Nora Roberts Biography & Facts
Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson on October 10, 1950) is an American author of more than 225 romance novels. She writes as J. D. Robb for the in Death series and has also written under the pseudonyms Jill March and for publications in the U.K. as Sarah Hardesty.
Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot.
Life and career
Roberts was born on October 10, 1950 in Silver Spring, Maryland, the youngest of five children. Both of her parents have Irish ancestors, and she has described herself as "an Irishwoman through and through". Her family were avid readers, so books were always important in her life. Although she had always made up stories in her head, Roberts did not write as a child, other than essays for school. She does claim to have "told lies. Really good ones—some of which my mother still believes." She attended a Catholic school and credits the nuns with instilling in her a sense of discipline. During her second year in high school, Roberts transferred to a local public school, Montgomery Blair High School, where she met her first husband, Ronald Aufdem-Brinke. They married, against her parents' wishes, in 1968, as soon as she had graduated from high school.The newly married couple settled in Boonsboro, Maryland. Roberts' husband worked at his father's sheet-metal business before joining her parents in their lighting company. She gave birth to two sons, Dan and Jason. Roberts became a homemaker and would later refer to this time period as her "Earth Mother" years. Roberts spent much of her time doing crafts, including ceramics and sewing her children's clothes. Their marriage ended in divorce in 1983.
Roberts met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, a carpenter, when she hired him to build bookshelves in July 1985. Her husband owns and operates a bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland called Turn the Page Books. He also works as an adult content photographer and videographer.The Wilders also owned the nearby historic Boone Hotel, which was undergoing renovations when it was destroyed by a fire in February 2008. It opened as the Inn BoonsBoro in 2009; the suites were inspired by and named for literary romantic couples with happy endings.Roberts once stated: "You're going to be unemployed if you really think you just have to sit around and wait for the muse to land on your shoulder." She concentrates on one novel at a time, writing eight hours a day, every day, even while on vacation. Rather than begin with an outline or plot summary, Roberts instead envisions a key incident, character, or setting. She then writes a short first draft that has the basic elements of a story. After finishing the first draft, Roberts goes back to the beginning of the novel. The second draft usually sees the addition of details, the "texture and color" of the work, as well as a more in-depth study of the characters. She then does a final pass to polish the novel before sending it to her agent, Amy Berkower.She often writes trilogies, finishing the three books in a row so that she can remain with the same characters. When possible, she does the same with the in Death books, writing three in a row before returning to contemporary romances. Her trilogies are all released in paperback, as Roberts believes the wait for hardcover editions is too long for the reader.Roberts does much of her research over the Internet, as she has an aversion to flying.She is an ardent baseball fan, having been honored by the local minor league baseball team Hagerstown Suns several times.
She began to write during a blizzard in February 1979 while housebound with her two small boys. Roberts states that with three feet of snow, a dwindling supply of chocolate, and no morning kindergarten she had little else to do. While writing down her ideas for the first time, she fell in love with the writing process, and quickly produced six manuscripts. She submitted her manuscripts to Harlequin, the leading publisher of romance novels, but was repeatedly rejected. Roberts says,
I got the standard rejection for the first couple of tries, then my favorite rejection of all time. I received my manuscript back with a nice little note which said that my work showed promise, and the story had been very entertaining and well done. But that they already had their American writer. That would have been Janet Dailey.
Dailey would go on to be embroiled in a plagiarism scandal in which she eventually confessed to stealing some of Roberts' work.
In 1980, a new publisher, Silhouette books, formed to take advantage of the pool of manuscripts from the many American writers that Harlequin had snubbed. Roberts found a home at Silhouette, where her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981. She used the pseudonym Nora Roberts, a shortened form of her birth name Eleanor Marie Robertson because she assumed that all romance authors had pen names.Between 1982 and 1984, Roberts wrote 23 novels for Silhouette. They were published under various Silhouette imprints: Silhouette Sensation, Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Desire, as well as Silhouette Intrigue, and MIRA's reissue program. In 1985, Playing the Odds, the first novel in the MacGregor family series, was published. The book was an immediate bestseller.In 1987, she began writing single title books for Bantam. Five years later she moved to Putnam to write single title hardcovers as well as original paperbacks. She reached the hardcover bestseller lists with her fourth hardcover release, 1996's Montana Sky. Roberts has continued to release single-title novels in paperback. She still occasionally writes shorter category romances. Her attachment to the shorter category books stems from her years as a young mother of two boys without much time to read, as she "[remembers] exactly what it felt like to want to read and not have time to read 200,000 words."Roberts and her career were featured in Pamela Regis' A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Regis calls Roberts "a master of the romance novel form, because she "has a keen ear for dialogue, constructs deft scenes, maintains a page-turning pace, and provides compelling characterization." Publishers Weekly once talked about her "wry humor and the use of different narrators, two devices that were once rarities" in the romance novel genre.
J. D. Robb
Roberts had long wanted to write romantic suspense novels in the vein of Mary Stewart, but, at the urging of her agent, she concentrated on classic contemporary romance novels while she built a following of readers. After moving to Putnam in 1992, the publishing company quickly realized that they were unable to keep up with Roberts's prolific output. They suggested that she adopt a second pseudony.... Discover the Nora Roberts popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Nora Roberts books.