Secrets of a Romance Writer: A book that has InFluenced my Life
So let me tell you my Potter story… I’d read books 1-4 because the kids I worked with liked them and told me I should read them. I did. *shrugs* No big deal.
Fast forward about 6 months. Hubs got a new job. In the process of moving across the state and leaving my city life behind to move to the country, the kids stayed with family friends and were in a car accident. I spent two days in the Peds ICU with one of the boys. When we finally got to the new house, I was a mess. Hadn’t slept in two days and couldn’t even find my favorite clothes to wear. Boxes were everywhere. Everything was a mess. And I was alone.
I sat on the floor crying, needing something to ease the pain. I had the overwhelming urge to read, but didn’t know where my boxes were. From where I sat in the new den, with my back against the couch, I could see in the dim light (it was around one am) a box labeled ‘Boys Books.’ I crawled over and pushed off the other boxes on top. I pulled off the box lid and sitting on top was Harry. I pulled it out and started reading it. Something about it sucked me in, called to me, spoke to me in a way a book never had before…
Over the next few days, as I unpacked box after box, I would take reading breaks and catch up with Harry and his friends. The story was addictive. Jo wrote in such a way that I could see everything, almost reach out and touch it… I sped through the four books we had, and made my first online purchase, ordering Book 5. It was all I could talk about.
Driving around our new town, exploring, the kids were excited to discover a small movie theater was showing Prisoner of Azkaban. I challenged the oldest two children to read the books and then we could see the movies. For weeks they read, and we kept returning to the little library in our new town, checking out more books and the other movies.
For me, it was something to do. I was a stay at home mom. After working for so many years, once the house was settled, I was honestly a little bored. The three-year-old kept me busy while the older kids were in school, and he loved when I’d read him the stories. While he played, I would find early internet chat rooms to discuss Potter plots and theories.
The series helped keep me grounded when I was going through some depression from all the changes in my life. I was able to connect with other people and talk about the stories. My kids saw my enthusiasm for the books, and they wanted to read more. Our oldest son had the most struggles after the move and the books also helped him a lot. It was a bond we shared, and I even took him many months later when Order of the Phoenix came out to a midnight book party.
It’s often said Harry Potter is the gateway drug… It’s true. It was my first taste at fandom life, being a part of a bigger group invested in something. It was amazing. It led me to liking other ‘nerdy’ things, reaching out to others to share a mutual love and adoration. It always amazes me that words on a page could bring people together in such a way, worldwide. That’s an amazing feat!
I often think of where Jo was in her life when she started writing, and how the story fell into place… Her attention to detail still astonishes me, and when I write, I want readers to be able to see the room in much the same way Jo helped us to see Hogwarts…
Her story inspired me simply to keep going. In times of hardships and darkness in my life, I often quote from the books. But as someone who also works with children, the quote ‘What an idiot!’ also has its place.
The books will always have a place on my shelf, but most importantly in my heart. Now, not to seem dramatic, and I’m not even making this up, but I’m going to log off now, because my youngest just came in the room and said, ‘Mom, it seems like a Harry Potter day- let’s watch Goblet of Fire.”
I can’t say no to that…
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