Meet the Authors of This Season's Swooniest Romances

Posted by Ryan Boyd on September 13, 2021
When you're back on the market and ready to fall in love with a new romance, who are the best matchmakers you can find? Romance authors, of course!

We talked to the authors of seven of this year's most anticipated romances about their new books, which romance authors to keep your eye on, and their absolute favorite romance tropes. 

Check out these highly anticipated new releases from Alison Cochrun, Evie Dunmore, Ali Hazelwood, Alexis DariaHelena Hunting, Lana Harper, and Jen DeLuca. We're positive that they'll help you find the next book to fall head over heels for.

Be sure to add the most intriguing books to heyour Want to Read shelf!


Alison Cochrun, author of The Charm Offensive

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Goodreads: Describe your new book in a few sentences.

Alison Cochrun: The Charm Offensive is a queer romantic comedy about the star of a heteronormative reality dating show who falls in love with his producer instead of one of the 20 women competing to win his heart. It has one hopeless romantic producer who is obsessed with scripting happily ever afters, one skeptic who doesn’t believe he’s worthy of love, and a whole lot of behind-the-scenes reality television drama, “practice kissing,” and angst.

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

AC: As a longtime consumer of reality dating shows, and The Bachelor franchise in particular, the idea for Charm started as a thought experiment: What would happen if someone like me went on one of these dating shows? And the answer, quite simply, is that someone like me never would. At the time of this thought experiment, I was closeted and struggling with my mental health, and those experiences aren’t usually highlighted on heteronormative dating shows. So I started mentally exploring under what circumstances someone like me could end up on one of those shows, and the character Charlie Winshaw came out of that.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

AC: Helen Hoang is definitely one of my favorite romance authors, and reading The Kiss Quotient was such a formative experience for me as a reader and writer. I will also read anything written by Talia Hibbert, Alexandria Bellefleur, Alexis Hall, and Casey McQuiston.

GR: What are some new romance books you've been enjoying recently?

AC: I just finished reading Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon. It doesn’t come out until January, but it’s a delightful rom-com that also explores the realities of living with depression in a meaningful, relatable way. I also loved The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer and The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood, both coming out in September.

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

AC: I’m such a sucker for a second-chance romance. The angst! The longing! The complicated relationship history! And if it’s a queer second-chance romance? Forget it. I turn to absolute mush.

GR: What's the weirdest date you've ever been on?

AC: I’ve unfortunately been on a lot of weird dates in my life, but one of the worst ended with me getting locked inside a basement bathroom by my date’s drunk housemate. The lock on the door broke, and I was stuck inside the bathroom for an hour while my date had to break me out. Incidentally, we did not go out again after that.
 
Alison Cochrun's The Charm Offensive is available now in the U.S.
 


Evie Dunmore, author of Portrait of a Scotsman

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Goodreads: Describe your new book in a few sentences.

Evie Dunmore: In a sentence, Portrait of a Scotsman is a loose retelling of the Greek Hades and Persephone myth. More specifically, it’s a Victorian romance between a self-made broody Scotsman and a sunny English artist who end up in a marriage of inconvenience, where they have to deal with the obstacles of cross-class relationships; the intersection of women’s rights and workers’ rights; Only One Bed; and, possibly, pirates.

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

ED: During my research for my debut, Bringing Down the Duke, a few years ago, I came across photographs of Victorian women in trousers. A Victorian woman showing her legs was much more scandalous than her wearing a low-cut gown, so I was intrigued. The women pictured were pit-brow lassie—female coal miners. The majority of British women depended on manual labor for survival in 1880, but coal mining is such a demanding and dangerous job that the pit-brow lassies’ existence seemed entirely at odds with the Victorian ideal of womanhood, which portrayed women as dainty Angels in the House. I knew at once that I wanted to highlight the pit-brow lassies in one of the books in the League of Extraordinary Women series and went down a fascinating and harrowing research rabbit hole.

In trying to square this chapter of history with a love story, I came up with the background story of the hero of Scotsman: Lucian is a self-made businessman from a Scottish mining community, and he is as ruthless as he is misunderstood. While he is a wealthy man when we meet him, his early life underground gives him a different perspective on the glitzy society of the London upper class, and this also influences his relationship with his wife.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

ED: Some of my auto-buys for historicals are Lisa Kleypas, Julie Ann Long, and Joanna Bourne. I’d add Sarah Waters to that list, though she writes love stories rather than romances, but I’ll read anything she writes.

Emily Henry, Cara McKenna, and Sarina Bowen are some of my favorite contemporary romance writers, and Kennedy Ryan has become a must-read for me recently.

Can we count Sally Rooney? I love her. She writes emotional mess with a scalpel rather than a pen. 

GR: What are some new romance books you've been enjoying recently?

ED: Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo—I’d describe it as a spin on Tipping the Velvet (another favorite of mine) but set during the Red Scare, and I thought it was excellent. I also really enjoyed Reel by Kennedy Ryan and To Sir, With Love by Lauren Layne.

And I look forward to reading two debuts that have been on my TBR ever since they came to my attention: Royaline Sing’s Betting on a Duke's Heart and Aamna Qureshi’s The Lady or the Lion, which came out in July.

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

ED: Enemies-to-lovers meets Only One Bed. 

GR: What's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for you? 

ED: The most romantic thing? When you feel that the person you love really sees you, finds you special, and is aware that your lives are uniquely better together than apart.
 
Evie Dunmore's Portrait of a Scotsman is available now in the U.S.
 


Ali Hazelwood, author of The Love Hypothesis

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Goodreads: Describe your new book in a few sentences.

Ali HazelwoodThe Love Hypothesis is the story of Olive, a biology Ph.D. student who ends up in a mutually beneficial fake-dating relationship with the youngest, moodiest, most intimidating professor in her department. He’s supposed to be horrible, and Olive is supposed to have nothing in common with him…and yet. Will they fall in love? Who’s to say! (Me. I’m to say, and yes, they will fall in love, I promise.)

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

AH: Three things:
•    The kiss scene in the Netflix movie To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. (Girl enters panic mode and kisses the first dude she sees? Yes, please.) 
•    A prompt from a writing exchange in which someone (Hi, Frankie!) asked for a fake-dating story.
•    The agony and the ecstasy of grad school life. Mostly the agony.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

AH: Sherry Thomas, Nalini Singh, Mariana Zapata, R. Lee Smith, Lisa Kleypas, Christina Lauren, Helen Hoang, Linda Howard, Anne Stuart, Carolyn Jewel, Meredith Duran, Judith McNaught. I could go on forever. Should I go on forever?

GR: What are some new romance books you've been enjoying recently?

AH: My favorite books that came out this year were Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher (I cried! I laughed! I cry-laughed!), A Lady’s Formula for Love by Elizabeth Everett (ladies in STEM!), The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon (I am now in love with public radio), The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren (because they are ALWAYS amazing), and How to Fail at Flirting by Denise Williams (the academia content I crave).

A few books that I’ve loved that aren’t out yet (sorry, I promise I’m not trying to be a tease): Set on You by Amy Lea, The Donut Trap by Julie Tieu, The Love Con by Seressia Glass, The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun.

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

AH: My favorite trope is soul mates. However, it’s at my most favoritest when it’s mixed with enemies-to-lovers and forbidden love. Two characters who are meant to be together but cannot be together because they’re on opposite sides. Please inject it into my veins.

GR: What's the weirdest date you've ever been on?

AH: One of my first dates with this dude. His car broke down in the middle of nowhere, and we ended up having to walk a million miles to the hardware store to buy brake fluid. Can’t believe I married that guy!
 
Ali Hazelwood's The Love Hypothesis will be available in the U.S. on September 14.
 


Alexis Daria, author of A Lot Like Adiós

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Goodreads: Describe your new book in a few sentences.

Alexis Daria: A Lot Like Adiós, the second book in my Primas of Power series, is a childhood friends-to-lovers romance set in the Bronx with a little bit of second-chance romance, a healthy dose of fake dating, and a lot of forced proximity!

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

AD: I always knew it would be about former friends who hadn’t seen each other since high school. The original proposal included a high school reunion story line, but I scrapped it in favor of forced proximity. (Which seemed a whole lot more romantic in early 2020!) I also wanted to include a lot of inside jokes and nostalgia for the sci-fi fanfic the characters wrote as teens.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

AD: Nora Roberts has been a longtime favorite. I’m a big fan of historical romance, particularly authors like Sarah MacLean, Joanna Shupe, and Beverly Jenkins. Sci-fi is my go-to genre; Ruby Dixon is a total comfort read, and Robin Lovett is an instant mood boost. In fantasy, C.L. Polk’s books are beautifully written and will appeal to romance readers. I’ll also read anything by Helen Hoang and Emily Henry

GR: What are some new romance books you've been enjoying recently?

AD: There have been some great contemporary romances this summer!

I absolutely loved Tessa Bailey’s It Happened One Summer. Melonie Johnson’s Too Good to Be Real has a brilliant premise. Happy Endings by Thien-Kim Lam is an excellent debut. Adriana Herrera’s One Week to Claim It All has all the telenovela shenanigans you could want. While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory is fun while also touching on living with anxiety. And Anchored Hearts by Priscilla Oliveras is a sweet and emotional second-chance romance.

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

AD: I love a second-chance romance! It’s like the ultimate romantic arc. These people loved each other before but for whatever reason couldn’t make it work, and now, after they’ve grown and changed, they reunite to complete their character development together. Love it! 
 
Alexis Daria's A Lot Like Adiós will be available in the U.S. on September 14.



Helena Hunting, author of When Sparks Fly

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Helena Hunting: When Sparks Fly is the first book in a new series about three sisters who run an event hotel in Colorado. Avery Spark, the oldest of the three sisters, is surprised to find that she’s in love with her roommate/best friend, Declan, when he volunteers to help her recover from a serious car accident. But the path from friends to lovers is a rocky one when both of their pasts potentially ruin any future happiness they may have together.

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

HH: Back in 2018, I attended a book event in Colorado, and my family and I spent a week afterward traveling. I learned very quickly that I’m a flatlander and that I will never willingly drive up the side of a mountain again, but it was a really cool trip, and other than the whole drive-up-the-mountain ordeal, I had a great time and so did my family. It inspired the setting for the story. 

The Spark House is not a regular hotel, but one where the sisters are able to be creative and think outside the box, setting up unique events for their clients. Building a world around the event hotel and those sisters and their relationships was something I was really excited about. Avery and Declan’s story is built on a foundation of friendship, and exploring the shifting dynamics and the stakes for both of them after Avery has an accident and Declan becomes her caretaker was something I really enjoyed developing.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

HH: J.R. Ward, Karen Marie Moning, Tijan, Debra Anastasia, Jana Aston, Melanie Harlow, Abby Jimenez, E.L. James, Penelope Douglas, Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy, B.B. Easton, and the list goes on! 

GR: What are some new romance books you've been enjoying recently?

HH: Tijan’s The Insiders was amazing, and I can’t wait for The Damaged to release next winter! I just started an ARC by Brooke Burroughs and another ARC by a debut author that I’m loving!

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

HH: I’m a huge fan of marriage of convenience and enemies-to-lovers stories because the banter is always extremely fun to write and it’s so enthralling to have the hero and heroine push each other’s buttons until they give in to the attraction. 

GR: What's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for you? 

HH: When I was at a writer’s conference back in 2015, one of my books hit The New York Times for the first time, and when I got back home, my husband had made a really special plaque that went over my desk, which I thought was pretty romantic, seeing as he was home with our daughter when the book listed. He made it a point to show how proud he was and to celebrate that huge milestone in my writing career in his own way. Enjoying that with him was the icing on the cake, and even today, I still think about that moment.
 
Helena Hunting's When Sparks Fly will be available in the U.S. on September 21.



Lana Harper, author of Payback's a Witch

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Lana Harper: Payback's a Witch is John Tucker Must Die meets The L Word meets Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. When the time comes for a spell-casting competition in the modern, magical town of Thistle Grove, three scorned witches team up in a vengeance plot to take down the f*ckboy warlock who broke all their hearts—but two of the women may just end up falling for each other!

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

LH: When I wrote it, I was an anxious new mom navigating motherhood amid the sudden and terrifying onset of the pandemic—and desperately in need of some fun, cozy, purely escapist vibes in my writing. If someone had offered me the chance to pack up and move into a Halloween-themed Yankee candle, I would’ve jumped at it. (Still true.)

When my agent and I put our heads together to brainstorm my next project, she floated the idea of John Tucker Must Die, except everyone is witches, and my brain caught fire! Thistle Grove, the four magical families, and the Gauntlet of the Grove felt so fully and instantly formed, it was as if I was discovering rather than inventing them. Writing the rest of the book was a thrill ride, an absolutely joyous adventure.

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

LH: How does one choose?! I adore anything Emily Henry writes; Helen Hoang, India Holton, Talia Hibbert, Sally Thorne, and Bridget Morrissey are just a few other faves.

I’ve also always thought of Jacqueline Carey and Diana Gabaldon as spectacularly inventive, genre-bending romance queens. Phèdre nó Delaunay and Jamie Fraser both gave me feelings at a very formative age.

GR: What are some new romance books you’ve been enjoying recently?

LH: Beach Read by Emily Henry is one of my all-time-favorite books, so I could barely wait for her follow-up, People We Meet on Vacation—and unsurprisingly, I basically inhaled it. I also recently read The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton and was transported. What a wild, fabulous story full of Victorian lady pirates, flying houses, and banter dueling. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. I also really loved Bridget Morrissey’s Love Scenes, a thoroughly delicious enemies-to-lovers, sparks-flying-on-set Hollywood romance.

GR: What’s your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

LH: I’m an eternal sucker for enemies to lovers. It’s that sizzling tension of being poised on the knife’s edge between love and hate for me.

GR: What's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for you? 

LH: Many years ago, when I was stanning Battlestar Galactica particularly hard (a situation which has not changed all that much since), my partner at the time gave me a framed, signed poster of Katee Sackhoff as Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Not a conventionally romantic gesture, maybe, but the thought that went into it—and the implicit acknowledgment that Starbuck would always be bae—just swept me off my feet. 
 
Lana Harper’s Payback's a Witch will be available in the U.S. on October 5.
 


Jen DeLuca, author of Well Matched

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Jen DeLuca: Single mom April, on the verge of being an empty nester, is ready to move on from the small town of Willow Creek. She agrees to pose as the girlfriend of popular kilt-wearing hottie Mitch in exchange for his help on home improvements to get her house ready to sell. They get a little too good at pretending—especially as the yearly Renaissance Faire begins, and the line between real and fake starts to blur. But when there’s the chance for something real, April must decide whether to change her plans and open her heart. 

GR: What sparked the idea for this story?

JD: The characters themselves. After writing Well Met and Well Played and getting to know Mitch and April so well as supporting characters, putting the prickly, introverted, older single mom with the open-book, cheerful, golden retriever, life-of-the-party guy was just too delicious an idea to pass up! 

GR: Who are some of your favorite romance authors?

JD:  Believe me, this is the short list! I have so many favorite authors, but for now I’ll say Helen Hoang, Sally Thorne, Kate Clayborn, Christina Lauren, Courtney Milan, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Eva Leigh, Olivia Dade.   

GR: What are some new romance books you're enjoying recently?

JD: Again, this list could be twice as long as it is! But I’ll settle for Twice Shy by Sarah Hogle, Big Bad Wolf by Suleikha Snyder, The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, Reel by Kennedy Ryan, and The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton.  

GR: What's your all-time-favorite romance trope? 

JD: I’m an absolute sucker for enemies to lovers. My favorite part is when they’re starting to fall for each other and deny it with everything they have before finally succumbing. It’s irresistible!

GR: What's the most romantic thing anyone's ever done for you? 

JD: I’ve battled clinical depression for most of my adult life. My husband loves me even when I don’t love myself. To me, that’s the most romantic thing anyone can do.
 
Jen DeLuca’s Well Matched will be available in the U.S. on October 19.
  
 
 
Don’t forget to add these romances to your Want to Read shelf, and tell us which releases you’re most excited about in the comments below!

Check out more recent articles, including:
Readers' Most Anticipated Romances for September
30 Hot Historical Romances to Light Your Fire in 2021
Catch Up on Fall's Biggest Authors' Earlier Books

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris More LGBT books having exposure! Good job and thank you!


message 2: by Ines (new)

Ines i'm reading "The Charm Offensive" (just reached the 57% mark) and it's really great!


message 3: by Aurora (new)

Aurora *yawns* done already? Okay.


message 4: by jana ☀︎ (new)

jana ☀︎ everyone loves enemies to lovers! (who am i kidding, so do i)


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