No romance novel exists alone—every one is building on the work of writers who came before.
Like every author, I was a reader first, so to celebrate The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics I made some art highlighting the books and authors who’ve been lodestars guiding me on my journey.
And then I made that art into stickers!
You can claim a set of six if you find me in person at the RWA Literacy Autographing in New York on Saturday, July 27, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
by Johanna Lindsey
This was the first romance novel I ever read. It is a steamy space opera romance with a security-forces heroine burdened by virginity, a barbarian hero eager to relieve her of it, and orgasm denial as erotic punishment.
I stole it from my mother when I was five: she was appalled, and took it back before I could finish it. Ten years later I found a library copy and finally got that happy ending. From this you may deduce much about my stubbornness.
by Suzanne Enoch
This was not the first historical romance I read with a cross-dressing heroine, but it was the first one that felt like the heroine wasn’t just forced into it for the disguise. The hero even buys her a new bespoke masculine wardrobe so she can swan about town breaking the debutantes’ hearts. It’s a sharp, smart romance about two difficult people, human frailty and disappointment, and the sacrifices we make for those we love.
by Beverly Jenkins
My favorite Beverly Jenkins novel is actually Forbidden, but Topaz is my favorite cover of hers, for the sunset colors and that glorious mustache and the much-needed visual of a Black historical couple in a classic clinch. Her books and her constant real-life encouragement have nourished an entire generation of romance readers and writers.
The Jade Temptress
by Jeannie Lin
Jeannie Lin’s wonderful Tang Dynasty-set stories are all gems, but The Jade Temptress is an absolute romance masterpiece. It features a courtesan heroine and a police detective hero, both of whom are cynical and jaded and bitter — and who somehow find the truest, purest love in the darkest of places.
A Gentleman Never Keeps Score
by Cat Sebastian
Avon’s first queer historicals were Cat Sebastian’s charming and ebullient m/m romances. I love them all, but I have a particular soft spot for the tenderness at the heart of A Gentleman Never Keeps Score. A former boxer turned bartender first tries to rob and then tries to seduce a lonely, witty, scandal-and-trauma plagued aristocrat fallen from social graces.
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics
by Olivia Waite
And of course, Avon’s first f/f historical! With that luscious cover and all my words inside it. I wrote this as a gift to myself after a rough couple years, when all I wanted was a femme, queer, arts-and-sciences escape into nerdiness and feelings. It is the best and most ambitious thing I have ever written. The print edition comes out on July 23, and an audio version will be available in 2020!