As a writer, there are certain books from other Contemporary Romance Authors I’ve read that have really resonated with me and played a key role as what I call an “early influencer” in my writing, in both style and content.
They each have similar tropes – Alpha heroes, most have some type of tortured hero/heroine (or both), and most have a psychological angle that gives their characters a depth that makes them really interesting and relatable. Each book/series also has a “steam” factor without sacrificing an actual story line, which is something that resonates strongly with me, both in what I like reading and what I like to write.
Here is a list of some that really stand out. If you read Contemporary Romance, you’ve undoubtedly heard of most, if not all of these, but if you haven’t, they are all highly recommended!
Laurelin Paige – Fixed Trilogy
I can’t remember how I even stumbled upon Fixed On You, I’m pretty sure it was one of those “what to read after Fifty Shades” memes, but I’m glad I did. The plot in the Fixed series was so addictive, and the main characters were both so flawed, I found myself devouring these books, binge-style. The conflict was very realistic and well done, with just the right balance.
Jana Aston – The Cafe Series
The Alpha hero, forbidden love, older man/younger woman, Wrong was such a good story. Aston did a good job with the secondary characters to make way for follow up books.
Sylvia Day – Crossfire Series
I mean, if Gideon Cross (Bared to You) isn’t the hottest Alpha Hero I’ve ever read… The history of the characters and their tortured pasts, the lengths they are willing to go to for each other, the secondary characters and their issues, the natural progression of the relationship between Hero and heroine, these were all things that resonated with me. I also appreciated that Eva was written to be a short, curvy woman as opposed to the typical, tall, willowy beauties we normally read about.
E.L. James – Fifty Shades Trilogy
Just to be clear, I have not written any BDSM books (and don’t have any plans to – sorry!), and yes, I know these books could use a thorough editing. With that being said, the psychological aspect of this series, beginning with Fifty Shades of Grey, was actually pretty profound. I say this having a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Psychology, and having been in the Social Services field for 9 years. Erotic elements aside, this story had a depth that I think was lost on the vast readership these books deservedly amassed.
Other Authors I’m Loving/Learning From Currently
There are some newer (to me) authors that I’ve started reading after I actually started writing my own books (fiction, anyway) who I’m loving and hoping to learn by example going forward. Some are not necessarily Contemporary Romance authors, but they are still influencers of my work, nonetheless. These are:
- H.P. Mallory (The Peyton Clark Series and the JolieWilkins Series) – I love the semi-realistic paranormal elements in the Peyton Clark Series, and the mystery aspects of her books. They are so fun!
- Dannika Dark (The Mageri Series and the Crossbreed Series) – Dark is my all time favorite author. This woman has mastered the art of character building, and if she weren’t primarily a PNR/UF author, she would have been at the top of this list. Her world building is phenomenal.
- Lauren Blakely (Mister O) – Blakely is basically my goal as a writer. I want to be her, she is just that good. I’m definitely devouring more of her work to take away as much as I can.
Books By Nicole R. Locker
If you find that these authors and/or books have resonated with you, then definitely give my books a try. See how they measure up to some of the top ladies in Romance! Here’s a couple to get you started!