Nora Roberts is the most popular romance writer in America, but it’s not easy being on the top. “People go, ‘Oh, you work six or eight hours a day, oh my God,’” she tells the New Yorker. “‘Well, yeah, how many hours do you work?’ ‘Well, yeah, but …’ But nothing.” Roberts churns out five books a year, sold more than 18 million copies in 2008 alone, and brings in about $60 million a year.
Roberts has just one rule for writing: “Ass in the chair.” She doesn’t apologize for her genre, or care much for the more literary side of publishing. “They’re just not as productive, and their writing is probably not any better than mine.” And she’s pretty clear on what her readers want: “Sex is important in the books because, without it, it would be like eating a rice cake instead of a cupcake.”