Nora Roberts : biography
In 1980, a new publisher, Silhouette books, formed to take advantage of the pool of manuscripts from the many American writers that Harlequin had snubbed.Regis, p 159 Roberts found a home at Silhouette, where her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981. She used the pseudonym Nora Roberts, a shortened form of her birth name Eleanor Marie Robertson, because she assumed that all romance authors had pen names.
Between 1982 and 1984, Roberts wrote 23 novels for Silhouette. They were published under various Silhouette imprints: Silhouette Sensation, Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Desire, as well as Silhouette Intrigue, and MIRA’s reissue program. In 1985, Playing the Odds, the first novel in the MacGregor family series, was published. The book was an immediate bestseller.
In 1987, she began writing single title books for Bantam. Five years later she moved to Putnam to write single title hard covers as well as original paperbacks. She reached the hardcover bestseller lists with her fourth hardcover release, 1996’s Montana Sky. Roberts has continued to release single-title novels in paperback. She still occasionally writes shorter category romances. Her attachment to the shorter category books stems from her years as a young mother of two boys without much time to read, as she "[remembers] exactly what it felt like to want to read and not have time to read 200,000 words."
Roberts and her career were featured in Pamela Regis’s A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Regis calls Roberts "a master of the romance novel form, because she "has a keen ear for dialogue, constructs deft scenes, maintains a page-turning pace, and provides compelling characterization." Publishers Weekly once talked about her "wry humor and the use of different narrators, two devices that were once rarities" in the romance novel genre.
Roberts had long wanted to write romantic suspense novels in the vein of Mary Stewart, but, at the urging of her agent, she concentrated on classic contemporary romance novels while she built a following of readers. After moving to Putnam in 1992, the publishing company quickly realized that they were unable to keep up with Roberts’s prolific output. They suggested that she adopt a second pseudonym so that they would be able to publish more of her work each year.
Her agent, Amy Berkover, convinced the publishers to allow Roberts to write romantic suspense novels under the new name. Her first romantic suspense novel was published in 1995 under the pseudonym J.D. Robb. The initials "J.D." were taken from her older sons, Jason and Dan, while "Robb" is a shortened form of Roberts. She first decided to use the pseudonym D.J. MacGregor, but right before publication, she discovered that this pseudonym was used by another author.
As J.D. Robb, Roberts has published a series of futuristic science fiction police procedurals. These books, all part of the "In Death" series, feature NYPSD Detective Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke and are set in a mid-21st century New York City. Despite the emphasis on solving a crime in each of the books, the overall theme of the series is the development of the relationship between Eve and Roarke. When the "In Death" series began, neither Roberts nor her publisher acknowledged that she was in fact the author. They hoped to allow the series to stand on its own merits and build its own following.
After publishing 18 novels in the "In Death" series, Putnam published the nineteenth, Divided in Death first in hardcover. The book became Roberts’s first bestselling novel of 2004.
As of March 2013, Roberts has published 36 books in the In Death series, with more scheduled.
She wrote a story for a magazine titled "Melodies of Love" under the pseudonym Jill March.
Roberts has also been known as Sara Hardesty. When the "Born In" series was released in Britain it carried that name instead of Nora Roberts. She has since changed publishers.