In the Beginning

ACFWAdvice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, memories, tips Leave a Comment

by Tina Radcliffe

In the beginning, there was the Smith and Corona.

That was my beginning. I started out on a portable that I toted to a shady spot under a tree in my backyard. At fourteen, I was thrilled to be able to chronicle my love of romance on the typewritten page.

My real love of romance began when I stumbled upon books like: Beanie Malone by Lenora Mattingly Weber, and Sue Barton, Visiting Nurse, by H.D. Boylston, at my local library. But I truly knew my calling was to write romance after reading Rosamund Du Jardin’s books. Her Marcy Rhodes collection included Wait for Marcy, Marcy Catches Up, A Man for Marcy and Senior Prom. And then there was the teenage hero Brose Gilman of the Tobey Heydon series. After all these years, I still have a crush on Brose Gilman (Sigh).Wait for Marcy

As a young adult I devoured all of Emilie Loring’s books which were set in the World War II era. From there it was a short leap to Debbie Macomber’s contemporary romances.
I Take This Man

Today I am collecting the gently used editions of some of those first romance favorites. Like my typewriter, those books aren’t old, they’re simply classics.

It’s fun to think back to all those authors who turned me into a romance reader, setting the stage for romance writing.

Take a trip back to your beginnings, back to your first reads, and those breathtaking moments when you fell in love with a classic romance.

Who were your first writing buddies? Your first writing loves?

Mending the Doctor's Heart
Tina Radcliffe draws from her idea box and her many careers to write her stories. She’s done a tour of duty with the US Army, been a certified Oncology R.N., a library cataloger, and a tech at a national mail order pharmacy. She’s from Western New York and has lived in Oklahoma, Colorado and now Arizona. You can find her at or in Seekerville. Mending the Doctor’s Heart is her third Love Inspired release and it hits the shelf this month.

Comments 0

  1. Tina, what a fun walk down memory lane. I have always been a cross-genre reader. In my early years, I loved mysteries–I always wondered if Nancy Drew and Ned Nickerson would get married. Sigh. I never read of any fairytale wedding there. I liked Judy Blume and ghost stories (I can’t remember my favorite author’s name for those, sorry) I loved the Beverly Gray mysteries also.

    I read historicals (James Michener’s Centennial) in college, and as a young adult on my own, I discovered Christian fiction. Brock and Bodie Thoene’s WW2 series were among my favorites. I guess I didn’t read a lot of romances when I was younger. 😉 Loved your thoughts here today.

  2. Hi, Jeanne T!

    Funny the things we remember. I remember my mom would let me stop at the library after school one day a week and nothing was better than scouring those shelves for a new book. I hated the card catalog.

  3. Seriously… my best friend and I used to lay diagonally across her bed and read the same book at the same time. The men were all rakes and rogues. Now I’d just be happy to be able to lay on my stomach without my back hurting…

    But oh I how wish I had my Smith Corona. It was that same yucky yellowish beige that was popular with appliances in the 60s but is probably my most treasured Christmas present ever!

  4. I perched my mother’s brown electric Smith Coronoa on a TV tray at my grandma’s and made myself an office in my mother’s old room at her house. This was the week of heaven each summer for me, away from brothers and sisters and the freedom to write all I wanted to my heart’s content with no interruptions. At my parents’ house it was at the dining room table. Books that influenced me most: The Girl of the Limberlost, the Little House series, David Copperfield, Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, and Nancy Drew. I also read countless other classics but that Girl of the Limberlost stands out to me because I found a first edition in a church basement sale and was sure I’d found a priceless treasure. I read it over and over. My parents had a house bursting at the seams with books. They subscribed to those Reader’s Digest condensed books that had a miriad of titles and I read them all cover to cover. I was blessed that way!

    The book that influenced me the deepest and the most was Christy by Catherine Marshall. I think it’s because of that book I took the road to full time Christian service.

    I didn’t read much romance but I did read the Merlin and Arthur books written by Mary Stewart. I loved her. Of course, I also read all the Janette Oke and Catherine Marshall. My mother and I fought over every new title that came our way. We loved those books. After her, I got hooked on Bodie Thoene and Francine Rivers.

    Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane!

  5. Oh, Tina — EMILE LORING!!! She was an absolute FAVE of mine and one of my early mainstays (along with Margaret M., of course! 😉

    Fun blog, as always, my friend!!


  6. What memories, Tina! My first typewritten stories were on my mother’s old portable Royal. Later I got a cheap little blue typewriter that would practically fly off the table when I hit the return lever! In high school I got an electric (could have been Smith-Corona), and eventually as an adult bought an IBM Selectric.

    My first computer was a Kaypro II, with WordStar. Oh, my. And a giant, noisy daisy-wheel printer.

    Favorite early romances? Definitely anything by Phyllis Whitney! And one I remember reading as a teen was Jubilee Traill (no memory of the author’s name). Kathleen Woodiwiss was my first exposure to “grown-up” romance novels.

  7. Tina, I’m all about the Smith Corona, too. I got one for Christmas and spent the rest of Christmas break copying Alice in Wonderland so I could learn to type. LOL! My folks couldn’t figure out the obession…

    My favorite books were all about horses. Somewhere in high school I noticed the stories with some element of romance kept me glued to the pages. I still didn’t realize the correlation.

    Then, like Myra, I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss and oh be still my heart. And, like you, I then went on a quest to find her gently used novels with the covers I first read her under.

    Thanks for inviting me to relive the good ol’ days : )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *