Yesterday Publishers Weekly announced J.R. Ward's new three-book deal with Penguin's NAL imprint for a contemporary romance series — the Bourbon Kings — about a series of wealthy Kentucky families who made it big in the bourbon industry. The first currently untitled book is set to release in late 2015. While J.R. Ward is renowned for her paranormal romances, writing contemporary romance is nothing new for her. She wrote contemporary romances as Jessica Bird as early as 2002, including a handful Harlequin Special Edition titles.
Chatter about Ward's new series began when the author casually announced it on her Facebook page early last week saying, "I'm writing book one of my new series, The Bourbon Kings, right now- and then starting Trez and iAm's book September 1! IMMORTAL, the last of the Fallen Angels series, comes out in October so get ready for Jim's final battles!"
With publishers buying fewer paranormal romance manuscripts, it's no surprise to see Ward head back to her contemporary roots. We have faith her loyal fans won't hesitate to follow her.
UPDATE 7/29: This afternoon paranormal romance author Nalini Singh also announced her plans to self-publish a contemporary romance featuring a rock star hero, which releases in six weeks. She says the books release wont affect any of her other series, so Psy-Changeling and Guild Hunter fans need not worry.
Are you planning on reading Ward's Bourbon Kings books? Have you tried any Jessica Bird titles? Let us know in the comments, and keep an eye on our Everything Romance page for more genre news and coverage.