The Woman Behind The Pseudonym J.R. Ward: A Biography

JR Ward

JR Ward

The name J.R. Ward is famous in the literary world for writing paranormal romance.  It is a sub-genre for romance and speculative fiction which involves elements beyond scientific explanation. However, the name J.R. Ward is actually a pseudonym used by Jessica Rowley Pell Bird. Jessica Bird writes contemporary romance novels but the name J.R. Ward specializes in the sub-genre of paranormal romance. With her imagination, she was able to receive the Romance Writers of America RITA Award which is considered as the most prominent award given to romantic fiction writers.

Surprisingly, Jessica Bird hasn’t been in the literary industry for a long time. Although she started writing her novels at an early age, she actually published her first manuscript decade ago thus making her one of the breakthrough romantic novelists in the turn of the century.

The Early Beginning Of Jessica Bird

Jessica Bird is born in Massachusetts, USA in 1969 from W. Gillette Bird Jr. and Maxine F. Bird. The young Jessica began writing stories in her diaries and before she went for college, she was able to write her first romance novels. After completing her first unpublished novel, she wrote regularly but only for herself.

When she attended the Smith College, she took a double major in art history and history which focused on the medieval period. She also collected tons of Harlequin and Silhouette Books that her mother found it difficult to organize back home. After which, she proceeded to acquire her law degree in Albany Law School.  After graduating, she works as a healthcare administrator for many years including as the Chief of Staff in a famous hospital and medical school in Boston, Massachusetts. While working in the healthcare industry, she stopped writing her novels.

How J.R. Ward Was Born

It was then in 2001 when Jessica Bird married that she started writing again. While still working as a lawyer in Boston, her husband, John Neville Blakemore III,  and her mother both encouraged her to find an agent and sell her manuscript. At first, Jessica found the idea absurd but she was able to muster up enough courage to send her manuscript to an agent.

It was in 2002 when her first novel entitled Leaping Hearts was published. After getting her first book published, she has written several special editions books as well as several contemporary books.  After a few years, she was so enamored by stories of vampires that she invented a world populated by these blood-thirsty creatures and began writing in the sub-genre of paranormal romance. During this time, the pseudonym J.R. Ward was born which she was supposedly got from her maiden name. One of the notable works of Jessica Bird under the pen name J.R. Ward is Black Dagger Brotherhood. Currently, she is writing under different publishers including  Silhouette Books, Harlequin and Signet.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood

Black Dagger of Brotherhood Books

Black Dagger of Brotherhood Books

As one of her celebrated books, the Black Dagger Brotherhood is a series of ongoing books that focuses on a vampire society called Black Dagger Brotherhood. The brotherhood is composed of vampires who defend their race against humans who threaten them. Currently, the series has 12 completed books. The series revolves around the story of brothers Wrath, Rhage, Zhadist, Butch, Vishous, Phury, Rehvenge, Tohrment, John Matthew, Qhuinn and Blaylock as well as depicting the developing romance of the brothers and their love interests.

Surprisingly, the series does not tackle conventional romance as there are some characters in the book that are involved in same sex love affairs. Although this may be the case, fans of J.R. Ward are still rooting for the unconventional pairing of the characters in the story. Due to the great reception of  its readers, one of the books from this series – Lover Awakened – was nominated six times but won once in the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards.

The Fallen Angel Series

Another paranormal romance novel series created by Jessica Bird under the name J.R. Ward, The Fallen Angel Series. The different books under this series revolve around the stories of five different male protagonists and how they battled for their love against the forces of evil.  Interestingly, the world of The Fallen Angels has somehow overlapped in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series which attracted the attention of fans for its spontaneity. The books are thrilling and at the same time inspiring that will make J.R. Ward fans rooting for more.

Other Works of J.R. Ward

As J.R. Ward, Jessica Bird has also collaborated with other writers to create other paranormal romance short stories. Between 2008 and 2010, J.R. Ward was able to write The Story of Son in Dead After Dark, Lover Awakened in Blood Sample and Dark Lover in Blood Lust which were all received by her fans with much gusto.

Interesting Facts About J.R. Ward’s Stories

Her degree in medieval period history gave her a lot of advantage in writing Goth-inspired novels. This is the reason why she was able to maintain the dark atmosphere in all of her paranormal romance book series.  Aside on her nominations and award in Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards and  RITA Awards, she also became an HOTL Medallion Finalist.

J.R. Ward loves to incorporate the plot as well as the characters of her different series novels. As cited earlier, some of the characters from the Black Dagger Brotherhood are also found in her The Fallen Angel Series. She likens this process of creating overlapping series to “meeting friends through other acquaintances”. On the other hand, all male characters in her series are alpha males. They are depicted to be cocky, domineering and arrogant.  The female characters on her story are also equally head strong and smart. Her books have yet to be adapted into films.

Jessica Bird

Jessica Bird

J.W. Ward Today

Today, Jessica Bird is still writing books under her real name and her pen name. She is yet to finish the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series and The Fallen Angel Series. She is currently living south of Mason Dixon Line. She maintains a posh house where she and her husband live together with their golden retriever. Currently, her husband oversees her writing. Her ideal day is spent in front of the computer working while wearing her slippers, playing with her dog, sipping her favorite glass of coffee and thinking of interesting plots for the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

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