Gateway Romance: Ainslie Paton

The romance in my reading life is of the twisted type. There was no HEA in my house. There was a good deal of misappropriation.

There was no certainly Mills & Boon. I went from Black Beauty to what I could sneak off my mum’s shelf, all age inappropriate sexy stories: Jackie Collins, Taylor Caldwell, Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Judith Krantz, Susan Howatch and Colleen McCullough.

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They were read under cover by torch and snuck back into place. She’d have been horrified. Shhh, because she could still hurt me over that.

People did dreadful things to other people in those novels. They cheated, slept around, stole things, plotted and connived, wrecked their families and died, sometimes in vaguely historically accurate ways. They didn’t fall in love and stay that way.

I gobbled them up.

Later, Mum got into crime and murder mysteries and I got a library card and spent everything I earned from part time jobs on books. None of them were traditional romances. I didn’t know there was such a thing, and the Austen and friend’s classics were just hard work I associated with school, not reading for pleasure.

I stole a copy of Gone With the Wind from a holiday house one summer. It rained the entire week we were away and I’d run out of books from my own stash. It would have to do. I’d just read through James Clavell: Tai-pan, Shogun and Noble House.

Gone with the Wind

I was very bored and it was very wet and there was no bookstore in town. Gone With The Wind would have to do.

Hooked.

Controversial I know. Not the part where I stole the book from the holiday house, where someone else had obviously abandoned it, but for the whole is it a romance if it doesn’t have an HEA question.

Bookthingo is now shouting at her screen and will likely never read another of my books again.

Scarlett and Rhett crash and burn, but I fell for the sweeping, epic nature of the story, the heroine’s perspective and the kissing bits that were more of a conversation than an act of masculine power.

GWTW was a far more feminine read than the Clavells, Micheners, Irvings and Uris’ that were in my TBR. In that way it was a subversive read like the first Jackie Collins had been an eye-opening wild ride for a twelve year old. It stuck with me. It didn’t necessarily change my reading habits, but it made me want to create my own romances.

Took a while before I tried, but somewhere between GWTW, a long list of literary fiction with unsatisfactory conclusions, and my first novel, I learned to appreciate the value of a happy ending, because what a way to go.


Ainslie Paton might write twisty romances, but it’s not her fault, it’s the way she was brought up. Luckily, despite a host of bad influences and running with the wrong literary library crowd, she saw sense and all of her novels are HEA assured. Her latest release features a voice artist and a sound engineer. 

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Love can be a great healer, except when it hurts…

As voice actor royalty, Damon Donovan is trouble.  He’s professionally intimidating.  He’s confident. He’s charming, funny and genuinely talented. And he triggers the nurturing instincts newly separated Georgia Fairweather has sworn to ignore.

Damon Donovan is used to three types of women: those who fawn, those who mother and those who want to fix him. So a reticent, prickly engineer he can neither awe nor charm triggers his interest.

A recording engineer and a voice actor should be a match to sing about, but the thrilling rhythm they create is soon drowned out by static. Georgia doesn’t know who she is, and Damon doesn’t know who he’ll become.

Can a man facing his insecurities and a woman afraid of her own instincts harmonise, or are they destined to sound good in theory, but be out of sync in life and love?

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4 thoughts on “Gateway Romance: Ainslie Paton

  1. I classify GWTH as Romance because the book has a central love story with an ending that I find optimistic and emotionally satisfying, which is how the RWA classifies a romance. Come on “I’l get him back? Tomorrow *is* another day”? Totally optimistic and emotionally satisfying and true to Scarlett’s character. Fightin’ words?

    Michener? Uris? Clavell? All that’s missing is Pasternak and Leonard. Did we read from the same book shelves?

  2. Where do I begin? 😀 The conversation around romance within genre and outside of it. GWTW isn’t in the romance genre, but it does hearken to romantic fiction. So I guess if we’re going to let the literary folks define the genre, that’s where it belongs. But it has no HEA so I can’t bring myself to consider it in any way romantic. FWIW I loved reading GWTW as a teen until I got to the last page. I literally threw it against the wall. I even read the sequel, but by then, it was too little too late.

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