Day 4 Stephanie Tyler – Romance Saves Us

Why Romance Saved Me

Celebrating Romance is probably the easiest thing you could ask me to do. I’ve never made it a secret that romance novels saved me during some of the most difficult moments of my life. It’s why I choseRunningWild_Final-3 to write romance above any other genre, and it’s why I’m such a proponent of the genre. I mean, what’s not to celebrate? I’m often quoted as saying that sex and love are two of the best things on earth, and they’re both the core of the romance novel.

I think it’s ironic—or timely or both—that I’m writing this blog about celebrating romance right now. You won’t see this until August, but I’m writing this in June, as my father is moved into home hospice, the culmination of a long illness. I’m hoping he will finally have some peace.

But how does this tie into romance? Some of you who’ve followed me for a while will know that I started reading and writing romance when my daughter was born with some serious medical issues. I always say that romance saved my life, and I truly mean that. And once again, I’m counting on the reading and writing to save me again. I know it will—it’s my therapy. My happy pill. My way of showing myself and everyone that love survives, that we can all be survivors, that even though bad things can and do happen, so do good things.

Romance is full of survivors. Warriors. The fact that people can go through so much and still find love and happiness in the end is not only inspiring to me, but it’s a truth. And it’s one I hear about from readers daily.

I’ve been celebrating romance as Stephanie Tyler since 2007. But since 2011, I’ve also been writing LGBTQ romance—specifically m/m romance—as SE Jakes. In May, I came out about my other name, grateful for the new readers I’d found in the genre. Writing as SE Jakes helped to inspire me to be a better writer, and helped me to find my center again. So for me, it always goes back to romance.


I hope you’ll give the following authors a try: Garrett Leigh, LA Witt, KA Mitchell, and Rhys Ford.

Questions For The Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

Visiting my husband’s birthplace, in Songea, Africa. We drove down the Tanzanian coast to the mission where he was born, and trust me, driving anywhere in Africa is no easy feat. But to be able to take that journey with him, to see the house he grew up in, the place where he spent his formative years…it’s just such a beautiful place. We’ve been back to Tanzania many times, and it never fails to inspire and comfort me.

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

Stephanie and her husband on honeymoon in Africa.

I swear I was born a writer—I’ve been seeing movies in my head, my characters, for as long as I can remember. I was always either reading, writing or listening to music, and that hasn’t changed. But after hearing so many times that you can’t make a living writing, I moved to other things within the lit community—I was a bookseller, a PhD candidate, an adjunct professor and a teacher…until finally, my daughter was born with serious medical problems.

All I remember doing for two years was being with her, whether that was in the hospital, in the rehab unit where I learned how to take care of her or in various other facilities many states away from my own, where wonderful doctors helped her quality of life. It was during that time that a nurse handed me a romance novel and I was like, ‘this. I can do this. I want to do this.’ It was because of the HEA, the feeling of escape reading romance gave me while allowing me to still stay physically next to my daughter. It was the fierce theme of survival that romance novels always seem to bring to the table. Maybe, until that time, I hadn’t been able to complete a book because I hadn’t found my niche. With romance, I’d found it in spades.

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

The book that changed my life was Cherry Adair’s Kiss & Tell – that was a book handed to me in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital by one of the nurses, and let me tell you how many times I read that book during my stay there with my daughter. Talk about a well-loved book—it is literally falling apart, but I will keep it forever.

Stephanie is generously offering three copies of any book of Stephanie Tyler or SE Jakes in either print or eBook, two for U.S. Readers (entry form at the bottom of the page) and one for an international winner (enter here).

Tyler-2-big-3Stephanie Tyler is the New York Times Bestselling author of romance novels spanning multiple genres, including Romantic Suspense, New Adult, Paranormal Romance and Contemporary Romance. Stephanie also writes LGBTQ romance as SE Jakes. First published in 2011, SE Jakes has quickly risen to be a bestselling author in the LGBT romance genre, as well as a fan favorite. Stephanie is also half the co-write team of Sydney Croft (along with Larissa Ione.)


Please visit Stephanie’s websites to learn more:

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  • TrishJ

    I love romance books because we know there will be a HEA, but the journey is such fun. I have several comfort reads that I go to when I need a hug. A special thanks to the authors that just get it right. Probably because they have been right where I am. I read to get through a crisis, maybe writers write to get through one.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Right, especially the great ones that you think, “there is NO way this HEA will happen!” And one hundred percent, this writer writes (and reads) to get through a crisis for sure. Writing is therapy – even just journal writing – I rec that to everyone!

  • Lynne Oberdieck Ernst

    I agree romance books have got me through the hardest times….and the good times too.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      That’s so true, Lynne! They’re all around reads for sure!

  • Kim

    I have loved romance books since I picked up my first one laying around my aunts house at around age 10 😉

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Kim, I do remember sneaking my mom’s historicals when I was around that age as well. Half the stuff I read I did NOT understand….:)

      • Kim

        Same here LOL It didn’t stop me though 😉

  • Connie Saunders

    Sometimes a good romantic read is the perfect medicine!!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Always, Connie!

  • Heather Prince

    I love romance. It has help me get through many lonely times while my husband was deployed or stationed far far away.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Oh, Heather, thank your husband (and you) for your service! I have several friends who are military wives, and I know how strong they have to be.

  • Erica H

    I agree that a romance novel can help you perservere and have hope!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Definitely, Erica! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  • Nicole Fortuna

    Wonderful essay. I love romance and it has helped me through some tough times. Now I am a constant reader of romance.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Nicole, it’s so hard to go back to other genres once you start romance! I do still read a ton outside but I can’t stray for long, because I really begin to miss the feel-good (and the angst, too 🙂

  • rebecca moe

    I love your answers to the last two questions. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Thanks, Rebecca! I truly believe romance saved me – it’s so cool to be able to pay that forward 🙂

  • Martha B

    Romance novels have helped me survive really hard, difficult life events. They’ve kept me sane when the world around me makes no sense.

    Since this was written two months ago, perhaps your father has passed? May the comfort of family and friends help in this difficult time. Be gentle with yourself and don’t expect to “bounce back” or “get over it” quickly. We grieve in different ways and in our own time.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Martha, yes, he died very peacefully mid-June. And thanks for saying that – I was telling some people that I was really surprised at the times it would ‘hit’ – I appreciate the ‘being gentle with yourself’ comment.

  • mariannewestrich

    Love your books! When I lost my father, reading was what kept me sane.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      YAY – thank you! Reading is…I don’t know what I’d do without it. I don’t understand people who don’t read – like genuinely, b/c I get so much out of it.

  • Mary Dieterich

    Thanks for telling us what romance means to you and how you got started.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      You’re welcome, Mary! Thanks for taking the time to catch up with my post 🙂 This is such a cool celebration.

  • Tonda Galloway Hargett

    It’s awe inspiring that so many of us turn to romance novels during difficult times. Thank you for sharing!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Tonda, romance novels have so much power…maybe that’s why the naysayers always fight so hard – they’re afraid of the power <—-I truly believe this.

  • Marie

    Thank you for your heartfelt post. I wish your family all the best during tough times, and I absolutely agree that romance is what can help carry people through. I’ve greatly enjoyed your books as SE Jakes, and I’m thrilled to know that I can try reading books in other series by you as well. Thanks again!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Thanks, Marie! And I’m thrilled you like the SEJ books…:)

  • Sue G.

    I hope all of your hard times are past you. *hugs* A few years back we went through 4 years of hell. I lost my father, father-in-law and brother all to cancer. It’s like we were living at hospitals. Reading and getting a happy ending somewhere always gave me hope.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      {{{HUGS}}}t to Sue – it always seems to happen at once…and then you’re on auto-pilot to get through it. I hope you’re doing okay, and I’m glad you found the outlet in reading too..

      • Sue G.

        I’m doing well. It’s been almost 10 years since my brother. That was the hardest…he was only 38 but I always find the positive things in life so that helps. Thanks!

  • Joan Varner

    Thank you for your post and the insights into how romance has helped you to get through the difficult times. I have often fallen back on tried and trued books that are keepers for me to get me through a difficult time.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Joan, there’s nothing better – old favorites of any kind (I will admit that, for some odd reason Sex and the City 2 is a comfort movie. I didn’t even love it so I’m not sure what I get out of it – but it’s something. It’s like my, 4AM can’t sleep so put it on and watch it movie…)

  • Patty Vasquez

    I’m glad you were able to come out as m/m author S.E. Jakes. It’s so important to be accepted and known as who you are! I’m not familiar with your books- a situation I’ll have to correct. Other m/m authors I would suggest include Harper Fox, Charlie Cochrane, and Josh Lanyon.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Everyone’s been wonderful about it (and I’d assumed for the most part that would happen 🙂 And yes, I know those three authors well and I highly rec them!

  • Sheila M

    Thanks for writing about how romance helps one get through life. I completely agree!

    • Stephanie Tyler

      You’re welcome – I firmly believe it!

  • Elizabeth Gray

    Loved Kiss and Tell. It was my introduction to Cherry Adair. Romance, mostly paranormal romance, is my escape from problems with my family. Recently began reading m/m. Lot of good authors, and I have added S.E. Jakes to that list.

    • Stephanie Tyler

      Thanks, Elizabeth! I’m due for a reread of K&T myself…:) And YAY for m/m – it’s a really wonderful genre!

      • Elizabeth Gray

        Yes, it is. I have gotten so many new authors to read by finding the genre.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    Great essay and I completely agree that romance helps us through the difficult times as well. Although, let’s be honest….I read romance no matter what is going on in my life 🙂 I’m super excited to check out your books as well as those you recommended!

  • SE, your books make the hard times better and the good times great! There really is something about getting so lost in a book, that you can come back to reality refreshed and focused. Uh, unless Prophet is involved and then I’m just dumbstruck for the rest of the day 😉

  • Pamby50

    I agree romance gets us through good times & bad times. That’s what I read through weeks in the hospital & months in rehab. I love Cherry Adair & look forward to reading a book of yours.

  • Emmel

    I find that romance helps me more in the bad times. It’s a great tool to have.

  • Janie McGaugh

    I, too, have found that romance can get you through tough times.

  • Glittergirl

    I so agree with you Stephanie. I read romance for the HEA and the story of love that comes with determination and hope. Romance books got me through both of my parent’s passing, Momma’s long drawn out 2 year journey of decline and Daddy’s rather quickly thereafter both within 3 weeks of each other. Books give us escape, laughter, journey and hope. I wish you the best with your Father’s journey.

  • Analiz

    Sometimes when life goes crazy it’s so comforting to know I can curl up with a book and let my mind take a journey that always has a happy ending.

  • donnas

    There is nothing like being able to just take a break and relax into a good book with characters you love. It helps to relieve the stress of our everyday lives. I truly believe fiction readers are more capable of dealing with things as they have this place to escape too for at least a few minutes.

  • Marcy Shuler

    Reading is definitely my happy pill, too.

  • Stephanie M.

    I am new to your books and since we share the same first name, it will be easy to remember you. Books have always helped me through good and bad times. They have even helped me get the “ugly cry” out of my system.

  • Jen C

    Yes, yes, and yes. Thank goodness for romances!

  • Texas Book Lover

    Reading is my absolutely my cure all!

  • M Kuxhaus

    Thank goodness for nurses!

  • Linnea Bassin

    I love finding new authors to read. I am definitely going to look for your books.

  • Meredith Richardson

    Oh wow I’ve always dreamed of traveling!! I bet Africa was a great adventure.

  • Karin Anderson

    I love your books in all the different genres! I’ve read at least one of each. 😉

  • Barbara E.

    I loved the post, it’s amazing what a difference one book made in your life. I’m glad you were inspired by romance, I think it inspires many of us.


    wow, oh cool is this. I am a fan of SE Jakes and Sydney Croft. thanks so much for sharing. It really is nice as a reader to learn about the author. thank you Stephanie for such a great post.

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    Wonderful post. I’m huge fan of all her books no matter the name she writes under. So glad she was inspired, cause she is an amazing author.

  • Hannah B

    I am a fan of SE Jakes, I will have to check out her books under Stephanie Tyler. Thanks for the giveaway.

  • Ann Mettert

    Great story.

  • Kristen J.

    I have loved every book of Stephanie’s I’ve read.

  • Anne

    Thank you for sharing. I have to admit that I haven’t read anyting you have written, but you just went onto my new authors list!

  • Erlinda Mejia

    I just ordered one of your books and am looking forward to reading it. Thanks for the heads up on other talented authors as well.

  • Erin F

    best of luck to you and your family. I totally agree that reading romance can help us through so many negatives in real life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Peni Anne

    Thank you for sharing Stephanie. I too started reading (again) when my new husband had surgery with complications. A few months later my son was born, that time I had the complications. Then I went through major depression and lost a few years before we found out our son, he was 4, had severe emotional behavioral disorders and my life revolved around doctor appoints. My faith and romance stories has kept me sane and out of depression for a long while now.

    As an avid reader, thank you for sharing your gift with me.

  • Ruth

    Thank you for sharing. Books can definitely help us in trying times.