Books That Influenced Me

My career in writing took a long and winding road and I thought it would be fun to post some of the romance books that heavily influenced me. Back in the 70s and 80s with western romance yet to make much of an appearance I haunted bookstores for anything about Pirates, English and Scottish lords and ladies and especially Gypsies. Just couldn’t get enough.

The #1 influencer for me was Kathleen Woodiwiss. She told wrote the kind of stories that burrowed into your heart and wouldn’t leave. After the first one — The Flame and the Flower — I couldn’t get enough and read every one she published.

flameflowercopyShannaWolf and the Dove









Shirley Busbee was always on my list. I still remember Gypsy Lady and While Passion Sleeps. She could tell a story like nobody’s business, stories that were laden with emotion and richness.

Gypsy LadyWhile Passion Sleeps








Johanna Lindsey fed my craving for pirates. She wrote some of the best books I’ve ever read–especially her Mallory series. And, coincidentally, it was her book “ANGEL” that made me want to write western historical romance. That had the best outlaw in it. At that time, western romances were still not widely published.

gentleroguetender rebel2Angel








The next author to take me by storm was Bertrice Small. The book that captured my heart was SKYE O’MALLEY. There were six in that series and I read every single one many times over. She wrote other series as well but they didn’t engulf me like Skye O’Malley.

Skye O'Malley

All My Sweet TomorrowsThis Heart of Mine









Sharon Ihle began writing western historical romances in the 1990s and I read all I could find of hers–The Bride Wore Spurs, Marrying Miss Shylo, The Law and Miss Penny, The Marrying Kind and others.

It’s during this period I ran across Pamela Morsi. Courting Miss Hattie, Marrying Stone, Simple Jess, Garters, Sweetwood Bride, Sealed With a Kiss. She, along with Jodi Thomas and Linda Lael Miller, cemented my desire to write western historical romances.

While I read tons of books down through the years, these were the most instrumental in my life. I’ve enjoyed going down memory lane. Such fun to look back and see where I came from. 🙂 I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey.

How far back does your history in romance go? Are there any that really called to your soul or shaped you in some way?

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About LindaBroday

I'm a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of western historical romance. I love stories of the old West and the people who once lived there. I haunt libraries and museums and can hang out in them for hours. To tell all the stories that are in my head would take a lifetime.


Books That Influenced Me — 6 Comments

  1. What a fun post, Linda! You listed so many of my favorites from when I first started reading romance. My #1 influencer was also Kathleen Woodiwiss. Her Civil War story “Ashes in the Wind” was the first romance I read (when I was a teenager). I adored it and have been hooked on historical romance ever since.

    • Hi Jacqui! Thank you for coming over. So happy to see you. It seems Kathleen Woodiwiss played a huge roll in the majority of writers over the age of 40. She was just an amazing woman with a huge talent. I loved “Ashes in the Wind” also. In fact, I loved each book she wrote and they’re still on my keeper shelf. Kathleen was a trailblazer and she left us a clear path to follow.

      I’d love to see your keeper shelf. I’ll bet I’d find it most interesting. Thanks again for coming!

  2. I have read some of these books you mentioned. I got into Constance O’Banyons books years ago and I still have all of her books stored away, loved them. Also Bobbie Smith. They wrote a few series together.

    • Hi Quilt Lady! I smile every time I see your name. You’re just a delight. I never read Constance O’Banyon’s books but I’ll bet they’re top quality. I think I would’ve liked them. I met Bobbie Smith in Houston, TX one year (maybe 1992) at a Romance Writers of America conference. She was so nice. I read some of hers and they were good.

      Thanks so much for coming to comment. I appreciate it.

  3. I didn’t really start reading romances until I was 50 or so. I will admit the bodice ripper covers had a lot to do with it. I found a copy of THE PRIZE by Julie Garwood that had a lovely scarf and jeweled broach cover. Read that and bought every one of her historicals. I started reading Harlequin Historicals and concentrated on medieval set books, a favorite. THE WOLF AND THE DOVE is also a favorite. Finally I found some Westerns and found my other favorite. Linda Lael Miller, Johanna Lindsey and others. Since finding Petticoats and Pistols, I have found many more.

    • Hi Patricia! How wonderful to see you. Thank you for coming. I agree with you on the bodice ripper covers. Oh my gosh, some were really bad and they barely had any clothes on. That hurt the romance industry in a huge way that we’re still paying for today. Yes, Julie Garwood had some of the most elegant historical romance covers. Maybe she was the one who opened the industry’s eyes. People don’t have to be naked to sell books. I’m sorry those covers set you back. But I dare say that you’re catching up fast. Covers have so much to do with selling books.

      Thanks again for coming and strolling down memory lane with me. Hugs!