The Male Authors of Vintage Romance

male authors of romance

Romance Is For Everyone

In the past, Sweet Savage Flame has focused on authors who used pseudonyms. We’ve posited reasons why romance writers would use pen names. One possibility given was that men were romance writers. As romance is often considered a woman’s topic, it’s understandable that male romance writers would favor an opposite-gendered moniker when publishing.

The realm of fictional violence has been historically masculine. Romance, on the other hand, has been consigned to the feminine sphere. Upon closer inspection, the matter is not so black-and-white. While females account for 82 to 85% of the romance genre readership, that still means many men enjoy love stories with happy endings.

Consider that romance is a billion-dollar industry, with a 30% market share of paperbacks alone. Romance lags (barely) behind only the suspense/thriller genre in total sales for adult fiction. In the United States, about 25 million romance books are sold annually. Despite being a primarily women’s domain, that means there are quite a few male romance readers. What about the writers?

male romance writers
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Men Who Wrote Romance Novels

Men were part of the 1970’s romance revolution, and to this day, they remain part of it as writers and readers. Most male writers published books under pseudonyms in the early years of historical romance.

A few years after the release of The Flame and the Flower, in 1976, Avon’s competitor Warner Books published Love’s Tender Fury by Jennifer Wilde. Wilde had released Gothics under the names Edwina Marlow and Beatrice Parker.

In reality, he was Thomas E. Huff of Texas, and his 550-page saga became a huge hit, receiving dozens of printings and selling multi-million copies. Written in the “savage” style of romance, it told the tale of indentured servant Marietta Danvers and her rocky relationship with the purported hero, Derek. However, Marietta had other lovers along the way.

Love's Tender Fury Jenneifer Wilde
Love’s Tender Fury, Jennifer Wilde, Warner Books 1976, Tom Hall cover art

Unsurprisingly, it turns out that Huff was among many men who were romance writers working under pseudonyms. Subsequently, we decided to find out who were the authors behind the names.

Robert Vaughan’s Take on Being a Male Romance Writer

“I wrote [them] as Patricia Matthews, made number one on the list. In 1981, I sold 6 million books. In my lifetime, I have probably sold 40 million books, but nobody knows who I am. Now, my wife Ruth and I are co-writing romance novels as Sara Luck.  She’s actually quite good at it, and I’m proud of her.  And though the Sara Luck books don’t have my name, Ruth and I at least own the name.”

ROBERT VAUGHAN

Men Who Write Romance

Below is a list of male writers who authored romance novels during the 20th century.

There are men since 2000 who now write romance but are not on this list. For example, men like Ilona Andrews or Sylvain Renard.

Nicholas Sparks, Robert James Waller, and similar authors are also not included, as they were/are not writers of the Romance genre in general.

List of Male Romance Writers (or Male & Female Duos)

A

  • Felicia AndrewsCharles Grant

B

  • Monica BarrieDavid Wind
  • Emma BlairIain Blair
  • Jessica Blair Bill Spence
  • Stephanie BlakeJack Pearl
    • Cousin to author Donald Bain aka Lee Jackson
  • Madeleine Brent – Peter O’Donnell
    • Brent had successfully published Gothics for years before the new bodice ripper era.
  • Elizabeth BrightTim Myers

C

  • Tori Carrington Lori Karayianni & Tony Karayianni
  • Shana CarrolKerry Newcomb & Frank Schaeffer (both men)
  • Lucy ClarkLucy Clark & Peter Clark
  • Jan CoffeyNikoo McGoldrick & Jim McGoldrick

D

  • Emma DarcyWendy Brennan & Frank Brennan
    • Until Frank’s death; then Wendy wrote by herself.
  • Fancy DewittPaul Fairman
  • Jennifer DaltonDavid Wind
  • Marilyn DavidsDavid Wind
  • Marilyn Davidson – David Wind
  • Diana DouglasRichard Wilkes-Hunter

F

  • Paula FairmanPaul Fairman
    • Fairman passed away in 1977. He was a prolific science fiction editor and writer who lived from 1916-1977. Fairman published two romances as Paula Fairman before he passed on. Later, Pinnacle Books, his publishing house, would continue to release Paula Fairman novels through a ghostwriter, a la V.C. Andrews. That “ghostwriter” was the even more prolific Robert Vaughan, author of bestseller Andersonville.
  • Caroline Farr Richard Wilkes-Hunter

G

  • Emma GoldrickEmma Sutcliffe-Goldrick & Robert Goldrick
  • Victoria GordonGordon Aalborg (We’ve reviewed one of his romances here)
  • Leigh GreenwoodHarold Lowry
    • Greenwood openly writes a man but uses a gender-neutral pseudonym

H

  • Caroline HartCharles Garvice
    • Unheard of today, but Garvice was the best-selling British romance author of his era, from the late Victorian to the Pre-World War I era, releasing over 150 romance novels.
  • Shirl HenkeShirl & Chuck Henke
    • Actually, Henke wrote all her books, but her husband would often guest-write a love or action scene, and Henke would leave you guessing which one it was.
  • Melissa Hepburne – Craig Broude
    • Broude is the only romance novelist to appear in his own book and have relations with the heroine, that scamp! I recommend reading his books with your butt unclenched, as his books are silly romps.

J

  • Lee Jackson – Donald Bain

K

  • Madeleine KerMarius Gabriel Cipolla

L

  • FabioFabio Lanzoni may have come with ideas for his books, but he has at least two ghost writers, one being Eugenia Riley.
  • Laura LondonSharon Curtis & Tom Curtis
  • Janet LovesmithPaul Fairman
  • Sara LuckRobert Vaughan & Ruth Vaughan

M

  • Edwina MarlowTom E. Huff
  • Shauna MarloweRichard Wilkes-Hunter
  • Patricia MatthewsPatricia Brisco Matthews & Clayton Matthews
    • The Matthews and their publishers claim she wrote her novels by herself, sometimes with the help of her husband. Matthews was labelled as “America’s First Lady of Historical Romance” after producing million-selling blockbuster after blockbuster. Interestingly enough, journeyman author Robert Vaughan claims responsibility for several of her bestsellers. We’ll follow up on this interesting discrepancy in a further article.
  • A.E. MaxwellEvan & Ann Maxwell
    • Author Elizabeth Lowell wrote some romances with her husband by combining the initials of her real name Ann Maxwell and her husband’s first name Evan.
  • May McGoldrickNikoo McGoldrick & Jim McGoldrick
  • Paula MoorePaul Fairman; Robert Vaughan

N

  • Christina NicholsonChristopher Nicole

P

  • Beatrice ParkerTom E. Huff

R

  • Barbara Riefe Alan Riefe
    • Riefe published many books with Playboy Press and other publishers, selling millions of copies.
  • Clarissa RossW.E.D. Ross
  • Marilyn RossW.E.D. Ross
  • Vanessa RoyallMike Hinkemeyer

S

  • Christina SavageKerry Newcomb & Frank Schaeffer (both males)
  • Gill SandersonRoger Sanderson
  • Con SellersConnie Sellers (male writing as a male)
    • Sellers was a rarity in that he used his real name to write Pulps, Western and Historical romances, such as Marilee and Sweet Caroline.
  • Janette SeymourMichael Butterworth
    • We’ve reviewed of his bodice rippers and they’re quite entertaining.
  • Katherine St. ClairTom E. Huff
  • Jessica StirlingHugh Crawford Rae & author Peggy Coghlan
  • Pamela SouthDonald Bain

W

Y

  • Alison YorkChristopher Nicole

**Saliee O’Brien & Francesca Greer** – Not a male, but often attributed as one. She was a woman named Frankie-Lee Griggs Weed Zelley Janas, who used several pseudonyms, male and female, especially Francis Leroy Janas.

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7 thoughts on “The Male Authors of Vintage Romance”

    1. Thank you! There were quitea few men back “in the day” who wrote Gothics and Historicals. Now with independent publishing, there are even more writing romance, and many unafraid to use their real names. The genre is diversifying in multiple ways!

  1. Also, Felicia Andrews, aka Charles Grant, wrote a handful of Romances in the late 70s and early 80s 🙂

    I have a sort of loose intention to collect Romances from the 70s and 80s written by men, but given how many there are, I don’t think I’m going to try to be complete about it!

  2. Though there might be some exceptions, it’s easy to tell which books are written by men. There’s more violence (often graphic), cruelty (including animals, which really bugs me), infidelity, rape, and – worst of all – heroines who get kidnapped, raped and used as sex slaves, but love every orgasmic minute. Few women would write such a story (unless the money was too hard to resist). I just started reading a book, but when I picked up on the warning signs (animals being killed for sport while the H and h watch), I stopped reading.

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