A Romance Author's Gift of Reading
Posted by Jillian Neal on December 14, 2017 in categoryStories from the Field

Romance novel writer Jillian Neal holds adult literacy near and dear to her heart. Here is her story.

Some of my fondest childhood memories happened in our local library. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still feel the cool metal interior steps that led up to children’s section under the rubber soles of my tennis shoes and the smell of the books stacked on shelves higher than I could see. I was fairly certain then, as I am now, that heaven was going to be much like the library.

It wasn’t until I was in my 30s that I turned my love for words into a writing career. I still can’t quite believe it took me so long to understand that my heart would always be found between the covers of novels.

When I found out I was pregnant with our first child, my husband and I took turns reading our favorite children’s books to my belly. We continued to read to him after he was born. But by the time he reached kindergarten, he was still struggling to recognize letters or to speak correctly. He was held back. The next year showed no improvements. Finally, testing was done and we were told he had a severe form of dyslexia and would always struggle to read. It was then that we learned the staggering statistics of low adult literacy and how profoundly reading affects our lives. 

Fast forward many years, and my dyslexic child is a sophomore in high school and English literature is his favorite subject. We sought help for him to make certain he learned to read proficiently, but not everyone has that opportunity. 

The books I write are of the sexier variety, as I firmly believe the power of love will always win. When a hero came to me who was illiterate, I knew I wanted to do more than simply tell his story—I wanted to give back with his story. It was then that I partnered with ProLiteracy for the book Gypsy Hope. 

I’m so thrilled to be working with ProLiteracy again this year for my upcoming release, Wayward Son. If you are a fan and a lover of love (of the very sexy variety), you can preorder your copy today. A portion of all preorder proceeds will be given to ProLiteracy to help give the gift of reading to everyone.

I want everyone to have the opportunities we were able to give my son, and the opportunities ProLiteracy provides for so many around the world. I cannot think of a better gift to give this holiday season than that.


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