Yeah, you read the title right. I owe it all to a woman named Stella.
Let's go back to 1981 when Ella Jade was only eight years old. What was she doing on a typical Friday night? She was camped out on her grandparent's family room floor watching Dallas and Falcon Crest. Her parents worked in the restaurant industry, and so she and her brother spent the weekends with her grandparents. They didn't have multiple TV's in every room, no Nickelodeon or Disney Channel and definitely not a DVR to be found. They didn't have VCR's yet! And, let's not even talk about the lack of internet access or Xbox. So, while her brother played legos, she watched soap operas.
It became our Friday night ritual for many years. I couldn't wait for the weekend. I was always so consumed with what J.R. Ewing was going to do next. How was he going to out smart poor Cliff Barnes? Oh, and I'll NEVER forget that sexy and conniving Richard Channing. Is it any wonder why I have an obsession with older men? And, my son's name is Cole (a character from Falcon Crest). Now, of course it took me many years to "mature" with the shows adult themes. In the beginning, I had no idea what was going on. I just knew it was something I shared with my grandmother. It's a time in my life I always look back on with such warm and happy feelings. That was our Friday night line-up until I graduated high school in 1991 and both shows ended their run.
It wasn't just a weekend thing either. As I got older, I would watch Dynasty on Wednesdays and we'd discuss it when I got to her house. I spent entire summers with her and we'd indulge in Young and the Restless and General Hospital. Even though I don't watch them anymore, Sonny Corrinthos will always hold a special place in my heart. We'd spend rainy or snowy Saturday afternoons watching American Movie Classics...Greta Garbo, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson and Grace Kelly fueled the romantic in me. Put that together with all the soaps I was watching and a writer was born. I learned how to spot the drama and the angst and figured out how to balance that with the right amount of love and the HEA. And, the cliffhanger! My favorite story element. Throw in the sex and you've got Ella Jade...Erotic Fiction Author.
Today, Stella is 82. She now sits in my family room and watches her soaps (or "stories" as she likes to call them) while I feverishly type in the dining room or kitchen. Occasionally, in between her naps, she'll call to me, "Are you writing another one of those dirty books?"
Yes, Gran, I am and I owe it all to you.