Simona Ahrnstedt – Introducing Romance

Hi friends!

Welcome to Read-A-Romance Month 2016!

If you’re a new visitor to RARM, I hope you’ll come back every day in August to read all the wonderful pro-romance posts this year. Check out the full calendar here. You can also find links to the last three years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook. Enjoy August!


The Best In the World

I live and work in Sweden, land of ABBA, Björn Borg and Avicii. Also a country where the Romance genre is virtually unknown.

I know. It’s almost impossible to fathom. But in Sweden we have crime and women’s lit and a lot of literary ALL INauthors (home of the Nobel prize, you know). But romance? Never ever heard of it. At the book store shelves you will find a few Nora Roberts, EL James and some Sylvia Day – sorted alphabetically under fiction. In supermarkets you will find your monthly Harlequin-releases. But other than that? Nothing. No romance-shelves, no knowledge about the genre, no romance books. Nothing. Zip. Rien.

I started to write my first novel in 2007. I was an ordinary working mom with a dream to write. I come from a literary background, but I didn’t want to write about anything other than larger-than-life love. I had read romances in English (Judith McNaught and Eloisa James) and decided to write the first Swedish romance novel. I was convinced everybody would love it. For I loved romance and therefore there had to be more readers like me. Well, there was, eventually. It took some time to find them, my Swedish romance-reading soul mates. I wrote three historical romances – and I got readers. For many years I was the only Swedish romance writer. It was rather lonely. Being the only one. It also meant that I spent a huge proportion of time to explain to every journalist, blogger and reviewer I met what romance actually is.

Oh dear, the bafflement and skepticism I have met.

It’s about LOVE, you say? (wrinkled forehead, trying to wrap mind around whole concept)

It always ends with an HEA? (saucer-eyes)

But, but … (giving up)

The SKEPTICISM I have met. The ignorance and the prejudice. But also the love, of course.

Over the years I have persevered. I have written romance, talked romance and taught romance. I have also written three contemporary romances and become an international bestseller. Today, in 2016 we are actually seeing something of a Swedish romance wave in my country. More publishers are translating and publishing foreign (mostly US and UK) romances. A handful of Swedish writers have begun trying their luck in the genre. And romance is being discussed. On blogs, in podcasts and magazines and even on television. Because the readers are there. And what wonderful readers they are! The romance readers: truly the best ones in the entire world.

Simona Ahrnstedt recommends: 

Eloisa James   –    (at Amazon)   —   she is a queen. I love and own all her books.

Tessa Dare   –    (at Amazon)    —  smart, funny, unique. Every book is a must-read.

Alisha Rai   –    (at Amazon)   —   I adore her sexy, sexy books.

Lenora Bell   –    (at Amazon)    —   a fresh new voice in historical romance.

Tiffany Reisz  –  (at Amazon)   —   the most worship-worthy author I’ve ever read. A goddess.

Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment in your life when you felt romance surrounding you.

As I’m writing this piece the Swedish summer is at its most magical peak. The nights are light, the sun just touches the horizon before it starts rising. I sleep less and feel close to the nature. Magical, because we have such a harsh, dark climate most of the year. The summer nights are the most romantic you can imagine, seductive, happy, promising.

 Tell us about someone special in your life (other than your partner) with whom you share romance.

 The person that I share the most magical romance-moments with is my ex-sister-in-law (my ex-husbands sister) Petra. She reads all my books, several times. She loves romance with an almost fierce passion and with her I can discuss every aspect of romance. What makes a hero sexy? What makes a heroine likable? What makes people vulnerable. I truly have had some of my very best romance-moments with Petra. It’s a powerful feeling, right? The female bonding over the shared interest in romance novels.

Do you have a place in the world or a sound that you equate with romance?

Swedish castles have to be the most magical, mythical places one can visit. We have medieval castles. Castles in the city. Castles from every century. If you ever come to Sweden, make time to visit one of them. My favorite is Skokloster, a baroque castle built in the 1670s. A white palace, built overlooking the inlet, with a fascinating history. And a café with amazing pastries.

 Who is your (or a) favorite romantic couple?

I have so many favorite couples. As one does. But I would like to choose two constellations – to show the breadth and wide variety of romance. First: Royce Westmoreland and Jennifer Merrick in the Judith McNaught novel Kingdom of Dreams, a novel that introduced me to romance and a couple that set its own standard. Second: the lovely, wicked, sexy threesome Devi Malik, Marcus Callahan and Jace Callahan in Glutton for Pleasure, a novel by Alisha Rai. A modern must-read.

 Tell us about your dream date.  

Sweden is famous for its archipelago, the rugged cliffs of the west coast, and the soft, lush islands of the east coast. To sit in the sunset, on smooth cliffs, the salty water of the sea lapping at your toes, eating freshly grilled prawns, sipping pink champagne – that would be my dream date. At least if a lot of comfy pillows to sit on were involved.

Simona Ahrnstedt is generously giving away two copies of ALL IN, one to an international winner and one to a US reader.  To enter the giveaway, leave a comment below or on the *Facebook post you’ll find here (or both – Share the Love!) ;o) by 11:59 pm PST Aug 20, 2016. Good luck! 

***International friends, be sure to include your country in your comment so we know to include you in the international drawing.  Good luck!

(*You don’t have to like the FB page, but we do recommend it. It’s easier to contact you if you win. Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.)

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading


Simona AhrnstedtSimona Ahrnstedt, born in Prague in 1967, is a licensed psychologist, a cognitive behavioral therapist and a swedish romance author. In the last couple of years she has pioneered the new wave of Swedish romance that is sweeping the country and she is passionate about.

Having studied film and languages as well as law, writing came easily to her. After publishing three historical novels she launched her first contemporary novel in 2014, ALL IN. It sold to 17 countries including the US, UK and Germany. Simona who is an avid feminist, and a passionate cheese lover lives outside of Stockholm with her two teenage kids and two incredibly stupid siamese cats. She is not a crazy cat woman. Yet.

Learn more:     |     Facebook     |     Twitter


Buy Simona Ahrnstedt’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

  • Bube

    Enjoyed reading this interview 🙂
    I hope one day I will visit Sweden castles ☺
    All In sounds fantastic and the cover is amazing!
    Thank you ☺
    Also commented and shared FB post ☺

    • xoxo – this book is great. I’m right in the middle of it on audio. :o)

      • Bube

        Happy Reading Bobbi xoxo 🙂

      • Simona Ahrnstedt


    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you! And thank you! 🙂

    • Ada H

      Hi Bube, this is Ada and I’m helping with the RARM drawings. You have been chosen as Simona Ahrnstedt’s winner. Please send a message with your email address to me at and we’ll put Simona in touch with you. Thanks and Congrats!

      • Bube

        Woo hoo!
        So excited that I won this book!*yay!**happy dance*
        Thanks for the amazing book prize 🙂
        PM on the way Ada 🙂

  • Molly

    You are a new author to me but I will have to try one of your books really soon.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      I hope you will enjoy them! Thank you for your comment!

  • cheryl c.

    How fun to discover a Swedish author! My mother’s family is Swedish, and I hope to visit there in a couple of years.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Oh how wonderful – I do hope you visit sometime; it´s so gorgeous!


    You and I have something in common. I had never read a romance novel until at the library I picked up Until You by Judith McNaught. I was overwhelmed. I still love her writing.

    I have several authors who are on my list of favorites. I am so grateful to Ms McNaught for the gift she gave me.

    I have never been to Sweden, but from the pictures I have seen, I know it is a beautiful place. You are fortunate to live there. Thank you for your post.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you Anette for your kind words – yes, we owe Judith McNaught a great deal.

  • Eileen Aberman Wells

    Thank you for your post. I’m amazed that Romance isn’t read everywhere. Thank you for sharing it and promoting it. You recommended an awesome list of authors, some of my favorites.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you so much for your comment, Eileen.

  • rebecca moe

    How wonderful that you’ve brought an entire genre to your country! I can’t even imagine having to explain romance to everyone all the time–wow. Your book’s (All In) been on my TBR since the RT article–it looks wonderful!

    Thank you for posting 🙂

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you Rebecca – I hope you will like it! Thank you for commenting!

  • Linda Henderson

    I’ve not read any of your books but I’ll definitely be looking for them. I can’t imagine living somewhere with no romance books.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you Linda – and hopefully we will se a wave of swedish romance writers!

  • Pamby50

    New author. I am so glad you are enlightening the Swedish population about romance books. I love Judith McNaught! You have just made me add Sweden to my bucket list. I love castles and the ones you described, sound amazing.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Oh Pamby50 – the swedish castles are so lovely – hope you get to see them!

  • catslady

    I wonder if there are other countries out there that offer few romances – what a shame! Glad you changed a lot of minds!

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you catslady!

  • I often say to a friend of mine that I read all the genres, but not historical biographies and swedish crime story or swedish misteries. In my country there is a literary publisher, Iperborea, that is publishing swedish, norwish authors. I have read some of them. But now I can read a Swedish romance author!! I’m very happy.
    (Marinella from Italy)

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      I´m happy too, Marinella!

  • Debbie Fuller

    Looking forward to reading your books. Thank you for the author recommendations, some known to me and some not.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you, Debbie! Hope you will like them!

  • Sue G.

    I’m glad that romance books are catching on in Sweeden…that would be sad to not have access to them.

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Yes, sad indeed. Hopefully romance will thrive in Sweden!

  • mariannewestrich

    My father instilled a love of ABBA in me. How wonderful to find an author from Sweden, too!

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Thank you Mariannewestrich

  • Chanpreet

    Kindgom of Dreams is one of those epic romances and the favorite of many! Including me! It was my first book by Judith McNaught.

    I’m very glad you were determined to write and release a romance. It’s quite an accomplishment to be the first foreign romance author to be translated into English. It’s also pretty awesome there will be more Swedish romance readers discovering a whole new genre!

    • Simona Ahrnstedt

      Yes – I ADORED Kingdom of dreams! Thank you for commenting, Chanpreet!

      • Chanpreet

        You’re welcome! 🙂

  • Ann Mettert

    The Swedish castles sound amazing.

  • Mary McCoy

    Tusen takk for your post!