I have always loved books. I don’t actually know when it began, but I do remember my mom taking me to the library in Alabama. The kids’ room was a long room and the librarian sat at a desk near the door. My mom would drop me off while she ran errands. Not that I’m that old, but you could do that in those days in my small town in Alabama. I would lovingly look at all of the books for my grade level and then I’d look at the shelves of the older kids’ books. I couldn’t wait until I got old enough to read big kids’ books.

Money was tight when I was growing up.  Whenever we’d go to the stores, my mom would say, “Deborah, we’re not buying you a book today!” If we were at the mall and passed by the bookstore, I’d drag my feet while longingly walking past the window.

Do you remember the Scholastic Books fliers you’d get at school? I loved when we got those! My mom would let me select 2 books. I’d circle several then agonizingly select my limit of two. It was a great day when my teacher would come in with the box of our shipment! She’d reach into the box and give everyone their order. I actually still have several of those Scholastic Books.

Every summer, I participated in the reading challenge, faithfully completing my reading log. One summer, I went to Los Angeles to stay with my aunt, uncle and cousins. Their library in Pacific Palisades had a summer reading challenge, too, but they gave you a choice of a free book if you completed your reading log. Wow, we were so cheated in Alabama!  My cousin, Lisette, said that she remembers me always reading that summer.

When I became a teenager, a used bookshop opened. I loved to go there almost every Saturday. I’d bring in my used books and use the credit to buy more. That’s when I really got into romance books. The lady who worked there would recommend romance books to me.  I went back years later, after I’d left Alabama, and that lady still remembered me!

During some of the worst times in my life, books have been such a comfort. Anything I wanted to know could usually be found in a book. I’ve always loved the idea that I could open a book and be transported to another world, another life, another era, anything. I’ve always thought that books give you wings.

         I’ve never understood people who don’t like books. I usually quip, “That’s because you haven’t found the right book.”

         I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to work in the book industry as a manager & buyer for an independent bookstore during college and as a bookseller at various times in my life.

         In 2008, I went to my first Romance Book Conference. I didn’t know anyone when I went. It was just a bucket list thing I’d always wanted to do. Through attending book conferences over the years, I’ve made lots of friends with authors. How cool is that? I’ve also gotten tons of books through those conferences and as a bookseller.

         Today, I have one room in my house that I’ve made into my library. IKEA has the best deal on bookcases, by the way. The bookcases go completely around the room. Sometimes, when I look at all of the books, I’ve amassed, I can still hear my mom say, “Deborah, we’re not buying you books today!” and I feel blessed.

         After all of those years, I’m finally in my happy place surrounded by books!

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