Georgia’s Stacey Abrams’ recent historic win as the first black woman to be a major party’s nominee for governor restored hope for countless Americans. Now, she’s on the run to make history once again by becoming the nation’s first black female governor.
Nearly two decades before Abrams’ groundbreaking win, the trailblazing politician entered the world of contemporary romance, writing under her pen name Selena Montgomery. Since her first novel “Rules of Engagement” was released in 2001, Abrams has published a total of eight romantic thrillers and sold over 100,000 copies, with steamy titles such as “Deception,” “Secrets and Lies,” and “The Art Of Desire.”
Abrams’ debut romance novel “Rules of Engagement” was written during her third year at Yale Law School, setting the foundation for her self-made career as an author in her spare time. In her first novel, an operative for a top-secret intelligence organization is tasked with infiltrating a terrorist group, but unexpectedly falls in love with her seductive male partner. In “Secrets and Lies,” Abrams writes about a woman on the run after witnessing her uncle’s murder, only to meet a breathtaking man who seems to have the answers she needs about the murder, until she discovers a malicious side to him that she never anticipated. Back in 2009, Abrams released her latest novel “Deception,” which centers on a woman who must return back to her toxic hometown after an innocent woman has been accused of murder. While there, she falls in love with an FBI Special Agent who is deep undercover, concealing his true identity and his own desperate history.
In an interview with Super Lawyers back in 2006, Abrams discussed how her father’s bedtime ghost stories during childhood sparked her interest in becoming a writer. However, writing romance wasn’t initially her passion. “I wanted to write a spy novel with a protagonist,” Abrams said. “But publishers told me men don’t read spy novels by or about women, and women don’t read spy novels at all. To me, that was absurd. I did a little research and discovered that women actually do read them; they’re just called romance novels. So I made my spies fall in love.”
Furthermore, the politician and author explained why she chose to write under a pen name. She considered the high probability that if readers were aware of her true identity, it could spoil the magic, and even deter potential customers. “In fiction, it’s very important to brand yourself,” she told Super Lawyers. “If I wrote under Stacey Abrams and people searched for my novels under that name, they’d also pull up articles on the charity income tax. It would be like reading a romance novel by Alan Greenspan. You probably wouldn’t.”
Still, Abrams is transparent, and doesn’t hide her alter ego from the public eye. Thus, what’s perhaps the most admirable is not the fact that Abrams writes romance novels, but how she embraces her dual identity as both a strong-willed politician and a steamy romance author, which is made evident on her website dedicated to Selena Montgomery. As a human, Abrams’ ability to remain genuine to herself is nothing short of commendable. As a politician, she’s taking this same authentic approach in order to win the heart of Georgia and ultimately break barriers for other minority women politicians who defy the odds.