5 Best Romance Authors in Modern Times

Each year more romance novels are sold than books of any other genre, and the industry adds new life-long fans each year. This billion dollar industry has its major stars and many romance authors write for several decades and gain millions of fans in the process. Today, some of the best romance authors sit atop major best seller lists like the New York Times and their names are known worldwide, even if a reader isn’t a romance fan.

Here are some of the best romance authors of modern times:


1. Danielle Steel

Conservative estimates suggest that Danielle Steel has sold over a half-billion romance books during her career. Writing since 1978, Steel is in her 60s and is known to write several stories at the same time. Incredibly, every single novel she’s ever written has gone on to become a bestseller. She often uses the same “woman in distress” formula where a wealthy family is threatened by some major predicament.


2. Debbie Macomber

Having written over 150 novels since she began her career in 1983, Debbie Macomber is an exceptionally prolific writer and has won multiple awards for her writing. Amazingly, Macomber has only a high school diploma to her name and is dyslexic. Her first books were written on a rented typewriter, and it took her 5 years to find a publisher who would accept her work.


3. Catherine Coulter

Writing since the late 1970s, Catherine Coulter has offered romance fans stories in many sub-genres like suspense, contemporary, and regency romance. Born in Texas, Coulter eventually relocated to northern California. She rises early each morning and writes for several hours. One of her greatest skills is capturing the life and times of other eras. Her historical novels have covered everything from early medieval times to Victorian England.


4. Lisa Kleypas

A lifetime love of books led political science major Lisa Kleypas, who was studying at Wellesley College, to write her first book during a summer vacation. She was a published author by the age of 21 and was even crowned Miss Massachusetts in the mid-1980s. Kleypas has sold millions of books around the world and her novels have been translated into several languages. She’s conquered the historical sub-genre and has also written a popular series of contemporary mystery and suspense.


5. Diana Gabaldon

Originally earning a bachelor of science in Zoology, a master of science in marine biology, and a PhD in behavioral ecology, Diana Gabaldon’s life took a fascinating turn when she decided to write her first novel, which was published in 1991. Her “Outlander” series has, thus far, spawned eight books about a time-traveling couple in Scotland. The series is even slated for a television debut as a miniseries in England.

Each of these authors probably owes their present-day success to trailblazing author Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. She wrote what was likely the first modern romance novel in 1972 called “The Flame and the Flower.” Although she passed away in 2007 after a battle with cancer, Woodiwiss’s legacy lives on as romance novels continue to sell many copies each year.