How I Came to Write Historical Romance

Cheryl BolenGuest Blog by Cheryl Bolen, author of Love In The Library

I came to writing historical romance through the back door, so to speak. First, I was a journalist. No, let me back up. First, I was a reader. I got hooked on the old Gothic romances of the Victoria Holt variety. Just loved those women-in-jeopardy stories. So I decided I could write one of them. Only, like my favorite author at the time, Mary Stewart, I would use a modern-day setting.

At 25, I completed my first novel. But it didn’t sell. Another of the same genre followed, and it didn’t sell, either. When I read a big, sweeping historical like those so popular in the 1980s, I thought I could write one of them, but I’d set it in World War II.

That book, in manuscript form, won several contests, as did my women-in-jeopardy (now called romantic suspense) stories. But still no publishing contract. However, the senior editor at Harlequin Historical was judging my World War II book, which had finaled in a contest, and she said she liked my writing and would like to see something I’d written with a setting prior to the 1900s.

By then I had joined Romance Writers of America and was desperate for a book contract. I’d been scribbling stories for two decades. So I decided I could write a romance set in Regency England. I had read every book Georgette Heyer ever wrote, and I loved the era. I’d even gotten to the point where I was finding errors in other author’s stories. So I began writing A Duke Deceived. After I’d written three chapters, I entered it in two or three contests, and to my delight, it placed in each one I entered. When I completed it in 1996, I sent it to that editor at Harlequin Historical, and a half a year later, they called and offered me a publishing contract.

It was the seventh book I’d written! About half of those which came before it are not publishable. Three of them–including that World War II romance–have been indie published, and though sales are not huge on them, readers have responded very favorably.

I must say I was thrilled when that first published book won me the title of Notable New Author in 1999. More than a dozen novels set in Regency England have followed, including the fifth novel in the Brides of Bath series, Love In The Library. The first four books in the series were originally published by Kensington/Zebra only in paperback in 2002 and 2004. With new covers, they’re all available now in both ebook and print. And I have come to love the Regency period more than ever.

Love in the LibraryWhat about that first romantic suspense I wrote when I was 25? It’s now been indie published as Capitol Offense. To my shock, my editor, who’s edited all my indie works, says Capitol Offense is his favorite.

Many of my historicals, including Love In The Library, contain mystery elements. That way I can keep my feet in both camps.

Buy: Love In The Library (The Brides of Bath)

Author Bio:
Cheryl Bolen is the acclaimed author of more than 20 romance books, both historical and mystery. Many of her books have placed in writing contests, including the Daphne du Maurier for romantic suspense. They have been translated into 11 languages and have become Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestsellers. She was named Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) for Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards for ebooks published the prior year. Her 2011 novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages competition.

A former journalist, she holds a dual degree in English and journalism from the University of Texas, and she earned a master’s degree from the University of Houston. She and her professor husband are the parents of two sons, one who is an attorney, and the other a journalist. Her favorite things to do are watching the Longhorns, reading letters and diaries of Georgian Englishmen, and traveling to England. She invites readers to her website,, or her blog,

Buy: Love In The Library (The Brides of Bath)