Karen Robards is a New York Times bestselling author of romantic suspense and contemporary romance novels and series such as the Banning Sister, Charlotte Stone, and the Guardian set of books. While most of the Karen Robards books are set in modern times, some, like The Black Swan of Paris, published in 2020, is a historical suspense novel set during WWII.
Here are the Karen Robards books in order for her numerous series and standalone novels.
New Karen Robards Books
Banning Sisters Series
Jessica Ford Series
Charlotte Stone Series
Standalone Karen Robards Books
- Forbidden Love, 1983
- Amanda Rose, 1984
- To Love a Man, 1985
- Dark Torment, 1985
- Wild Orchids, 1986
- Loving Julia, 1986
- Night Magic, 1987
- Dark of the Moon, 1988
- Desire in the Sun, 1988
- Tiger’s Eye, 1989
- Morning Song, 1990
- This Side of Heaven, 1991
- Nobody’s Angel, 1992
- Green Eyes, 1992
- One Summer, 1993
- Maggy’s Child, 1994
- Walking After Midnight, 1995
- Hunter’s Moon, 1995
- Heartbreaker, 1996
- The Senator’s Wife, 1998
- The Midnight Hour, 1999
- Ghost Moon, 2000
- Paradise County, 2000
- To Trust a Stranger, 2001
- Whispers at Midnight, 2002
- Beachcomber, 2003
- Bait, 2004
- Superstition, 2005
- Vanished, 2006
- Obsession, 2007
- Guilty, 2008
- Shattered, 2010
- Sleepwalker, 2011
- Shiver, 2012
- Manna from Heaven, 2012 novella
- Hunted, 2013
- Hush, 2014
- Darkness, 2016
- The Black Swan of Paris, 2020
Karen Robards Biography
Karen Robards was born in 1954, in Louisville, KY, as the daughter of orthodontist Walter Lee Karen and Sally Johnson (Walter Lee’s secretary) and loved reading and writing from an early age. During her teen years, she wrote a short story which was published in 1973 at the Reader’s Digest magazine. In an interview, she admitted that in her early years she didn’t read romances as she thought they weren’t intellectual enough for her. It was not until her first year in law school which she attended at the University of Kentucky after her graduating from high school, that she took a graduate-level creative writing class at night where she had an assignment of creating a 50-page story that was worth to be published.
This small project got her to visit her local library to find out what was selling during those times. Karen saw that historical romances were quite popular, so she bought a few books in the genre, read them, and was hooked. The result of this experiment was the beginning of what would become the author’s debut novel, two years later, titled Island Flame, the first in the Pirate duology.
At the same time, while in her first year of law school, she realized that she actually hated law school, so her long-dream of becoming a lawyer would soon crash and burn, and she stopped that school after two years. While the class and the professor was not entirely enthusiastic about her choice of topic for her book, she did get the push to continue writing stories. Right after that class, everyone laughed at her manuscript, she put it away for the next two years. She did continue for a bit with her law school classes while her husband got his MBA, following which they moved. There was a whole summer ahead of her, where she decided that she would finish the book.
She then started contacting various publishers, out of which one came back saying they loved her initial 50 pages, and they wanted to see the whole book. The problem was that there was no written book yet. So Karen Robards locked herself in her room and wrote the book as fast as she could, and then she mailed it. About three weeks later, toward the end of summer when she whould have had to go back to school, she got a note from the publisher that the book was good to go; they wanted to buy it.
Around the time she was working as an orthodontic assistant, to pay the bills. As she was working full time, she didn’t have a lot of time writing, so she spent her one-hour lunchtime writing her next book. Eventually, the publisher agreed to take on the sequel to her first pirate book. Another publisher loved her next book which was a contemporary romance. After Leisure, the original publisher went bankrupt, Karen stayed with her next publisher from then on.
Karen was pregnant with her first child when she got her first big writing contract. At the recommendation of her agent, she didn’t mention to the publisher about her pregnancy, which helped her get the money she got for the deal. In an interview, she mentioned she would have probably gotten much less because of the perceived lack of professionalism by publishing houses concerning pregnant women, or women with small children. However, To Love A Man became the book that launched Karen Robards as a major romance writer.
Before writing her books, the author tries to get into the mind of the main characters, to identify with them, and to ask herself what would she had done in the very situation she places the protagonists in. However, in general, Karen is a pantser. She does have a main plot idea she gives to her editor, however, as the story evolves, it becomes something often the author never thought at all before starting to write the book. Often, she even changes the names of characters by the time the book is done. In Maggy’s Child, the protagonist is Magdalena, however, before writing the book, the author named her Anna. Also, the physical features were different. From a calm blonde, Maggy became quite the opposite.
She also does a lot of research for her novels. For example, when writing Heartbreaker, she had to research about atomic bombs, how one could get hold of one, how much they sold for, their weight, how transportable they were, and basically anything and everything about atom bombs, since one featured in her story. She also likes to visit places she writes about. Darkness is set in Alaska, so Karen Robards made sure to visit it. Boston is the setting for Hush, and the author lived there, thus had the inside scoop about the place.
So far, there are over 50 Karen Robards books written, many contemporary romances, while others romantic suspense stories, with the latest, The Black Swan of Paris, published in 2020, being a historical romantic suspense novel that looks at what people go through and have to sacrifice, and the tough choices they are presented with during those times of war. For the series, reading the Karen Robards books in order is recommended, however, the standalone novels, which form the bulk of the author’s writing, can, of course, be read in any order you can get your hands on.
After writing well over 50 books, she was asked how she can persevere, if she gets burned out. Her answer,
You have to stick with it. It’s a really hard profession. I’ve written 52 books; they’re all two-book contracts, so you have no job security beyond that. It’s a very solitary profession. It’s kind of draining. The last month of a book is misery, but it’s a good kind of misery. It hurts so good.
Currently, Karen Robards lives with her husband, Doug whom she married in 1977, has three children, and is busy writing her next book in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Praise for Karen Robards Books
One of the most popular voices in women’s fiction (Newsweek)
Trust author Karen Robards to deliver up another choice romantic thriller. To Trust A Stranger is vintage Robards. (Romantic Times)
You’ll be snagged on the first page….Robards neatly combines the elements of suspense and romance. (Southern Pines on To Trust a Stranger)
Exciting…a real thriller and the most wonderful love story! (The Literary Times on Hunter’s Moon)
Robards’s visually evocative narrative allows the reader to ‘see’ Bianca during her escapades… Readers who appreciate the thrillers of Iris Johansen, Tess Gerritsen, and Lisa Gardner will enjoy getting to know Bianca St. Ives. (Library Journal on The Ultimatum)
Robards is one terrific storyteller. (Chicago Tribune)
The delightful, capable, and frequently funny Bianca is an intoxicating combo of Stephanie Plum and James Bond. (Publishers Weekly on The Moscow Deception)
Karen is one of those writers I buy without needing to read a review. (Johanna Lindsey)
Night Magic will captivate and delight you. You have got to read it! (Affair de Coeur)
An extraordinarily suspenseful, emotional read (Kelly Rimmer on The Black Swan of Paris)
- Karen Robards official website
- Author interview with G. Robert Frazier
- Archived writing tips from the author on setting the look of your book
- Archived writing tips from the author on satisfying, surprising resolutions