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Here, once again, are the authors in our style poll (with links to their individual "If You Like" table):

Authors in our Style Poll
Mary Balogh
Suzanne Brockmann
Connie Brockway
Sandra Brown
Loretta Chase
Catherine Coulter
Jennifer Crusie
Jude Deveraux
Christina Dodd
Janet Evanovich
Patricia Gaffney
Diana Gabaldon
Julie Garwood
Laurell K. Hamilton
Lorraine Heath
Georgette Heyer
Linda Howard
Judith Ivory
Carla Kelly
Laura Kinsale
Lisa Kleypas
Jayne Ann Krentz
Elizabeth Lowell
Judith McNaught
Pamela Morsi
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Mary Jo Putney
Amanda Quick
Julia Quinn
J.D. Robb
Nora Roberts
Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
Robin Schone
Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Anne Stuart
LaVyrle Spencer

What follows are the results of our correlation test for each of the 36 authors for whom we polled. To illustrate how to interpret them, let's use Mary Balogh's results as an example:

What the results look like

If you like Mary Balogh, you might also like

  • Carla Kelly
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Laura Kinsale
  • MJP
  • Christina Dodd
  • Amanda Quick
  • You might not like Julia Quinn

    (Please note that if results are presented in 2 columns, the correlation ranking should be read like this: Kelly, Spencer, Kinsale, MJP, Dodd, Quick.)

    Mary Balogh's fans seem to favor historicals that are relatively "intense;" the only really light-hearted historical author I see is Amanda Quick, down at the bottom. But why would Balogh fans approve of Quick and not of Quinn? (This cuts both ways: while there are numerous readers who like both authors, there are about as many Quinn fans who give Balogh a low score as there are Balogh fans who don't enjoy Quinn.)

    Kelly, Spencer, Kinsale, Putney, Dodd, and Quick are all of the authors whose results were similar enough to Balogh's that there was a significant positive correlation between them. They are in order from greatest similarity to least. So, of all the authors in our poll, people who gave the highest rating to Balogh were most likely to also give the highest rating to Kelly. (People who gave the lowest rating to Balogh were also most likely to give the lowest rating to Kelly, but I'll get to that in a minute.) For each author I have included at least the five strongest correlations; when there were more than five significant correlations I have included them all.

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    Also included is the author with the strongest negative correlation to Mary Balogh - it is Julia Quinn. Of all the authors in the poll, people who gave Mary Balogh the highest rating were most likely to give Julia Quinn the lowest rating. (Or vice versa: maybe lots of Julia Quinn fans gave Mary Balogh the lowest rating. Or, most likely, some combination of both.) It's best to take the negative correlations with a large grain of salt.

    While I've dug out the most negative correlation for each author, the negative correlations for almost everyone were rather weak: only in about half of the cases was there even a single "statistically significant" negative correlation. (In the rare cases when there was more than one, I have presented them all.) So while there's always a single "most opposite" author, in many of these cases the results were not so overwhelming that they could be definitely ruled not to be pure chance. I reported them anyway because I think they're interesting. ("You're never going to be published in a top journal with that attitude" - the Statistics Goddess.) <g>

    Also, keep in mind that every single author in this poll had far more average to positive ratings (2's through 4's) than they had the sole truly negative rating (1's). (For a list of each author's average score, click here.) Even Catherine Coulter, who had the lowest average score in the poll, received 1/3 of her vote in the "Always/Almost Always" and "Likes More Often Than Not" combined categories (add her "Sometimes Likes/Sometimes Doesn't Like" votes and she's up to 71%). So while there may be a few cases where two authors are linked mainly because they are both generally disliked (and therefore received similarly low scores) it's quite a rare occurrence.

    I've prepared a Q&A based on the questions I know you'll have, because I had them, and so did Laurie. They directly follow the individual author tables, but if you think reading through it now would be helpful, click here. There's a link back here after you've read it.

    So now, on to the results, by author.

     

    If You Like... Results from AAR Style Poll

    If you like Mary Balogh, you might also like

  • Carla Kelly
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Laura Kinsale
  • MJP
  • Christina Dodd
  • Amanda Quick
  • You might not like Julia Quinn

    Mary Balogh's fans seem to favor historicals that are relatively "intense;" the only really light-hearted historical author I see is Amanda Quick, down at the bottom. But why would Balogh fans approve of Quick and not of Quinn? (This cuts both ways: while there are numerous readers who like both authors, there are about as many Quinn fans who give Balogh a low score as there are Balogh fans who don't enjoy Quinn.)

    If you like Suzanne Brockmann, you might also like

  • Nora Roberts
  • Lorraine Heath
  • JD Robb
  • Pamela Morsi
  • Carla Kelly
  • Julie Garwood
  • SEP
  • LKH
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Sandra Brown
  • Robin Schone
  • Janet Evanovich
  • Linda Howard
  • Judith McNaught
  • You might not like Catherine Coulter

    Suzanne Brockmann had the single highest average score of anyone in our poll, so I'm not surprised to see that her scores link to so many other authors. I'm also not surprised to see Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb at the top of the list, as well as many of the most popular, action/suspense oriented contemporary authors.

    But look at all those historical writers! Are Lorraine Heath, Pamela Morsi, and Carla Kelly the first authors that you associate with Brockmann? Me neither, and yet they scored higher than everyone but Roberts/Robb. I'm told that Suzanne Brockmann is a huge Carla Kelly fan; I hope she's pleased that they have so many fans in common.

    If you like Connie Brockway, you might also like

  • Christina Dodd
  • Julia Quinn
  • Amanda Quick
  • Loretta Chase
  • Judith Ivory
  • Julie Garwood
  • Jude Deveraux
  • You might not like Georgette Heyer

    It's sweet that Christina Dodd is at the top of Connie Brockway's list, as they're close friends who have recently written a book together. Both Brockway and Dodd write serious historicals as well as humorous ones. In fact, although I associate Brockway more with her emotionally-intense historicals, I'm evidently the only one, since the most "intense" historical authors on our list (Stuart, Kinsale, Gabaldon, etc.) didn't make the list.
    While many readers give high marks to both Brockway and Heyer, there's a sizable contingent of Heyer fans who gave Brockway a very low score (much more than the other way around.) Anybody know why that is?

    If you like Sandra Brown, you might also like

  • Judith McNaught
  • Jude Deveraux
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Linda Howard
  • You might not like Julia Quinn

    Style-wise, I have a feeling that Sandra Brown is actually closest to Suzanne Brockmann and Linda Howard, since their writing is contemporary, suspenseful, and action-packed. Perhaps readers also associate Judith McNaught's contemporaries with Brown's, but I suspect the strongest connection here is that all of these writers (except Brockmann) have been writing romance for a long time; this is something of a 1980's Hit Parade.
    Brown had the third-lowest average score of anyone in our poll; the negative correlation with Julia Quinn may simply be the result of the exceptionally large number of high scores that Quinn received.

    If you like Loretta Chase, you might also like

  • Connie Brockway
  • Christina Dodd
  • Carla Kelly
  • Amanda Quick
  • Mary Balogh
  • You might not like Judith McNaught

    This is an interesting assortment of European Historical and Regency Romance authors, some humorous, (Quick) some intense, (Kelly, Balogh) and some varied (Brockway, Dodd, and Chase herself).

    Many more Chase fans gave McNaught a low score than the other way around.

    If you like Catherine Coulter, you might also like

  • Jude Deveraux
  • Christina Dodd
  • Julie Garwood
  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • Judith McNaught
  • Nora Roberts
  • Robin Schone
  • You might not like Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Catherine Coulter is a case of extremes: read by the largest number of pollees, received the lowest average score, and her largest negative correlation, Kathleen Gilles Seidel, is also the least-read author in the poll. Many of the authors on her list are other authors who dominated the 1980s romance scene, particularly 1980's historicals.

    If you like Jennifer Crusie, you might also like

  • Kathleen Gilles Seidel
  • Georgette Heyer
  • Laurel K. Hamilton
  • SEP
  • Janet Evanovich
  • You might not like Catherine Coulter

    Jennifer Crusie has the second-highest average score of everyone in our poll, and has been read by more than 75% of our readers. So it's surprising that her strongest correlation is with Kathleen Gilles Seidel, the single least-sampled author on our poll. I guess that those of us that love them both, love them both intensely.
    Hamilton, Phillips, and Evanovich don't surprise me too much: they're all contemporary, they're all funny, they all color outside the lines of "traditional" romance.

    I am surprised to see Georgette Heyer so high on Crusie's list, but maybe some of their mutual fans can explain the connection.

    If you like Jude Deveraux, you might also like

  • Judith McNaught
  • Catherine Coulter
  • Sandra Brown
  • Julie Garwood
  • Julia Quinn
  • Anne Stuart
  • Pamela Morsi
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • SEP
  • Nora Roberts
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Connie Brockway
  • Amanda Quick
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Robin Schone
  • Christina Dodd
  • You might not like Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Like Catherine Coulter, Jude Deveraux is among our six most-read and lowest-scored authors; only 16% gave her the highest rating. Deveraux was the author who brought me to the romance genre, and I still have affection for her humorous historicals. This is a fairly diverse list including lots of light-toned historicals as well as a few surprises (Diana Gabaldon? Robin Schone?)

    If you like Christina Dodd, you might also like

  • Amanda Quick
  • Connie Brockway
  • Robin Schone
  • Loretta Chase
  • Julie Garwood
  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • Catherine Coulter
  • Mary Balogh
  • J.D. Robb
  • JAK
  • Julia Quinn
  • Jude Deveraux
  • You might not like Carla Kelly

    I'm surprised that Christina Dodd had such a low average score in our poll - I haven't liked her last two books, but have a lot of her historicals on my keeper shelf. There's a strong bestseller flavor to these results - except for Chase and maybe Brockway, most of these authors sell above the midlist. Robin Schone's somewhat incongruous high placement is mostly a result of many readers giving both authors low scores, but the rest of the authors are there because many readers appreciate them as well as Dodd.

    If you like Janet Evanovich, you might also like

  • LKH
  • J.D. Robb
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • You might not like Judith Ivory

    Janet Evanovich's fans apparently favor romantic books that veer away from the traditional romance mode. Despite Evanovich's reputation for humor, light contemporary writers whose styles are more traditional (like Krentz and Phillips) don't make her list. Instead, it looks as though Evanovich fans favor fast-paced action and dark humor. But what's the connection to Lisa Kleypas?

    If you like Diana Gabaldon, you might also like

  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Lorraine Heath
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • LKH
  • Jude Deveraux
  • You might not like Anne Stuart

    Excuse me while I do a happy dance for guessing correctly in a recent ATBF that LKH would be on this list! <g>

    Heath has only written historicals, Gaffney has written historicals and women's fiction, and Spencer has written in a variety of settings and lengths. Can you see a common thread between them?

    The mathematic correspondence with these three authors is especially strong. Why them and not, say, Carla Kelly or Mary Balogh?

    If you like Patricia Gaffney, you might also like

  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Judith Ivory
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
  • Pamela Morsi
  • Anne Stuart
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Laura Kinsale
  • You might not like JAK

    Some authors (like Loretta Chase) seem to connect best with authors who write in a similar time period; other authors like Patricia Gaffney are all over the map. There are links to Americana Historicals, European Historicals, Scottish/American time-travel Historicals - though no contemporaries One possible link: most of the above authors have reputations for diligent research; not much on the list is of the "historical wallpaper" variety.
    From this list, it looks as though our readers connect best to Gaffney's historical romances; I don't see any of the names I would expect if there was a strong connection with her women's fiction.

    The negative correlation to JAK is a strong one, but I don't know why, although Gaffney is most known for her searingly angsty historicals rather than her lighter ones.

    If you like Julie Garwood, you might also like

  • J.D. Robb
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Amanda Quick
  • Julia Quinn
  • Nora Roberts
  • Christina Dodd
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • SEP
  • Catherine Coulter
  • Connie Brockway
  • Judith McNaught
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Linda Howard
  • You might not like LaVyrle Spencer

    Does J.D. Robb's high score at the top of this list mean that Julie Garwood's new romantic suspense books connect with Robb's audience? It looks as though Garwood connects with the contemporary action fans of Suzanne Brockmann and Linda Howard as well as the humorous historicals that were her first claim to fame.

    If you like Laurell K. Hamilton, you might also like

  • Janet Evanovich
  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • You might not like Carla Kelly

    Evanovich, Crusie, Gabaldon, Brockmann - that seems like a good round-up of the least "traditional genre" contemporary authors on our list. The connection to Lisa Kleypas is a little surprising.

    So, Anita Blake is the Anti-Carla (Kelly.) Anyone surprised?

    If you like Lorraine Heath, you might also like

  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Pamela Morsi
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Julia Quinn
  • You might not like Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    There's a strong tie between historical writers who specialize in Western Historicals/Americana; Heath, Morsi, and Spencer have a closely linked fan base. My guess is that there is truly a craving for well-written romances set in American history. I wonder if Maggie Osborne readers would match this group as well?
    I find the ties to Suzanne Brockmann and Julia Quinn a little surprising, though. Diana Gabaldon less so because though Heath is not nearly as well known, the quality of her books brings in readers who don't normally read Western Romances. The negative correlation between Heath and Seidel is based on very little data, since Heath and Seidel were the two least-read authors in our poll, read by less than half of the pollees.

    If you like Georgette Heyer, you might also like

  • Jennifer Crusie
  • JAK
  • Robin Schone
  • Pamela Morsi
  • J.D. Robb
  • You might not like Lisa Kleypas or Connie Brockway

    Overall, Georgette Heyer's results are the most surprising to me. For some reason Heyer doesn't play well with others; only her links to Jennifer Crusie and JAK are so strong as to be statistically significant, and she has the most negative correlations of any author. And yet there is a sizable contingent of fans who enjoy Georgette Heyer and Robin Schone about equally (they have many more high scores than low scores in common.)
    Robin Schone is the only European Historical author who even makes the list - why do Heyer fans enjoy JAK, and not Amanda Quick?

    Judging by the number of contemporary authors she's correlated with, Lisa Kleypas has perhaps the most modern sensibilities of any of the historical authors. Is that why she has so few fans in common with Heyer?

    If you like Linda Howard, you might also like

  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • LKH
  • Nora Roberts
  • J.D. Robb
  • Sandra Brown
  • Amanda Quick
  • Julie Garwood
  • Robin Schone
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • SEP
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • You might not like Lorraine Heath

    For an author who's been writing best-sellers since the early 1980s, Linda Howard's popularity seems amazingly durable. Along with MJP, she's the only author at the top of the "Most-Read" list (tied for second place) and close to the top of the highest average scores (seventh place.)
    Considering her intense, suspenseful contemporary romances, the dramatic contemporary authors who make up much of her list don't seem surprising. Her tie to some of the other authors on this list may come from the intense sensuality of her writing.

    If you like Judith Ivory, you might also like

  • Laura Kinsale
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
  • Carla Kelly
  • Connie Brockway
  • SEP
  • MJP
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Robin Schone
  • You might not like Janet Evanovich

    Except for the authors with multiple pen names (Krentz/Quick and Roberts/Robb), Judith Ivory and Laura Kinsale are the undisputed winners of the "most connected" sweeps, with Patricia Gaffney right next in line, solidifying forever the "Kinsale-Ivory-Gaffney" connection that fans have cited over the years. Judith Ivory fans clearly love the stars of the midlist, including Barbara Samuel and Connie Brockway.
    The one ironic surprise on this list is SEP, who is so contemporary, popular, and fun to read. She's often cited as the opposite end of the spectrum from Kinsale-Ivory-Gaffney. And yet, those who have read most of SEP's backlist know she has hidden depths to her writing. It's refreshing to know that Ivory fans have a place in their heart for SEP after all.

    If you like Carla Kelly, you might also like

  • Mary Balogh
  • Kathleen Gilles Seidel
  • Laura Kinsale
  • Judith Ivory
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • MJP
  • You might not like Elizabeth Lowell or JAK

    As a writer of traditional Regency Romance, Carla Kelly has a small readership (just over half of our pollees) but a devoted one. She has the third-highest average score of everyone on the list, because the votes she did receive were overwhelmingly positive. Although Kelly's style is very distinctive, it blends well with the deeply introspective, character-oriented writers on the list.
    The one exception is Suzanne Brockmann, whose action-packed contemporaries may seem a surprising entry on the list. Perhaps it's the military connection; perhaps it runs deeper since Brockmann counts Kelly as one of her own favorite writers.

    If you like Laura Kinsale, you might also like

  • Judith Ivory
  • Carla Kelly
  • Kathleen Gilles Seidel
  • Mary Balogh
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
  • Anne Stuart
  • MJP
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • You might not like Nora Roberts

    Again, the connection between Laura Kinsale and Judith Ivory is the strongest of any two individual writers in the entire poll. Overall, the authors who correlate strongest with Laura Kinsale are a hit parade of the introspective midlist and best-selling authors who are also noted for their carefully-crafted characters and their "big book" style.

    If you like Lisa Kleypas, you might also like

  • Janet Evanovich
  • Julia Quinn
  • LKH
  • Julie Garwood
  • Linda Howard
  • Robin Schone
  • You might not like Georgette Heyer

    For a writer who specializes in hot historicals, Lisa Kleypas keeps very interesting company. Several of these authors are noted for their intense sensuality (Hamilton, Howard, Schone) or for fun, historical-wallpaper historicals (Quinn, Garwood.) Kleypas may herself be underrated as a researcher because her heroines and her writing style feel very modern; her readers appear to enjoy a number of non-traditional contemporary authors.

    If you like Jayne Ann Krentz, you might also like

  • Amanda Quick
  • J.D. Robb
  • Linda Howard
  • Georgette Heyer
  • Nora Roberts
  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • Christina Dodd
  • Julia Quinn
  • You might not like Patricia Gaffney or Carla Kelly

    Not surprisingly, the connection between fans of JAK and Amanda Quick is stronger than for any other "pair" of authors in the poll - including J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts. I see Krentz as a sort of bridge between the bestsellers of the early 1980's and the early 1990's, so it seems appropriate that bestselling authors from both periods are well-represented on her list. The negative correlation with Carla Kelly and Patricia Gaffney is especially strong, although I can't guess why.

    If you like Elizabeth Lowell, you might also like

  • Linda Howard
  • Christina Dodd
  • JAK
  • Catherine Coulter
  • Judith McNaught
  • Amanda Quick
  • You might not like Carla Kelly

    I often hear Elizabeth Lowell mentioned in the same breath with Linda Howard, so it's not surprising that they correlate strongly with each other. Lowell is another author who seems strongly linked with authors who were publishing their best-known work at the same time as she was - everyone on the list (with the exception of Christina Dodd) seems to have been very popular in the late 1980's through early 1990's.

    If you like Judith McNaught, you might also like

  • Jude Deveraux
  • Sandra Brown
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Julie Garwood
  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • SEP
  • Catherine Coulter
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • You might not like Loretta Chase

    Once again, authors who were bestsellers a decade ago seem to congregate on each other's lists. Judith McNaught seems to have held onto her reader's affection a little better than the rest, however - her average score is a little higher than everyone else here except Suzanne Brockmann and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. McNaught's historicals and contemporaries both have their fans, and both categories seem well-represented here.

    If you like Pamela Morsi, you might also like

  • Lorraine Heath
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Jude Deveraux
  • You might not like Kathleen Gilles Seidel

    Pamela Morsi is one of my own favorites, so I was surprised by her low scores both for number of votes received and for average score although I understand that historicals set in the US don't sell as well as those set in the UK. Morsi's fans seem to enjoy the USA as a setting, but don't seem to demand a strictly humorous or strictly serious tone.
    Except for Suzanne Brockmann, who writes contemporaries, all of the authors on the list have written American Historicals, some humorous and some not.

    If you like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, you might also like

  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Judith Ivory
  • Julie Garwood
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Robin Schone
  • Nora Roberts
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Judith McNaught
  • Linda Howard
  • You might not like Janet Evanovich

    Susan Elizabeth Phillips is another author who keeps intriguingly diverse company. Do her fans love a light, humorous tone? That wouldn't explain Robin Schone or Linda Howard. And though SEP prefers to write romances without suspense sub-plots, that can't be said about the company she keeps here. There are as many historical specialists as contemporaries, as many European settings as American. The group seems so diverse you wonder why every possible author didn't make the list. There are many more bestsellers than "mid-listers," but that's the only common thread I see.

    If you like Mary Jo Putney, you might also like

  • Loretta Chase
  • Mary Balogh
  • Carla Kelly
  • Judith Ivory
  • Laura Kinsale
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • Amanda Quick
  • J.D. Robb
  • You might not like Julie Garwood

    Mary Jo Putney holds the distinction of being the author closest to the top of both the Author's Average Scores and Widely Read lists. Except for J.D. Robb, she seems to appeal the most to fans of other European Historicals, and her closest matches all wrote traditional Regency Romances earlier in their career (Carla Kelly is the only one still writing trads.) Surprisingly, Diana Gabaldon doesn't appear on MJP's list.

    If you like Amanda Quick, you might also like

  • JAK
  • Christina Dodd
  • Julie Garwood
  • J.D. Robb
  • Connie Brockway
  • Julia Quinn
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Linda Howard
  • MJP
  • Elizabeth Lowell
  • Mary Balogh
  • You might not like Carla Kelly

    J.D. Robb crashes a lot of historical parties, doesn't she? She's smack in the middle of the long run of European historicals that Amanda Quick fans seem to prefer. It's not surprising to see other humorous historical authors like Quinn and Garwood, and Brockway (who writes both humorous and more intense romances) , and some of the more intense historical authors like Putney, and Balogh.

    I'm curious what the connection to Linda Howard and Elizabeth Lowell is, though, although it could simply be that, like the other authors on this list, all are best-sellers.

    If you like Julia Quinn, you might also like

  • Connie Brockway
  • Julie Garwood
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Amanda Quick
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Christina Dodd
  • JAK
  • You might not like Mary Balogh or Sandra Brown

    For an author who is relatively new to the romance scene, Julia Quinn has been read and enjoyed by a remarkable number of readers - she's the most-read of the "latest wave" of new bestsellers (ahead of Jennifer Crusie and Suzanne Brockmann) and also received the fewest (proportional) low scores of the entire poll. Most of the historical authors she's associated with write with fairly modern sensibilities; several of them write heroines who seem to have been transported back from the 21st century. Garwood, Quick, Kleypas, Dodd all seem like appropriate company for an author who translates classic movie titles back into the Regency.
    Judging by her own skyrocketing popularity and by which authors she's associated with, Julia Quinn seems to be the new queen of the fun historical romance. As her career has progressed, she's been able to write with more texture, but her readers know they're not getting total historical accuracy, and they don't care because the books are such a joy to read.

    If you like J.D. Robb, you might also like

  • Nora Roberts
  • Kathleen Gilles Seidel
  • Julie Garwood
  • Amanda Quick
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Janet Evanovich
  • JAK
  • Linda Howard
  • Christina Dodd
  • MJP
  • You might not like Pamela Morsi or Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind

    The link between J.D. Robb and Nora Roberts is very strong (though not as big as Quick/Krentz.) Somehow, J.D. Robb attracts fans with very diverse taste - how did Kathleen Gilles Seidel get to be in second place? Really, it's hard to find a common thread here. There's lots of light humor, both historical and contemporary, and also less romantic suspense than I would expect. It's also surprising that most of these authors skew quite far away from angst-y - few of these correlations seem connected with Eve's traumatic past, despite the large role it plays in Robb's series. (No Diana Gabaldon! No Anne Stuart!) I guess it's Roarke and that wacky ensemble that we love best In Death, after all.

    If you like Nora Roberts, you might also like

  • J.D. Robb
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Julie Garwood
  • Kathleen Gilles Seidel
  • Linda Howard
  • JAK
  • SEP
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Catherine Coulter
  • You might not like Laura Kinsale

    It's surprising that the connection between Brockmann and Roberts is even stronger than that between Brockmann and Robb. The correlation between Nora Roberts and J.D. Robb is so strong that it's not surprising that many of the same authors appear on both lists.

    Nora Roberts' amazing career has been so successful for so long that there's almost a History of Bestselling Romance contained within it, from the 1980's into the 1990's and beyond.

    If you like Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind, you might also like

  • Judith Ivory
  • Robin Schone
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Laura Kinsale
  • LaVyrle Spencer
  • You might not like J.D. Robb

    Samuels writes historicals, contemporaries, and series romance, and women's fiction as well. While all of her series titles appear under the name Ruth Wind and all of her historicals under Samuels, she has had "big" books published under both names. From these results, it's evident that Samuels/Wind is much appreciated by the "historical midlist" fans of Kinsale, Ivory, and Gaffney. Although this author is more mild than Schone in terms of sensuality, I would imagine it's the intensity of emotion that makes for that particular linkage.

    If you like Robin Schone, you might also like

  • Christina Dodd
  • Barbara Samuel/Ruth Wind
  • SEP
  • Linda Howard
  • Judith Ivory
  • Suzanne Brockmann
  • Lisa Kleypas
  • Jude Deveraux
  • Catherine Coulter
  • You might not like Janet Evanovich

    Though it's strong, the correlation between Robin Schone and Christina Dodd is mostly a statistical anomaly, the result of many readers giving both authors exceptionally low scores. (There are only a handful of cases in the poll where this is true.) The link between Schone and Samuel, however, is based on a number of similarly positive scores, which surprises me. None of the authors on Schone's list approach her sensual intensity - even Howard and Kleypas don't reach it. I'm a little surprised that Anne Stuart isn't on this list. Perhaps the Schone fans who favor Judith Ivory prefer her darker early books to the lighter historicals she's writing now.

    If you like Kathleen Gilles Seidel, you might also like

  • Carla Kelly
  • J.D. Robb
  • Jennifer Crusie
  • Laura Kinsale
  • Nora Roberts
  • You might not like Pamela Morsi

    Kathleen Gilles Seidel is one of my own favorite authors, but since she hasn't published much in a while only a quarter of our pollees have read her. Despite the small sample size, Seidel fans have very definite opinions of their other favorite authors, and the links to all of these authors are very strong. It's something of a hodgepodge across setting and tone; most of these authors are noted for their rich characterizations, a few are known for their humor.
    It's surprising to see J.D. Robb so much higher on the list than Nora Roberts; I would guess it would be the other way around, although since Robb's books (and Crusie's single titles) are not genre romances, that might account for it.

    If you like Anne Stuart, you might also like

  • Jude Deveraux
  • Laura Kinsale
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Robin Schone
  • Christina Dodd
  • You might not like Diana Gabaldon

    Along with Georgette Heyer and Lorraine Heath, Anne Stuart was one of the most difficult authors to find significant matches for, even though more than half of our pollees had read her books. Stuart writes so many different types of romances - do her fans experience her writing differently? It's hard to find a common thread that unites these five authors other than the moral ambiguity of their characters, and only the match with Deveraux is particularly strong.
    Does anyone have any idea why it's so difficult to link Stuart to the rest of our list of 36 authors?

    If you like LaVyrle Spencer, you might also like

  • Mary Balogh
  • Pamela Morsi
  • Diana Gabaldon
  • Patricia Gaffney
  • Lorraine Heath
  • Laura Kinsale
  • Judith McNaught
  • Sandra Brown
  • Barbara Samuels/Ruth Wind
  • Judith Ivory
  • You might not like Julie Garwood

    LaVyrle Spencer has both historicals and contemporary romances but is perhaps best known for her American Historicals, which may explain why she's linked to many of the historical authors on the poll. Spencer fans seem to prefer their historicals to be angsty rather than humorous, and well-researched rather than wallpaper. But it doesn't appear that Spencer's American settings predispose her fans to favor American Historicals over European ones.

    Answers to the Questions I Know You Have

    The first time she saw the results, Laurie raised the exact same questions that I had the first time I tried to understand them. To answer them, I'm going to transition into Imaginary Q&A format:

    Q. You said that for two authors to be statistically connected, they have to get the same answers from a lot of people, right?

    A. Right. Connie Brockway and Christina Dodd are strongly statistically connected. This means that most of the people who like Christina Dodd enough to give her a 4 (our highest score) also like Connie Brockway enough to give her a 4 as well.

    What matters isn't the total number of 4s that they each receive (or 3s, or 2s...). What matters is that enough people who have read both of them, gave both of them the same score.

    Q. But that score doesn't have to be a 3 or 4, right? If enough people gave both Connie Brockway and Christina Dodd a 1, and no one gave them any high scores, they would still be connected.

    A. Right.

    Q. So how do I know that these recommendations are worth anything? How do I know that two authors aren't linked because the same people like them, but instead are linked because many people have read them and disliked both of them?

    A. Well, that does happen occasionally, but not as often as you might think. Even with the least popular authors on our poll, like Robin Schone, there are definitely cases where a connection happened because people who are fans of Robin Schone, are also fans of another author. For example, Linda Howard.

    Q. How do you know that? More importantly, how can I verify that?

    A. The first thing to do is to check out our table of the authors' average scores. It's ranked in order from highest to lowest, and gives the average score for each author.

    On a scale from 4 to 1, like we had, the average score would be a 2.5. Only five authors (Christina Dodd, Jude Deveraux, Sandra Brown, Robin Schone, and Catherine Coulter) had average scores below 2.5, meaning that they got more 2's and 1's than they did 3's and 4's.

    (Since most of the five low-scorers are best sellers who've been on the scene a long time, I think of them as BSLs, Best-Selling Low-scorers.)

    The BSL's tend to show up on each other's lists, and in general you can chalk it up to the fact that they got so many low scores. Christina Dodd and Robin Schone have a high correlation that's mostly due to the fact that they had a lot of low scores in common. Many more people gave them both 1's than gave them both 4's.

    Q. What about when one of the BSL's is matched with somebody who got a higher score? How do I know whether that's a postive match, and not just that the high-scorer's bad scores matched with the bad scores of the BSL?

    A. When the BSLs are matched up with somebody who got a higher score than they did, the odds are very good that the correlation is mostly positive. Keep in mind, even the BSL's do have some fans. And since they're best-sellers, they've been read by a lot of our readers, so even the minority of readers who like them are a pretty significant voting bloc. About 42% of those who read them gave Jude Deveraux a 3 or a 4, and Robin Schone, read by fewer people, is liked by about 33%. Those are enough good scores to create positive correlations when the majority of the people who do like a BSL turn out to like a more popular author.

    For example, I know that Robin Schone's fans also like Linda Howard. How? Because Linda Howard is close to the top of the average score list. She simply didn't get very many negative scores. So the only way for Schone to link to Howard is for a large number of people to have given them both positive scores. This turned out to be true even when an author who is fairly low on the list (like Connie Brockway) links with one of the BSL's (like Christina Dodd.) When in doubt I checked the actual ballots and counted the positive vs. negative matches; if I found a match to be mostly negative, I mentioned it in my comments.

    Q. Why didn't you incorporate the Jumping the Shark results into this poll?

    A. The JTS data we asked for was really more of a headcount to find out which authors we should start with for a possible future feature on JTS. Because there's no consistency to what people mean when they say an author has jumped - maybe it was two books ago, maybe it was ten years ago - there's no good way to fold it into the rest of the data.

    Psychologically, I think giving readers the option of adding a J no matter how high or low they scored an author may have helped to keep people focused more on how they felt about an author's entire body of work and less on the disappointment they may feel if the author has recently jumped the shark.

    Q. On the ballot key, why didn't you have a separate score for "Liked The Only Book I Tried By This Author"? I felt uncomfortable scoring an author when I don't know if I'll like the rest of her books.

    A. This came up about a dozen times in the "Comments" box on our ballot, and I want to address it since I'd like to run an expanded version of this poll someday (watch this space in October, 2003 <g> )

    Basically, when looking for correlations like this we can only measure one variable at a time (which is why we couldn't incorporate the JTS data, either.) How many books you've read by an author is a separate issue from the one we really care about, which is how much you like an author's style, making the best judgment you can from the books you have read.

    For this poll to work, all of the choices we offer have to fit on a single scale, from most to least. The only way that we could work in a variable like "Really Liked The One I Tried" would be to give it a standardized value that fits somewhere on the scale. But what value? We could split the difference and make it a 3.5, I suppose. But wouldn't that be an unfair bonus to that author you enjoyed, but not quite enough to glom, and an unfair penalty to that author whose masterpiece was so wonderful that you're rationing all of her other books so they'll bring you solace in your hours of darkest need? It's also an unfair penalty to readers who really liked one book by an author, and do feel up to the task of deciding how they feel based on that one experience.

    So this is a decision we feel is best left up to individual readers. If you truly couldn't decide where an author fits on the scale based on what you've read, the alternative would be to mark zero, for "Haven't Tried." But I hope no one did that. This poll is meant to be entertainment, not a life-or-death decision. We've enjoyed leading it, and hope that you enjoy the results.

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