It’s Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating women’s achievement! I thought what better way to celebrate this spectacular month than women celebrating women, specifically the romance community. So, I contacted authors and asked, who did helped pave their way to romance writing? The answers I got were spectacular! There’s something beautiful when the book community comes together and celebrates their inspirations.
Devney Perry: “Nora Roberts was a big influence on me as a reader. I started reading her books when I was a teenager and her stories kindled my passion for reading romance. That passion eventually turned into a passion for writing!”
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. Born and raised in Montana, she loves writing books set in her treasured home state. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her husband and two sons.
Emma Chase: “Authors who paved the way for me to write romance:
Emily Bronte: Every angsty, turmoil filled romance can trace its roots back to Bronte’s classic, Wuthering Heights. While other events and themes swirl around, the passion, drama, and pain of star-crossed love remains at the heart of the story. Heathcliff and Cathy paved the way for the unlikeable hero and heroine—whose happy ending the reader can’t help but still hope for.
Johanna Lindsey: For me, the Malory Series paved the way for witty banter. They were the first romance novels I’d read where verbal sparring between the hero and the heroine was quick and smart—and every bit as intoxicating as a love scene. As opposed to more heart-wrenching romances where characters wounded each other and had to make amends, the clever dialogue push and pull in Lindsey’s novels made the love story feel fun, sexy, and highly entertaining. They are still my favorite kind of romance novels to read, and write, today.”
Emma Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romantic comedies filled with heat, heart and laugh-out-loud humor. Her stories are known for their clever banter, sexy, swoon-worthy moments, and hilariously authentic male POV’s. Emma’s novels have been translated in over twenty languages around the world.
Natasha Madison: “When you think back to how the craze for romance started most people would point the finger to Danielle Steele. I mean she is the biggest romance author out there, at least to me. But then ‘back then’ romance books were only sold in book stores, second hand stores or if you were really, really, lucky you could have had a library that stocked them. To me reading took a back seat when I ‘grew’ up and by that, I mean got married and had kids. Reading wasn’t really something I did, and I loved reading. But then another Queen emerged and that is none other than E.L. James. I don’t think any of this would be possible without her. Without her ‘risky’ and ‘taboo’ book most of us wouldn’t be where we are. She paved the way for so many authors, me included. She helped bring the reading phenomenon back and it didn’t hurt that books were so accessible now. You didn’t have to leave the house to read a book you could do it from your favorite chair.
But when all is said and done the one who ‘paved the way’ for me to be doing this dream job would be the readers, the bloggers, the entire indie community. The saying ‘it takes a village’ is not far off. You can’t do this alone and having that helping hand makes the world of difference.”
Beverly Jenkins: “Sandra Kitt and Elsie Washington were among the romance writers of color who paved the way for me. I will always be grateful for their perseverance and for opening the door.”
Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured both in the documentary “Love Between the Covers” and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR.
Kylie Scott: “I’d have to start with the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. Anne and Gilbert were a pretty great couple and her friendship with Dianna Barry and relationships with Matthew and Marilla were so warm and inspiring. There were a lot of cool movies and mini-series being made back then also that introduced me to books written by people like Barbara Cartland, Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz, and of course the wonderful Jane Austen. God bless D’arcy and his solo wet t-shirt competition.”
Kylie Scott is a New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author – Kylie is a long time fan of love stories, rock n roll, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia, she reads, writes, and never dithers around on the internet.
Sally Thorne: “Achieving my life goal of publishing a romance novel would have been a dramatically slower journey without Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, who write together under the combined pen name Christina Lauren. They are bestsellers and the best women ever. They supported me in the early days by reading my draft manuscript, introducing me to my literary agency and cheering with pom poms when my debut The Hating Game eventually hit the bookstores. In a competitive world, they remain open-hearted and generous with their time and knowledge, believing that there is enough success to go around. When women champion, support, mentor and encourage each other, wonderful things happen.”
Sally Thorne lives in Canberra, Australia, and spends her days writing colorful fictional worlds of her own creation. Sally believes that romance readers are always searching for intensity in their next favorite book–and it isn’t always so easy to find. The Hating Game is her first novel, followed by 99 Percent Mine.
Brynne Asher: “Hands-down, the first and only person who comes to mind is EL James. She took on the romance genre and it exploded. Readers came out of the woodwork and others came back to the genre who might have taken a break from the hobby of reading. She made erotic romance mainstream, paving the way and inspiring others to create their own stories. Sure, there were many before her, but EL James created a frenzy that I’m sure inspired many, myself included”
Brynne Asher lives in the Midwest with her husband, three children and her perfect dog. When she isn’t creating pretend people and relationships in her head, she’s running her kids around and doing laundry. She enjoys cooking, decorating, and shopping, always seeking the best deal. A perfect day in “Brynne World” ends in front of an outdoor fire with family, friends, s’mores, and a delicious cocktail. She is the author of The Carpino Series, The Killers Series and other works.
Sarina Bowen: “Alice Hoffman was my gateway to romance. She has some unapologetically feminine viewpoints in her books that I admire very much. “
Sarina Bowen is the RITA® Award winning author of over two dozen contemporary and LGTB romance novels. She most recently hit the USA Today bestsellers list in February, with Brooklynaire. Formerly a derivatives trader on Wall Street, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University. She lives in New Hampshire with her family, nine chickens, and far too much hockey gear.
Brittainy C. Cherry: “I think my love for romance novels dates way back in time. I remember reading Jane Austen and falling completely head over heels in love with romance stories. I grew up on watching all of the classic romcoms, and I’m pretty sure if there was a Jane Austen movie, I’ve seen it. Her writing always touched me, and inspired me in ways I didn’t think possible. Even though she was a writer from decades before my time, I think it’s powerful the way she was able to captivate readers. She taught me that love stories can be smart, and clever, and witty. She made me want to tell stories of passion, and strength. It’s because of her, and many other authors in this world, that I do what I do. They helped keep my belief in love alive, and I just couldn’t imagine my life without telling stories of love”
Brittainy C Cherry is the author of many of The Elements Series, Disgrace, The Air He Breathes and many more. She graduated from Carroll University with a Bachelors Degree in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing.
Kristen Ashley: “First, my adoration of Judith McNaught novels (as well as Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood and Johanna Lindsey) embedded my love of romance so deeply into my soul, from when I discovered these brilliant authors, all I really wanted to do was write romance novels and hopefully make a living from that.
If you mean “paved the way” in the sense that they helped, I’d shout at the top of my lungs Carly Phillips. She was the first published author who discovered my work and shared with her readers that she dug it and they should give me a shot. Furthermore, she reached out to me at that time and she was so kind. She was my introduction to this industry. And I’ll never forget how wonderful it felt that Carly was the kind of woman she is, generous and approachable and so very supportive.
Kristen Ashley is the New York Times bestselling author of over sixty romance novels.
Women celebrating Women makes my world go round. These incredible women and authors have provided hours of discovering new worlds that I’ve highly enjoyed. One of the things I enjoyed the most was seeing authors naming each other on this list, the community is strong. Sometimes going back to celebrate and reflect on what has brought us here to this place in the romance book world, makes me appreciate the stories a little more. I am eagerly awaiting the new reads this year these authors and many more will have to have offer.