Sometimes in writing a biography, the most important things get left out, like what were your favorite childhood memories and how did you come to writing as a profession? I’ll tell you one thing right off because it led to writing romance as a profession–in second grade I fell madly in love with a Native American boy and I can still feel the buzz of that first crush. I was so jealous of my best friend Marilyn, because once-upon-a-time he tied up her braids on the pull-up bars and I was sure he’d given his heart to her in that moment.
I spent several years of my childhood in a redwood logging town in northern California. What a life that was tucked away in the coastal mountains north of beautiful Santa Rosa–barbecues at the beach, summers at Twin Bridges where the log jams had formed a perfect swimming hole, spending our quarters at Hollow Tree Store. What a bouquet that store had. You know that smell. The one of old wood floors, motor oil and fresh bread all jammed together?
But the bonfires were the best, when you could set your prunings into a mountain-high blaze and all the kids were allowed to play with fire. How I loved playing with fire, all the universe burning down into one group of confiscated coals completely under my command.
After those glorious years, life took our family all over California…many, many school changes that later on prompted me to put down some serious roots. Eventually, I came to live in Arizona with my husband and two children.
I found my way to writing through a love of reading. At fourteen, I read Gone With the Wind while lying down in the back of my parents’ station wagon as we drove to Mexico, got burnt to a crisp, then returned home. My parents both loved to read. They’re gone now. Cancer got them both but what a legacy they left me. Each always had “a stack of books going”, which they kept on respective nightstands. My mother rarely read female authors. Funny that I turned out to be what she didn’t read but she loved my books anyway. My dad read my romances dutifully and gave me a typical compliment once: “I don’t like romance, but you handle suspense well.”
I wrote most of my romances for Kensington Publishing over the course of eighteen years. One of my editors–who still works at Kensington–called us a pair of War Horses once. I guess we were. I adored my Kensington editors. They left me alone to write and I worked hard to keep their workload down. That’s a writer’s job.
My children are grown now and my life and time belong to me…except that writing commands me now, almost exclusively. What began as a vocation with promise has become a true passion. I have come to love the English language, to savor the feel of the words in my mouth when I speak my writing aloud. I treasure the stories I create. Don’t doubt for a second, reader, that you are ever far from my mind…
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WICKED AND WONDERFUL
Valerie King has published over fifty Regency novels and novellas, primarily with Kensington Publishing Corp. and in 2005 Romantic Times honored her with a Career Achievement award in Regency Romance. Currently, she’s working on a Regency Historical, Sweet Regency novellas, and self-publishing her extensive backlist. She also writes paranormal and contemporary romance as Caris Roane.