Getting their payoff

In author Jessica Andersen‘s novels, the worst can (and often does) happen, but everything turns out well for the hero and heroine in the end. Andersen shared why writing novels where justice always prevails matters, how she discovered romance novels, and why she doesn’t read the same subgenres she writes.

How are romance novels more fair and just than the real world? Why is it satisfying to read about this more just world? Read More


Attracting a reader

Book titles don’t write themselves, though author Jessica Andersen says she wishes they would. She leaves titles and covers up to her publishers. It’s their job to attract the reader, she says, and her job to hook them in the first few pages.

Has a cover or title ever made you want to buy a book? What books could use a title or cover change? Read More


Choosing category romance

Nora Roberts, Iris Johansen, Jayne Ann Krentz, Suzanne Brockmann—single-title authors often get their start in category romance. Jessica Andersen shares what makes writing category romance an appealing career move, for both new and seasoned romance authors.

What choices do you think authors have to make that are unique to a format? What makes writing category different from writing single-title different from writing short stories for an anthology? Read More


Family and childhood

What goes into the making of a romance writer? Did all romance writers grow up surrounded by books? In small towns? In big cities? Did a family member read The Princess Bride to them every evening before bed? Thirteen authors tell executive producer of the Popular Romance Project, Laurie Kahn, about their family histories.

How does your childhood influence what you read (and write) now? What authors include extended families as important parts of their novels? Read More


Finding romance (novels)

Have you ever wondered how your favorite authors were introduced to romance novels? From discoveries made while babysitting to gifts from relatives, authors Jessica Andersen, Kristan Higgins, Debbie Kaufman, Jayne Ann Krentz, Caridad Piñeiro, Jill Shalvis, and Nalini Singh share their first romance read!

Do you remember your first romance novel? Read More


Building worlds

A writer’s lifestyle and place in the world can be physically (if not digitally!) isolating. Jessica Andersen, author of romantic suspense and paranormal romances, notes that many authors prefer to “be in our pajamas in front of our computer not having to be social and not having to be extroverted.” However, the fictitious worlds of authors are boundless, and can be based on research, personal experience, and pure imagination.

Andersen’s own novels pull on her childhood vacation memories in the Yucatán, as well as years of online research and reading!

Try a simple exercise, imagining yourself as a hero or heroine. Step through a doorway. What is the first thing you notice? Why do you think it caught your attention? Was it something unexpected? Something that reminds you of someone you know? What you notice says something about you, your mindset, the place, and your world. Read More


RWA’s impact

The Romance Writers of America (RWA) organization was created in 1981 to advance the professional interests of romance writers. Every year the organization holds an annual conference where writers, editors, agents, and bloggers are under the same roof. Workshops are offered, deals are made, and friendships are renewed.

Over the past year, our interviewees have told us what a difference RWA has made in their lives. The video for this week has clips from interviews with Jessica Andersen, Suzanne Brockmann, Kim Castillo, Elizabeth Essex, Brenda Jackson, Crystal Jordan, Sourcebook’s Dominique Raccah, and Sarah Wendell.

My film crew and I covered the 2012 conference of the Romance Writers of America last week in Anaheim, California. A preview reel of our documentary film-in-the-making, Love Between the Covers, was shown at the opening luncheon of the conference—and it was a big hit.

So here’s a question for you: what difference RWA has made in your life, or the life of a romance writer you know? Join the conversation below the jump! Read More


Documentary Kickstarter

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to show the reel for our upcoming documentary, Love Between the Covers, at the 2012 Romance Writers of America convention in Anaheim, California! We’re extremely grateful for our reception and to the RWA for giving us the opportunity! We’d like to share the reel with you here as well.

Visit to see the reel in its original context!
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Dreams and day jobs

I always ask romance authors what they wanted to be when they were young—and the answers I get are often surprising. Underwater archaeologist? Cytologist? Who knew? As for the various jobs they’ve had, the answers I get include waitress, journalist, scientist, nurse, and attorney.

Some romance authors give up their day jobs as soon as they are able to do so. Others live dual lives, holding down full time jobs by day and writing by night.

Romance authors come from wealthy backgrounds and poor backgrounds, from well-educated families and from families with no books in the house.

If you are a romance author, let us know what you wanted to be when you were young. What kind of jobs have you had in your life? Are you able to write full time? Do you even want to write full time?

If you are a reader, what are the most remarkable stories you’ve heard about authors and the jobs they’ve held? Let us know, and we’ll invite the authors to tell us more! Comment below the cut! Read More


Genetics to romance

After getting a Ph.D. in genetics, Jessica Andersen decided to follow her heart and be a romance novel writer, rather than a scientist. Now nicknamed “Dr. Jess,” she’s written a long 2012 doomsday series informed by scholarship on the Mayans, as well as stories involving werewolves, crime scenes, and medical mysteries. In her books she promises “a healthy dose of running, screaming, sex, things blowing up, and a well-deserved happily ever after.” She started out writing science-themed romantic intrigues for Harlequin. And the last of her eight-book series chronicling the secret group of warriors who fight the gods of the Mayan underworld will be coming out before the end of 2012.

When we spoke, Jessica told me about her decision to become a romance author. We also talked about the critique partnership she’s had with J.R. Ward for many years, and the “pay it forward” ethic she learned from Suzanne Brockmann when she was just starting in the business.

Have you experienced the “pay it forward” ethic in your life? Do you know of critique partnerships where the partners have opposite styles of working? Let us know! Comment below the jump! Read More