Day 27 Jude Deveraux – A Sense of Belonging

Connection, Care & True Love

What I like about romance is the feeling of family, the sense of belonging — which is why I like to write about characters who are related and who care about one another.I started writing because I couldn’t stand the rape sagas that were being printed. This was back in the late 70s and I was buying every romance that was put on the stands. At the time, I was teaching elementary school and what I loved to do was buy a romantic novel on Friday and stay up all night reading it. One Friday I bought 2 books and they were both rape sagas. The “hero” would rape a young woman until she said she loved him.True Love

Sickened, I threw both books across the room and turned out the light. I thought, If I read the perfect novel, what would the plot be?For three days I wandered around in a daze. I could hear dialogue, see characters in my mind. I thought that if I wrote down what was in my head they would go away and leave me alone. About 600 handwritten pages later I had finished the book and I paid my next door neighbor’s daughter to type it.

I sent it to a publishing house that had pretty covers (Avon) and they wrote back asking if they could please publish it, sent what I thought was a lot of money, and would I please write some more.

The next day I quit my teaching job and haven’t stopped writing since.

In the ensuing years I have tried to write about people who are different and about the love that they find. And I have tried to show why they like each other. I’ve never understood how 2 people who hate each other throughout the book can suddenly say, “I love you,” at the end and that makes it all right.What has made writing romances so gratifying to me is when readers say I helped them during a bad time in their lives.

The best compliment I ever had was at an autographing when a woman told me she’d driven 400 miles to meet me. She said that she ran a safe house for battered women and she passed out my novels to them as textbooks. “This is how a man is supposed to treat you,” she told them.

I like the idea of making people feel good, of making them smile. Our personal lives rarely go the way we want them to, and we don’t find the True Love that we dream about, so it’s nice to read of a world where it happens. In our lives we ask for help but it isn’t given, but in the worlds I like to create, people see what we need and offer it without being asked. It is nice to escape for a while.

I think that the reason romances sell so many copies is because people need the feel- good stories. Romance novels don’t get the awards and praise that the books that feature characters who live in misery do (the more rotten the life, the more awards) but I think they really and truly help people. To be transported from chemo to a world where beautiful men ride black stallions and carry violet-eyed ladies through the moonlight is worth a lot.A family and True Love. I don’t think there is more than that to life.



Questions for Jude:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

A collection of huge, giant T-shirts. I love to wear them all day long when I think no one will see me.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

I can’t even title my own books much less a movie, but I know that Meryl Streep would play me.

What is the best non-monetary gift you ever received?

Kindness in any form at any time.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

A Knight in Shining Armor.

You are reading this essay at Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.

Jude and Ballantine/Random House are generously donating five copies of True Love to give away to US residents (apologies to International readers).  To enter the domestic contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 27 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.

Also visit the Awesome Contests page to register this week to win a Kindle Paperwhite and “A Month of Romance” (31 books) from Amazon Montlake, or  the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!


Jude DeverauxJude Deveraux was born in Fairdale, Kentucky, the eldest of a family of three girls and one boy. After earning a degree in art from Murray State University and studying teaching at the University of New Mexico, she taught fifth grade in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She left when her first book, The Land of Enchantment, was accepted for publication by Avon books.

Jude’s first books were historical, chiefly featuring the Montgomery and Taggert families. Stories of the lives and loves of these families spanned over several centuries in the US and England. They are filled with details of the history and culture of the time periods and settings of her novels. Her more recent series of books focuses on the McTern family and its descendants. The novels are set in the fictional town of Edilean, Virginia, and go from when the family arrived in America to contemporary time.

Jude’s exhaustive research on every aspect of her books has made for a rich and detailed background for each of her novels. Her stories are adventurous, funny, and at times heartwarming. Jude has had over thirty books on the New York Times Bestsellers List, over 60 million copies in print, and has been translated into 18 languages.

Jude has lived in England and Egypt as well as in several American states, and she has traveled around the world. She likes to read nonfiction and murder mysteries, and work in her garden. In boxing class, she enjoys showing much younger males that she can throw a mean right cross.

Buy Jude’s books at Amazon.

  • Jen C

    I’ve come across a few books I want to throw across the room. (Yours weren’t any of them of course!) Great post! 🙂

  • Melanie Backus

    I love your story and I am so glad you reached that point where you decided you were going to make a difference in romantic writing. Boy, did you ever make a difference! Thank you and keep it up, girl!

  • Kim Cornwell

    I think I found a new author I’m going to like! Thanks for sharing and stopping by.

  • Erlinda Mejia

    A long time ago, I walked into my favorite bookstore to buy the latest LaVyrle Spencer and when I went up to the cashier to pay she said “if you like her, you’ll LOVE Jude Devereaux.” So I went back and bought A Knight In Shining Armor. I have been an avid reader of your work ever since. I too hated rape romances (oxymoron, emphasis on moron) and fell in love with the fashionably wonderful Montgomery /Taggert families. They may have been reluctant, but they knew how to treat a woman. And when they fell in love….well, it was breathtaking. Thank you Ms. Devereaux for so many years of extraordinary heroes and women with spine and brains. Thank you for sharing your talent and stories with us. Thank you.

  • mariannewestrich

    I’m so glad to say Romance today is so much more than what you were reading in the 70’s. Thank you for bringing that to us!

  • Nancy Huddleston

    I love reading your books. The Taggert and Montgomery’s became my extended family. I wanted them to be my brothers, cousins, and future husband. I was 12. Thank you for the many years of enjoyment.

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    Your books sound wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  • Jess Clever McQuaid

    My absolute favorite is The Summerhouse. I could not put it down, and it’s one of those stories that always lingers in my mind. Simply terrific!

  • MK

    It’s cool to find out you lived in New Mexico also!

  • Lucimar Cardoso de Araújo Cost

    I cry very, very with Lavender Morning, I enjoy Remembrance and A Knight in Shining Armor. In my country – Brazil, I love read The mullberry Tree (Amores e Amoras), fascinated me because recipes and attraction that caused the flavors. Adorable reading.

  • Anne

    Thank you for the essay. I have enjoyed the town of Edilean, VA and its wonderful inhabitants. Keeps writing, please.

  • Lisa Glidewell

    Thank you for being here today! I so adore you! A Knight in Shining Armor was the very first romance novel I ever read. It was stuck back on the wrong shelve at the old library near my grandparents house. I snatched it up and I don’t think I put it down for a whole week. I remember reading it over and over again. It was you who created my love for reading as well my love for romance novels. I thank you! 🙂

  • Meredith Richardson

    I just love your books!!

  • Martha Lawton

    love your writing and your essay!

  • jcp

    Thank you.

  • Ann Mettert

    My favorite of yours has always been A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR. 🙂

  • Laurie W G

    The “Velvet”series ws my first exposure to your writing. Your storyTHE BLESSING brought tears to my eyes. I have been reading your books since the 1980’s. Thank you!

  • Kareni

    Many thanks for your fine books over the years, Ms. Deveraux. I’m a long time romance reader who also remembers those romances from the seventies. We’ve come a LONG way!

  • someproseandcon

    “Knight in Shining Armor” is my favorite of your books — thanks for writing such a heart-felt story.

  • Valerie

    I love that your favorite gift is kindness… I wish more people felt that way

  • Kristen Pfister

    I first read A Knight in Shining Armour over 20 years ago. I find myself ‘re-reading it once a year. A friend from high school recently found me on Facebook. She said Every time I see a Jude Deveraux book on the shelf, I think of you. Do you still read her? Silly question. 🙂

  • Thank you so much, Jude, for sharing such a wonderful essay. We are all indeed blessed by your magical storytelling and continued success. xoxo

  • glittergirl54

    Thank you for being a “pioneer” in writing romance and leading it into the hope filled healing world it has become. And I thank you for giving publishers an option away from rape scenarios :-). It’s an awesome compliment that your books were given out as “text books” of how men are supposed to treat women!

  • Hannah Roberson

    I love your Edilean series, love how you tie in the historical and contemporary. You fall in love with the family from the beginning. And I agree completely about the rape sagas, that’s not love, love is never forced on you it just happens. It may need a little nudge but never like that.

  • Angie Rogers

    A Knight in Shining Armor was the first romance novel that I ever read, and to this day it is still my FAVORITE! I read it twice a year and it still makes me cry in the same spots every time. I also love the book Wishes! You do fantastic work and I love all the books you write.

  • Joanne Ozment

    Love your books.

  • lisa

    Jude, I have been reading your books for years. My first was a Knight in Shining Armor that a friend gave. I have been in love wth your books ever since. Thank you for all the wonderful stories you’ve written and those yet to come.

  • Britney Adams

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful essay! I can’t wait to go back and read A KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR!

  • girlygirlhoosier52

    I’ve enjoyed your writing for such a long time, but never realized that you went to Murray State. Go Racers!

  • Vonda M. Reid

    Thank you sharing your gift of storytelling. I have been reading your books for many, many years for exactly the reason you mentioned in your post:

    “Our personal lives rarely go the way we want them to, and we don’t find the True Love that we dream about, so it’s nice to read of a world where it happens. In our lives we ask for help but it isn’t given, but in the worlds I like to create, people see what we need and offer it without being asked. It is nice to escape for a while.”

  • suzbuz

    Hmmm. Something happened to my post. Let’s try again. I love your take on romance novels, and have avidly read your books since I started reading romances over ten years ago. Favorites? Montgomery/Taggert, of course!
    I have come to loathe what you call rape romances. I don’t understand how one can come to adore someone who has used you cruelly and without respect or kindness. Smacks of abuse. Those are the books I leave depressed after reading. Now I don’t even take the time to finish that kind of book, unlike your own, which I savor to the end. Thank you, Jude!

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you for your post and all your books.

  • Beth Re

    Thank you for your books

  • suepeace

    What a great write up!! 🙂 I love your books!!

  • Shannon Watson

    I always enjoy reading your book, Jude! They always put a good smile on my face. 🙂 I am glad that you avoided the rape sagas because they always bothered me too. Keep doing what you do!

  • Pamby50

    When I was in the rehab facility learning to walk again, my friends brought me all kinds of romance books. They told me I had to start with you seeing your name is spelled so much like mine. Mine ends in eux not aux like yours. I met the Montgomery men first. I’ve read everything else you’ve written. Thanks for your great stories.

  • Morgan

    What a great story. Thanks for sharing!

  • Kathy Colligan

    I am a huge fan of the Montgomery’s & Taggert’s. I’ve read all their stories and will continue to due so. I love them all! You are a wonderful writer and reading your books always makes me fell better. Thanks!

  • MaryC

    Thank you for the wonderful stories you write – looking forward to reading many more.

  • Larena Hubble

    I know I love to read romances because reality isn’t always fun and romances give you a chance to escape to a world that in the end works out. They can also help you laugh even when you are going through a bad period in life.

  • Marcy Shuler

    I love your writing. A Knight in Shining Armor is one of my most favorite books!

  • Fern Martin

    Yep, Knight in Shining Armor is the one that got me hooked on your books. Love everyone of them. The is depth of the characters while the period history is right on. My bookshelves are covered with your books.

  • Eileen Wetterstrom

    I read so many books, it is sometimes hard to remember what they are about and harder to keep them apart. So I tell myself, that if a story stays with me for any length of time, then I know that it was written well and unique. Your book A Knight in Shining Armor I read, and loved it. I probably read it more than 6 months ago. It blended the paranormal with romance, in two different time periods. Very memorable. We have something in common, I see. You have lived in the Middle East. I have, too — Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Travel definitely helps make a person.

  • Evelyn S

    I grew up reading your books!! My mom is a big fan and I used to sneak your books off of her bookshelf!! 🙂

  • Kimberly Watson

    I’ve been reading your books for years Jude & I love them all. A Knight in Shining Armor is one of my all time favorites and a standard I often hold other books to. OK, this book is great but is it as great as A Knight in Shining Armor?

  • I really enjoyed reading your essay today. I love how you came to write! And I’m so glad you did. 🙂

  • Elizabeth Gray

    Jude Deveraux is the first author, along with Nora Roberts, that I remember reading. As three generations of readers, my mom would hand her books to my sister, then I would get them. Jude is one of the very few, as in maybe 3, authors that I will read historicals by. Loved the Montgomerys, the Taggerts, etc. You were my introduction to reading that I can never thank you for enough.

  • Melissa Sullivan

    What a great post! I’m always interested in hearing how authors start their writing careers. All of you gave such interesting backstories.

  • Glenda

    I love the novel series that follow families through several generations! I also hate, hate, hate the ‘rape sagas’ that set such horrible examples for young women!!

  • Susan Gwisdala

    I love A Knight in Shining Armor. I have five copies and have read it twice a year since it first came out. For me, it’s right up there with Gone With the Wind.

  • Ann

    Love your books! I am a series reader, and love “checking in” with characters at different points in time. I love following the families through various times, as well.

  • MooMoo Cake

    Romance novels should really be used as textbooks. I love your books and am glad for the chance to win a copy of True Love. Thanks!

  • Patricia Ann Sanders

    I love your books. They help me escape. I can block out the world and live in a time when people treated each other with respect and cared to do the right thing. We are sadly lacking this these days.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    That is such a great story of how you sold your first book! I read books to make me feel good & smile, too! I also have a big concert t-shirt collection!

  • Ketta Peters

    I love family sagas, so I’ve added your books to my wishlist.

  • Sue G.

    Don’t include me in the give a way because I already own True Love. I just adore Jude Deveraux’s books. The Montgomery Brother’s are still my favorite but the Edilean series is a close second! Thanks for the wonderful books you write! Gavin Montgomery is still one of my all time favorite heroes. Sigh….

  • Marcia Berbeza

    I’m with you about “quality” literature. I’m a school librarian and I hate some of the Newbery Award winning books because they are so depressing. You move up to YA literature and you get all kinds of books about rape, incest, etc. I WANT my happily ever after. I’ve earned it, I deserve it! And I appreciate the authors who can give it to me!! Keep up the good work!

  • Brenda E

    Thank you for your post, Jude. Seems like I’ve been reading your books forever. My favorite has always been A Knight in Shining Armor. However, there is one you wrote that I would absolutely love to see made into a movie, and that’s “Wishes.” What a fun and sweet movie that would make.

  • BookLady

    Love your books! My favorite is A Knight in Shining Armor. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance and for creating those happy ever after endings.

  • rebecca moe

    Wonderful post!

  • Bernadette Long

    A Knight in Shining Armor is one of my favorite romance novels! It’s such a wonderfully written story.

  • leah g

    That is an awesome story. I am glad you got fed up one week and decided to make something better to share with all of us!

  • Courtney Cogswell

    I’ve read so many of your books over thè years and I have always loved your characters. They have always left me with a smile when I finish each one. You were actually one of the first authors I started reading and I quickly devoured as many of your books that I could get my hands on at the library. Keep writing these amazing books that make so many people happy. The world needs more authors like you to spread joy and love. Thanks for your great post!

  • Nancy

    I haven’t read any of your books yet , but I hear good things. I’ll be sure to pick up a copy of A Knight in Shining Armor.Thanks for sharing your thoughts on romance!

  • Sandra Hudema

    My opinion of A Knight In Shining Armor is this: This is the best romance I’ve ever read!!!

  • Karin Anderson

    Yay for feel-good stories! I agree – if two people hate each other for 300 pages, how can they fall in love in 5?

  • Courtney Chance

    Omg! I did not know thats how she started writing romance novels! I love it 🙂
    I love jude Deveraux, Twin of Fire and Twin of Ice are the first novels o ever read from her after that, I was hooked 🙂

  • Stephanie M.

    My first JD book was A Knight in Shining Armor. I read it in paperback and then bought the hard cover because it was instantly a keeper for me. I still read it every so often and enjoy it all over again. Thank you for all your great stories, especially the ones with the Montgomery family.

  • Beverly DeeAnjello

    I remember the first time I read A Knight in Shining Armor and I remember the second and third time too.

  • Cindy A

    I love your books! My favorite of all time in Knight in Shining Armor. I have given that one to friends and sisters to read. It was the first time travel I read; it opened up a whole new dimension in my reading.

  • Barbara Leonard

    I have read your books for over 20 years and they never disappoint me. You’re one of the handful of authors who I can buy without knowing what the book is about. Please keep the stories coming. I adored True Love and had a tear in my eye as it ended. Don’t make us wait too long please.