Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, Shana Galen, tribute

I just returned from the Romantic Times Bookreviews convention in Kansas City. This year was a celebration of the Pioneers of Romance. Authors like Bertrice Small, Jude Devereaux, Julie Garwood, Robyn Carr, Mary Balogh, Thea Devine, and Laura Palmer were honored. I was able to fulfill the dream of a lifetime when I got to meet Julie Garwood and have books signed by her.

Julie Garwood

I also attended a panel where Jude Devereaux and Julie Garwood spoke and took questions. Jude Devereaux is the author of the first romance novel I ever read. Julie Garwood is the author who inspired me to write historical romance. I’m not ashamed to say I was shaking like a leaf in a hurricane when I met them. And I’m not the only one. I talked to Erin Knightley and Sarah Maclean about the panel, and both of them were also completely star struck.

Photo May 03, 10 04 32 AM (HDR)

Julie Garwood and Jude Devereaux took questions from the audience, and of course I couldn’t think of any at the time, but I thought of one later. What is it these authors did that made their books so iconic? Why do we read them over and over? Why has their work persisted when I’m sure many of the authors who were publishing when Devereaux and Garwood began their careers have long since been forgotten?

And so I’m asking you, the readers and experts. Who is your favorite “pioneer or romance” and what is special about her books? I’m not a pioneer, but I’ll give away a copy of one of my early books, No Man’s Bride, to two people who comment.

A New Crop of Authors: Erin Knightley, me, Vicky Dreiling, Kieran Kramer

A New Crop of Authors: Erin Knightley, me, Vicky Dreiling, Kieran Kramer

36 thoughts on “The Pioneers of Romance

  1. eap says:

    Celeste De Blasis excelled at world and character building

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I haven’t read her, eap. Thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Mary says:

    I don’t know HOW, but I do feel that both Julie Garwood and Jude Deveraux create characters and scenes that are so real that the reader becomes immersed in their lives. I can still remember – vividly – the Velvet series (Deveraux) and it has probably been nearly 25 years since I read them the last time. It sounds so goofy to anyone who doesn’t “get it” but I miss the Montgomery’s when I haven’t “seen” them in awhile. So I dig out a good, old Jude Deveraux…or a Julie Garwood, if its a Buchanan I’m lonesome for….

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Mary. I miss characters from some authors’ books when I don’t read the series in a while. And one of the velvet books in Devereaux’s series was the first romance I ever read.

      1. Mary says:

        I think Velvet Angel was MY first romance novel! And, BOY, was I excited when I discovered it was one of FOUR in a series!

        1. Shana Shana says:

          Have to love a series!

  3. Part of the attraction of Jude D and Julie G was that they were a couple of the FEW romance authors out there in their early years. Their books were terrific, and I loved them – but in part, it was because there were so few romance books available!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Good point, Margo. Those two have endured, though. They must be doing something right.

  4. catslady says:

    I have to pick Kathleen Woodiwiss because she is the one to get me totally hooked but Julie Garwood is right up there too. They both make you feel like you are right there – especially emotionally.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Another great pioneer of romance, catslady. I think you’re right about how all three of those authors are able to tap into the reader’s emotions.

  5. Rhonda says:

    I would have to add Nora Roberts for the McKade Brothers books that consumed me until I had read them all. Sandra Brown for many wonderful books but Rainwater is my absolute favorite. Also Pamela Morsi – I loved the book Garters.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      All great choices! And all three are still writing.

      1. Rhonda says:

        I got my officemate hooked Julie Garwood after I read The Ideal Man and practically forced her to read it! LOL

        1. Shana Shana says:

          I made my mom read her–that’s how much I love her.

  6. bn100 says:

    Johanna Lindsey- her characters

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I have still not met Johanna Lindsey. I would love to. 🙂

  7. Cindy Kirk Cindy Kirk says:

    I love Julie Garwood. Like catslady said, she makes you feel like you are right there, especially emotionally!

    Mary Balough is another fav author.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Great choice, Cindy. Balogh is definitely a pioneer.

  8. Maria says:

    I’m new to the historical romance game but my first was Stephanie Laurens’ Tangled Rein. I’m a librarian and a reissue review caught my notice as well as the fact that several of my fellow library bloggers are romance readers.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Stephanie Laurens is also one of my favorites.

  9. Ebony Morton says:

    I guess Johannes lindey. She’s been writing for a long time and her books are steamy.:)

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I would love to meet Johanna Lindsey, Ebony.

  10. Quilt Lady says:

    Constance O’Banyon. I think it was the way she wrote her characters. I know I loved her books.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I haven’t read her, Quilt Lady. I should rectify that.

  11. Marian the Librarian says:

    Hi Shana: Three authors immediately came to my mind, because their books were all exceptional. They wrote the kind of story you could not put down. These authors are all MUST READS!
    1. M.M. Kaye author of The Far Pavillions – an excellent storyteller. Good historical detail too!
    2. Mazo de la Roche author of The Whiteoak Chronicles – these books are addictive! Great characters, romance & adventure.
    3. Celeste de Blasis – Awesome reading. Especially her Swan Trilogy.
    Happy Reading! Marian

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Marian, I love MM Kaye. I’ve read all of her books. Love her!

  12. Laurie G says:

    Catherine Coulture
    Jayne Anne Krenz
    Elizabeth Lowell

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Oh, I can’t argue with any of those. I love all three ladies’ writing.

  13. RobynDeHart RobynDeHart says:

    Constance O’Banyon was in one of my RWA chapters several years ago and she was a very sweet lady.

    I’ve also met Johanna Lindsey, again many years ago in one of her rare public appearances – she’s horribly shy. She chain-smoked the whole time and her hands shook, but it was still a huge kick to meet her and get a book signed. 🙂

    My biggie is Kathleen Woodiwiss – I never got to meet her, but I saw her once at a conference and I cried like a dork. But she is definitely the reason I write historical romance.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      That’s so cool about Johanna Lindsey. Do you have any pictures?

  14. Melody May says:

    Candice Hern when I first started reading romances in high school. I just fell in love with her writing style. Mary Balogh cause I started reading her books when I started with romance again.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Candice Hern is a wonderful author, Melody. I’m so glad you mentioned her.

  15. Kirsten says:

    A book by Jude Deveraux was amongst the first romance novels I read. Wishes it was called,
    I remember this story because a modern woman died and was sent to help a ” historical” woman find love. It was surprising and though I might not have picked up the book had I known this beforehand, I have kept the yellow paperback for years now, because I liked it a lot. I’m not really sure what it was that attracted me so to her style of writing, but it moved me somehow. I feel so many things when I’m reading and it’s almost the same as spending a great day with a friend. You feel happy and refreshed and comforted… Really great 🙂

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Kirsten, I think you are exactly right. Reading one of Jude Devereaux’s books is like spending the day with a friend.

  16. Barbara Elness says:

    Definitely Jude Devereaux is my favorite pioneer, I read so many of her books back in the day, and still enjoy them now. I’ve always enjoyed her characters and the range of the stories she writes, from time travel to historical to contemporary, I love them all.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I did notice Jude Devereaux is varied in what she has written. Readers begged for more historicals, but she said they don’t sell as well. 🙁

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