The year was 1995. I was 19 and attending writing workshops trying to become a full time author. I hadn’t published anything yet. I think at that time I received the joyously personalized, but sad rejection letter from Silhouette for their desire line. It read something like this: While we enjoyed your story, I’m sorry but books about English riding simply don’t sell.
I was reading fantasy, drawn into the world of Valdemar about five years ago by Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Price. (Hint: read with a box of tissues.) I loved Anne McCaffrey, Elizabeth Moon, and science fiction.
And then I read Justine Davis’ The SkyPirate. Not only did it have the Topaz Man, Steve Sandalis, (never forget my mom’s reaction when I won a calendar of his at a writing organization’s raffle table.) on the cover, but it was science fiction. And Romance. Together. In the same book!
Though many authors today wouldn’t even guess, back in those days, paranormal or science fiction romance was considered the “red headed step child” of the romance world. As one agent told me, the fantasy readers will be grossed out by the fact my characters kissed. The romance readers will freak because my heroine was a witch. (This was for Ghost Touch, my first published book in 2002.) So you can only imagine my excitement in the local mall’s Waldenbooks (And I am totally dating myself all over this post.) when not only did I find this book, but all the Topaz Romances. Sure, the science fiction ones were mixed in with the historical romances, but they were there. On the shelf. Someone published them.
This book changed my life and changed my perspective on being able to combine the two things I loved: great romance and science fiction/fantasy. In fact, I suspect this book led to Ghost Touch in some way. Wherever you are Justine Davis, you were my first romance author hero! Thank you!