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  • Nina Day Gerard

Romance Writers Tell All - Our Heart's Inspiration

We’re in the third heat of my Tell-All Tuesday roundtable interview series Romance Writers Tell All, and this week, we’re talking about our own greatest inspirations—the writers who have influenced us and the best romances we’ve read.

Q: What romance authors are/were your biggest influence? What is your biggest inspiration for your writing? What is your all-time favorite romance novel that you've read?

Bella Andre: I was a huge fan of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton family books and Stephanie Lauren's Cynsters and I thought it would be so fun to write a series about a big modern day family. I’ve always been such a big romance reader. When I was a teenager I would read until two in the morning with the lights under the covers. Romance has always been my genre. I still read a book a week when I can manage to squeeze them in between writing my own books. As to my all-time favorite romance novel, that would have to be “Be Me,” by Jennifer Crusie. I must have read and reread that book at least a dozen times over the years.

JJ Ellis: Harlequin/Silhouette was a big influence on me as a teen. That is where I started my romance journey with some of their teen romances and moved quickly into adult ones. (Does anybody remember Silhouette teen romances?) I remember the first non-Harlequin romance I read was Danielle Steele’s Wanderlust when I was sixteen. And after that I picked up any of her books I could get my hands on. Another author that had a huge influence on me and got me back into romance after a dry spell was Robyn Carr. Her Virgin river stories were amazing. My oldest daughter and I enjoyed them together. And her books actually gave me that extra push to finish up my first manuscript and find a way to publish it.

Kallysten: Oh god too many to name here, I'd be too scared of forgetting one! And in truth, everything I read is an influence on my writing, even when it's not romance, even when I don't particularly enjoy it, if only in a 'I don't want to write like this' way. My favorite romance novel is something that, I'm sure, the author would have cringed if he'd heard me label it that way! It's a sci-fi story from Barjavel called 'The Ice People', and it's a love story that spans - literally - millenia and endures through an apocalypse. It also has the most sensual lovemaking scene I ever read, and something I aspire to recreate every time I write a new sexy scene.

C. Deanne Rowe: I knew I wanted to become an author when I read Victoria Holt’s book ‘The Shivering Sands’. I borrowed the book from my grandmother, who was an avid reader, to do a book report. That’s where the writing bug really took hold. I wanted to tell a story and have people fall in love with it. Although when I began writing, romances were where my stories always led. I’ve stayed in this genre but who knows, maybe one of these days I’ll venture out. I love to read Victoria Holt, Sidney Sheldon, Phylliss Whitney, Lori Wilde, Jill Shalvis, Kristin Higgins, Debbie Macomber. I also have the privilege of writing with two of the best authors around, Magnolia ‘Maggie’ Rivers and Glenna West as a member of The Stiletto Girls. I also belong to a writing group, Iowa Writers Corner, which is a group of diverse women and men who write all genres. I am a proud member along with some of Iowa’s finest authors.

Susan Stoker: I think like a lot of women who grew up in the eighties, Judy Blume was one of the first true “romance” authors I read. Who could forget “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” or “Forever”. Then there was the Sweet Valley High books in middle school. I then branched out to Regency books and slowly made my way to Harlequins and the like. I don’t recall any one author or book being the one that got me started reading romance…I was just naturally drawn to any HEA kind of book. I don’t really have an inspiration when I write. That sounds bad, but I just use my imagination and think about what kind of awful situations I can put my heroines in…and how she can be saved from them. Maybe I’m just warped…but the ID Channel is one of my favorite stations on TV. And there’s no way I could pick one favorite romance novel…because I have so many I like. One day I might want to read a kinky story that is full of sex, and the next I might want to read a regency story with only “behind the doors” sex. I have a folder on my e-reader with “re-reads”. There are currently about 250 in there. So it all depends on what I want to read at that particular moment.

NDG: It’s great to see that other formats and genres appeal to us as writers! I was into Sidney Sheldon’s spy stories, back in the day. JJ, I too loved the Virgin River series! I always hoped she’s write about the Marine friends that would come to go hunting with Jack and Preacher. When I started writing romance, I just wanted to write the kinds of stories that I like to read. Among my favorite authors are Maya Banks (KGI series), Christine Feehan (Drake Sisters), Jo Davis (Station 5 firefighters), and Bella Andre (Sullivans). I agree, though, it is difficult to pin down one favorite romance novel that I’ve read. Some that have stuck with me over the years are The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough, Valley of the Dolls (Jacqueline Susann), Ashes in the Wind (Kathleen Woodiwiss), and The Promise (Danielle Steel)

Well, that’s a wrap for this week. Find out more about the illustrious authors below, and tune in next week when we dish on what makes a good romance book cover!

About the Authors

Bella Andre

For more about Bella and her books, visit her here:




JJ Ellis

You can find more about JJ and her books and upcoming projects at and look for her personal blog on this site – coming soon!

Learn more about her Baby Boomer Romances at

Visit her promotion blog at


The Serenade Serial The Blurred Trilogy Biting The Vampire website - FB - Goodreads - Newsletter sign up -

C. Deanne Rowe

Susan Stoker

Twitter: @Susan_Stoker

Text the word: STOKER to 24587 for periodic updates - for autographed books, t-shirts, totes and more!

Nina Day Gerard

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