Jann Ryan—and happily ever after

Jann Audiss

I love reading romance novels—what more can I say? Born and raised in Orange County, California, I grew up with the smell of orange blossoms as I played outside around my home. I have to admit, I was never a bookworm. Instead of reading, I would use my imagination to create stories where I was the heroine, and the hero was from a current TV show. My friends and I would play out different scenarios, build forts in the grassy fields, climb trees and turn them into castles. My dad had a couple of wooden sawhorses that we pretended were real; I named mine Trigger, and I’d ride off into the sunset.

As life went by, my interests were those of a typical teenager. The only time you would find me reading a book was for school. I did read The Winds of War by Herman Wouk in my early twenties. I enjoyed the novel (it took forever to get to the end), but it didn’t drive me out to a book store to buy another to read. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-thirties and I stayed the weekend at my mother’s home. It was summer and the temperature was well over a hundred by noon, and we were all sequestered in the house. My son was down for a nap, and for a change I had some free time. I found a basket of paperbacks, mostly westerns, as my mom loved Larry McMurtry novels. I dug around and pulled out one that had an interesting cover—a romance. What? My mom read romance novels! I had nothing but time to waste, so I settled in on the sofa and turned to the first page. AND MY LIFE HAS NEVER BEEN THE SAME!

I took every romance she had in the basket home with me. When I finished one, I grabbed another. When I finished them all, I went to the small local bookstore in the nearby shopping mall and a whole new world opened to me. Me, the woman who didn’t like to read. There were shelves full of romance novels. I had no idea there would be so many to choose from. Historicals were my favorite from authors such as Julie Garwood, Amanda Quick, Valerie Sherwood and a host of others. Eventually I worked my way into the world of romantic suspense when I found out Amanda Quick was also Jayne Ann Krentz and Jayne Castle. It was nothing to read into the wee hours of the morning, sometimes finishing two or more novels per week.

The novels I read gave me so much enjoyment that I wondered if I could do the same for readers. First I purchased a few “how to books” about writing. But it didn’t take me long to realize that wasn’t enough. A friend, who also had a love for romance and a desire to write novels, found a local adult education novel writing class taught by Maralys Wills, and the local Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America®. As much as I loved historicals, I recognized that I had a contemporary voice and a love for writing romantic suspense, emphasis on the happily-ever-after ending.

It has been a wild and bumpy ride, filled with ups and downs. Sometimes I had to put my writing on hold. Currently, I’m working on a romantic suspense set in Stellar Bay, a fictitious town on the California central coast. I plan to blog as I go, so I hope you follow along.

2 thoughts on “Jann Ryan—and happily ever after

  1. I think writers must be born with this “creative gene” because it shows up so clearly in our childhood. I, too, would play out stories we created, often inspired by what we’d seen in a movie. Sometimes we’d use our paperdolls and other times we’d dress up in old clothes. Can’t wait to read your stories, Jann!

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