When I burned out of HistoRom, I was lost on where to start with Contemporaries. My library at the time didn't have much contemporary romances available that didn't have Adirondack chairs on the covers. And browsing through Amazon seemed like a bad plan. Since I had no idea on how to begin I asked for recs on twitter. I asked Sarah Wendell, specifically as I was huge listener of her podcast with Jane Litte and I knew she read a lot of them. She suggested I start out with Ruthie Knox and Shannon Stacey. These were fantastic recs, as they are both authors I still read to this day. Stacey's Kowalski series, set in a small New Hampshire town is still one my favorite small town contemporary series.
But the first contemporary I tried was actually Ruthie Knox's About Last Night. And to be honest I didn't really like it the first time I read it. I didn't like Neville a lot and I wasn't quite sure what to make of Cath. But there was there that when I saw the first novella in her Camelot series, with How to Misbehave was on sale, I decided to try it. Reading Amber was a little like reading about myself 15 years before. Her hesitancy and distance from her sexual self was painfully familiar as was her struggle with her faith and always having been known as a good girl. I eventually feel in love with Ruthie Knox's writing, with her flawed heroines's struggles and I recognized the suburban communities they lived in. I slowly ventured further and further into contemporaries from there, discovering Cara McKenna, MaryAnn Rivers, Audra North, Delphine Dryden and other of the Wonkmance writers closely associated with Ruthie Knox.
My current go-to-authors for contemporary romance are Alisha Rai, Lauren Dane, Kristen Ashley, Farrah Rochon, Emma Barry, Molly O'Keefe, Lucy Parker, Laura Florand, Ruby Lang, Victoria Dahl and Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson are just some my go-to authors writing contemporary romance.
So who are your go-to-authors? What makes for a good contemporary romance? Is there anything that defines this broad genre?