Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts Biography

Author (1950–)
Nora Roberts is a popular American romance writer, pumping out more than 200 titles over a career that has spanned more than three decades.


Nora Roberts was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, in 1950. She wrote her first story in 1979, when she was snowed in during a now-famous blizzard. Her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published two years later. Over the next two years, Roberts published 23 more novels, finally catching the public's attention in 1985 with Playing the Odds. That novel was a breakthrough for Roberts, and she became a fan favorite, in the process transforming the romance genre. Roberts has published more than 140 novels since 1981, chiefly romance, and there are 127 million copies of her books in print in the United States alone.

Early Years

Famed romance novelist Nora Roberts was born Eleanor Marie Robertson on October 10, 1950, in Silver Spring, Maryland, to parents of Irish descent. The youngest of five children, Roberts always loved reading, which was fueled by her parents. Roberts married her first husband, Ronald Aufdem Brinke, in 1968, shortly after graduating from high school, and a few years later, had two sons to look after in her Keedysville, Maryland, home. She spent her spare time crafting for many years, until a fateful blizzard came along in February 1979.

Snowed in with her young boys (who were 3 and 6 years old at the time), Roberts turned to her latent storytelling skills and began writing down, with pencil and paper, a story that she'd previously thought up. With that first story, of course, history was set in motion. Roberts produced several manuscripts over the next year or two, received rejection letters from publishers, and then, in 1981, sold her first book, Irish Thoroughbred, to Silhouette, a romance publisher.

The Author Emerges

Roberts apparently had a lot of pent-up stories to unleash on the reading public: From 1982 to 1984, she wrote 23 more novels. Despite the sheer volume of her output, Roberts didn't find her way into the spotlight until her 1985 romance novel, Playing the Odds, hit the market. The book was an instant hit, moving her to the front burner for a great many romance readers (and launching a best-selling series). Success may have come through Roberts's approach, which transformed romance's typical nubile heroines and cardboard-cutout heroes into more down-to-earth, realistic characters.

The Best-Sellers

In 1985, Roberts married her second husband, Bruce Wilder, whom she met when she hired him to build bookshelves in her home. Roberts's torrential writing pace never really waned after her initial spurt, and from 1991 until 2001, all 68 of the novels she published made it onto The New York Times' best-seller list. In 1999 and 2000, four of the five best-selling romance novels on USA Today's best-seller list were penned by Roberts, and in 2000 alone, she had 13 best-sellers, several hitting No. 1.

In all, there are more than 127 million copies of Roberts's books in print in the United States, and she has published more than 140 novels. When she's not writing traditional romance novels, she writes futuristic romantic suspense under the pen name J.D. Robb, which allows her to branch out into even more areas of creativity. Her books have been printed in dozens of countries around the world, and many of them have been adapted into TV movies.

Having received nearly every romance writing award available, Roberts became the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame in 1986. She is a charter member of the Romance Writers of America and a member of the Mystery Writers of America.

Recent Releases

Roberts continues to be a prolific author. In 2013, she released Calculated In Death, Whiskey Beach, and Thankless in Death. In 2014, she released Concealed in Death, The Collector, and Festive in Death. In 2015, she’s released the latest J.D. Robb book Obsession in Death and Devoted in Death is slated for sale in September. She also released The Liar.

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