Unzadi at aol dot com

  • IreneRJ October 15, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I read my first romance books when I got bored one winter in the early 1970's and discovered my mum's stash of Mills and Boon books. Just a few smouldering looks and very few kisses in those far off days! I don't think anyone even took their shoes off never mind anything else :)I devoured dozens that winter!

  • Karen C October 15, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    I don't really remember who my first romance author/book was, but it could very well have been Nora Roberts – I do have one book case devoted to just her books!

    Thanks for perserving! Devil's Kiss sounds good – great cover, too!


  • Na October 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I had read a few category romance but my first memorable romance was by Brenda Joyce. Ever since I've been hooked on all sub-genres of romance.

    I entered the Big 1000 followers giveaway.

    Cambonified [at] yahoo [dot] com

  • LSUReader October 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    The first romance I ever read was Gone With the Wind, decades ago. But I didn’t start reading romance regularly until about 7-10 years ago and that was when I added romantic suspense books to my steady stream of mysteries and thrillers. The first romantic suspense authors I read were Linda Howard, Kay Hopper, Nora Roberts and Tami Hoag. I still read them all. Several years ago, I broadened my romance repertoire to include contemps, PNR/UF and historical. Thanks for visiting today, Zoe. I loved your Blades of the Rose series.

  • Sullivan McPig October 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    First romances I read were really innocent romances where only at the end there was a chaste kiss and a marriage to come. Then when I was 13 my grandmother started lending her books to me. The first was a book by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I think the first one was Wolf and the Dove, but it could have been A Rose in Winter as well.

    I was hooked from the start and always listened my grandmothers recommendations. I also never looked at her the same way again after that 😉

  • ClaudiaGC October 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    My first romance book was Shanna by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss when I was a teenager. I know how boring. 🙂 I found it on my mom's nightstand and have to admit was kind of intrigued by the cover (half-naked woman). And I loved the book! I read it hundreds of times. As soon as I had it finished I started it again. lol After that I bought more books by Woodiwiss and discovered more historical authors like Kat Martin and Stephanie Laurens. I was grabbed by all the emotions and feelings that were described.

    claudigc at msn dot com

  • Blodeuedd October 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    I can't really remember, I mean I know the book but in English, nope. It was a Harlequin, a woman who became the lover of a sheikh and I was lost in the whole desert drama and never looked back. I devoured those harlequins for years


  • Chelsea B. October 15, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I'm *pretty* sure Susan Elizabeth Phillips was my first. I just remember being like wow, books can be this good? And I never looked back 🙂



  • Chelsea B. October 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    WTF? How did that P.S. get in there? LOL! Sorry!

  • Jen B. October 15, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    I have only been reading romance novels for 3 years. I know, a late bloomer! My first romance novel was Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Holy cow, I laughed and I had to read more. Since then I have plowed through a few hundred books but I will love the first few books in the Dark Hunter series. Thanks for the giveaway! Zoe Archer – Yippee!
    +1 1000 follower post

  • Denise Z October 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Years ago I believe I started with Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwis, Joanna Lindsey, and Jude Devereux (apologize for any misspellings) and still on occasion revisit their work or dive into a new release. Thank you for sharing today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.


  • Barbara E. October 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    The first romance author I ever read was Georgette Heyer, and I used to read a lot of Barbara Cartland's romances too. I then started finding the early paranormal type romances, which led to the awesome paranormals we have now.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  • marybelle October 16, 2011 at 2:16 am

    Too far back to remember the first, but I think the ones I remember best are the classics.


  • Aurian October 16, 2011 at 6:52 am

    My first romance novel was written by a Dutch author, Leni Saris, as my mother owned two of her books. But after that I soon discovered historical romance novels by Jude Deveraux, Bertrice Small, Johanna Lindsey. I still own and collect them. I am nothing if not a loyal fan.
    I've also started reading at a young age, and never stopped. But I have never had the drive to become an author myself. But I am happy that so many wonder ful authors did.

    auriansbooks at gmail dot com
    + 1000 followers give away

  • miki October 16, 2011 at 7:26 am


    honestly i can't remember my first romance book…only it was a harlequin book in french) and about pirates^^;; i was really young soit didn't mark me as really important at that time- i much prefered fiction- now it's different

    thanks for the giveaway

    +1 1000 followers giveaway

  • Anna October 16, 2011 at 11:40 am

    My first romance authors were Jo Goodman, Carol Finch, Joanna Lindsey, Jude Deveraux, Iris Johansen, Catherine Hart, and Julie Garwood, among many other. I still have some of them.

    I can't remember the entire stories but there were scenes that never let me go. Like, when a heroine in Julie Garwood's book warmed the hero's feet, or when the devastation of Great Quake in San Francisco hit and the hero thought the fires had killed his wife in a Catherine Hart book. There's another about a sexually abused hero, which was a first and very unusual for the time, who found love.


  • Julie October 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Some of the first romance authors I fell for are Nora Roberts and Jude Devereaux! They wrote wonderful romances, but I would be hard pressed today to mention the titles I read. Not so with Diana Gabaldon! When I read Outlander, I was hooked! Give me some good Scotsmen in quilts, set in historic times, and I was in love! I still love a good historical romance, especially when there are Highlanders involved:)
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  • mbreakfield October 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I used to read a lot of harlequin series books. As far as bigger books, two of the authors that I read were joanna Lindsey and Kathleen Woodweiss.

  • wrenandre October 16, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    I started at age 11 or 12 sneaking into my Aunt's attic where she hid her romance books. Victoria Holt (wow – this dates me!)is the 1st author I can remember. I loved all of the dark gothic romances – the mystery of whether he hated her or loved her – was he an evil man – was the house haunted by an evil spirit – all of those things! I also got hooked on the old horror romance comics around the same time.

    I would love to be able to find any of these old books now – and relive that time!

  • erin October 16, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the fun post and giveaway!

    I remember being in junior high and sneaking my grandmother's copies of Laverne Spencer (sp?) and sitting in a corner reading those. I'd also spend hours in the public library reading clan of the cave bear/horses… something… (?) and being scandalized by the sex scenes 😉

    + 1 entered main giveaway


  • Scorpio1974 October 16, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I'm not sure if I'd call it a romance series, maybe paranormal romance I guess, but the series that gripped me best and hasn't let me go yet is Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake series. I just love it and I'm kinda a lot like Anita other than the guns and vampires and were-animals in my life. LOL! =)
    Awesome giveaway!! =) Thanks for the chance to enter!

    Valerie Long (Scorpio1974 on GFC)
    Jewelry Creations by V.S. Long –

  • Katie October 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Nalini Singh was one of my first and I still read her, she is one of my favorite authors
    thanks for the giveaway!

  • Tore October 16, 2011 at 6:51 pm

    I like Penny Jordan. I like settings where the heroine is in trouble or being stalked by someone and the hero is protecting them. Please enter me in contest.

  • Carolyn Crane October 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    Not entering, Zoe, but what fun to read this!

  • Anne R October 16, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I remember finding my mother's Jackie Collins novels and reading them (of course, while hiding from my mother).

    Thanks for the giveaway.
    areeths at new dot rr dot com

  • Marissa October 17, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Jude Deveraux was my first real romance author. Someone gave me "A Knight in Shining Armor" and told me I just had to read it. I did, then I just had to read the rest of her books – and on, and on, and on. I've been happily reading ever since!

  • Vojalyn October 17, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    One of the first romance authors who I read from was J.R.Ward. After the Twilight craze I decided I have to read something new and I choose a vampire story from the adult category. And it was awesome! I've always had something for the paranormal things and stories as I was so in love with the first Black Dagger Brotherhood book when the vampires and supernatural world were mixed with romance and passion. I couldn't get enough of it! 🙂
    And since then, my favorite genres are the paranormal romances and the urban fantasies 🙂

  • Sabrina October 17, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    I am very new to the romance genre. I attribute my introduction to the genre from reading the Fever series by Karen Moning and absolutely loving it. I liked it so much I started to dig into her Highlander series and that was my gateway into the genre.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    ssosborn at gmail dot com

  • IdentitySeeker October 18, 2011 at 3:34 am

    In my previous entry, I forgot to add +1 for entering the grand giveaway.

    Sorry about that!


  • Bookwyrm369 October 18, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I remember "borrowing" my aunt's early Kay Hoopers and Iris Johansen's (loved those covers!) and getting swept away in historical romances 🙂

    smaccall AT

  • JessS October 19, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I can't really remember. I remember at first I'd just look through at the library, usually ending up with some not so good books, and I did like Linda Howard. Umm, one of the first romance series that I really liked is the Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter, and I've sort of always enjoyed things with a mix of romance and something else like paranormal or action. Thanks!


  • gconoy October 22, 2011 at 6:56 am

    Ok – now that would be Hedwig COurths-Mahler. My grandma had all those books by her and lets face it – she wrote A LOT and I read them all. Hilarious, but oh so entertaining.

    hrududu At hotmail DE

  • Spav October 22, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I don't quite remmeber if the first romance author I read was Linda Howard or Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
    They both keep being my favourite contemporaty romance authors.


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