Reader, Writer, Promoter

Marilyn Grall on Her Favorite Books

Whether we like it or not, romance readers are stereotyped. Despite being well-acquainted with the image, we at Subversion have yet to meet a single reader who fits the popular image of a romance reader (okay, maybe there are a few out there who nibble on chocolate while reading …).

However, we can cite countless examples of readers who don’t fit the stereotype — we call them Subversives. Read on to learn more about our favorite Subversives.

Name: Marilyn Grall
Profession: Author/medical transcriptionist/wife and mom
Residence: Oklahoma
Age group: 46 years young

How long have you been reading romance?
For over 30 years.


What was the first romance you read and how did that trigger your interest in the genre?

The first romance is ever read was Mara, Daughter of the Nile, when I was about 12. After that, I discovered Victoria Holt and read her all through high school, then I discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss’s The Flame and The Flower in about 1984, and I was truly hooked on romance!

How many romances do you read/month?
Hmmm…that depends on so many things. I’m not a fast reader, so I’d have to say 3-4. I read both paper and electronic formats, and I enjoy them all.

Favorite books/authors?
In contemporaries, my favorite has to be Nora Roberts. I think she’s a real jewel in the genre. I most especially like her romantic suspense and J. D. Robb titles. There are many others, too, but her name comes to mind first. In historicals, I like really sexy, steamy stories, so my favorites are Bertrice Small, Susan Johnson, Thea Devine and Virgina Henley. I’ve also read every book by Georgina Gentry. I just love her Indian love stories. I’ve added some e-authors to my “must buy” list, too, including J. C. Wilder, Elizabeth Mayne, Desiree Lindsey and Marion Marshall.

Favorite storyline?
It’s not PC anymore, but I do like captivity stories with alpha males and feisty heroines. Sometimes I think my favorite books were written in the early 80s, before we all got so concerned about political correctness in romance. My second NCP title, In Search of Amanda is a captivity story, and it is truly the book of my heart, a storyline that had been running around in my head since I saw the Roots miniseries in the late 70s.

Favorite scene?
That would have to be in Elizabeth Lowell’s Untamed, when the hero cries and says something like “We have lost our heart.” That one still gets to me, and I read that book several years ago. Sigh. That was one great scene!

Other genres read?
Some mystery and medical thrillers, and, of course, research books, but mainly I read and love romance.

When do you find time to read?
Usually in the late evening, when things quiet down here at home.

What one book would you give to someone who you’re trying to get to read romance?

That’s a tough one because I’ve never tried to convert anyone. In my experience, those who don’t read romance tend to denounce it, so I just don’t have much in common with them, or time for their negative opinions. If asked, though, I’d recommend any of Nora Roberts’ single title romantic suspense books. For historicals, I’d recommend Marion Marshall’s western historical romances, in e-book format, from New Concepts. They’re wonderful love stories and so realistic you can taste the dust.

Other than reading, any other romance-related activities?

I’m a founding member of EPIC (Electronically Published Internet Connection), which has many romance writers in its memberhsip, and belong to several e-mail romance reader listservs.

Have you ever converted a non-(romance) believer?
No, and I doubt I ever will. One of the things that disturbs me about modern romance is the emerging need I see to be all things to all people. I understand they’re trying to grow the market, but I really don’t want romance to become mainstream. Romance has incredible emotional depth, happy endings, and allows vicarious enjoyment of literally any time, place or reality. Now, with electronic novels available, too, there are more wonderful books than ever to choose from. Anyone who chooses not to read romance is losing out, big time. And if they chose to believe the denouncers, I feel sorry for them. How sad it would be to not enjoy romance!

Hobbies/Other interests?

My main other interest is getting electronic novels on disk into bookstores. To that end, I’m part of a year long E-book Tour sponsored by Hastings Entertainment Superstores. We’ve done more than a dozen of these ebooksignings now, and the public response has been wonderful!