Imagine that you live in a city with a bakery that makes one of Best Cheese Cakes in America. That cheesecake is wonderfully decadent, and it is your weekly treat for all the hours you spent on your treadmill. And then you move. And worst yet, you can’t find any place that makes a cheesecake that is even comparable (you might be able to tell I have a thing for cheese cakes). How can something be so different when the ingredients have to be similar? You know that you’ll probably never find one that tastes exactly the same, but you live in hope that you’ll find one that you like just as well.
And that in a nutshell is how we feel as readers. We find an author we love. She or he has the perfect mixture—sensual romance, charming cuteness, perfect poignancy, original storylines, and flawless characterization. The trouble is that we’ve read all this author’s backlist and it will be months before she has a new book out. So just like the cheesecake addict , we search out new authors to fill the void.
If you have been reading romance for a while, then you’ve probably already checked out the popular U.S. authors. If you love books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips then you know that authors Rachel Gibson and Kristan Higgins also write laugh-out-loud books. No, their writing style is not the same, but there is still the mixture of wacky humor, original storylines and great characters. At first glance you might not think that Julie James and Susan Andersen books are that much alike. James’ s heroines are career professionals, living in the big city. Andersen’s are more small town U.S.A. But both authors write about strong heroines who show plenty of moxie when dealing with the hero and there is plenty of snappy dialogue. In their books, Virginia Kantra and Catherine Mann sort of play around with the type of heroines they write–sometimes touchingly vulnerable, and then sometimes not. Jill Shalvis and Susan Mallery specialize in creating warm communities with touches of zaniness. If you love Loretta Chase’s books than you probably love Eloisa James’s books. If you read shape-shifters than you are aware of books by Kelley Armstrong, Nalini Singh, Thea Harrison or Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews.
So, you are thinking yeah, yeah, yeah – you haven’t told me anything I don’t know or mentioned any authors I haven’t read. But have you looked down under, across the sea, or up north for new authors?
When most author first start writing they don’t automatically get multi-country contracts –although there are some exceptions. Typically authors have to have proven sales records in their own country, and then U.S. publishers take notice. By the time their first book is published in the U.S. they are well-established authors in their own country. The beauty of this is that sometimes they have a backlist—which is usually snapped up.
Before we get to the heart of the blog – let me just say that comparing authors is like comparing chocolate cheesecake (See link above —did you check out City Bakery, NYC, Origin Ecuadorian Milk Chocolate Cheesecake –oh my gosh ) to a lemon zesty cheesecake with dark chocolate cookie crust (Mah-Ze-Dahr, NYC). There is chocolate, and there is cheesecake, and they’re just combined in a different way, but still delicious. Okay no more cheesecake parallels –it’s making me too hungry–but you get the point. The authors in the comparison are not going to write exactly like your favorite author, but there are a more than a few things that they have in common. Although – let me be up front – sex scenes are not one of them. But if you looking for laughter, heartfelt emotion, and fun scenarios, then you will be more than pleased with these books.
So for your consideration, this is an “If You Like This Author” Comparison likening U.S. authors to their counterpoints in other countries:
If You Like Susan Elizabeth Phillips then try...
Sophie Kinsella, U.K.
Favorite book: I’ve Got Your Number
Commonalitities: Humor, feisty heroine, outrageous scenarios; touching scenes
Differences: P.G. love scenes, and Love triangle
Graeme Simsion, Australia
Favorite book: The Rosie Project
Commonality: Humor; Unique premise,
Differences: Hero is a Geek who has Asperger’s.
If You Like Rachel Gibson then try...
Jill Mansell, U.K.
Favorite book: Nadia Knows Best
Commonalities: lighthearted with zaniness.
Differences: P.G. love scenes and love triangle
If You Like Susan Mallery then try...
Jenny Colgan, U.K.
Favorite Book: Little Beach Street Bakery
Commonalities: Small community; Lighthearted but with genuine problems
Differences: Love scenes
If You Like Robyn Carr then try...
Lucy Dillon, U.K.
Favorite book: Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts
Commonalities: Multiple plot lines; Heartfelt emotional scenarios
Differences: More closely aligned with women's fiction books by Carr.
If You Like Kristan Higgins then try...
Milly Johnson, U.K.
Favorite book: The Birds and the Bees
Commonalities: Heroine’s deprecating voice, humor.
Differences: Love scenes again!
If You Like Susanna Kearsley then try...
Kate Morton, Australia
Favorite Book: The Lake House
Commonalities: Rich in historical details; mystery; past and present day plot
Differences: Paranormal aspect –Kearsley’s books typically have it, and this book didn’t
So, have you tried any of these authors before? Do you agree or disagree with the comparison? Don’t be shy! A friend has already told me she didn’t quite agree!
Learn more about or order a copy of the books mentioned in this post:
H&H Editor Picks: