Kauffman, Donna 1960(?)-

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Kauffman, Donna 1960(?)-


Born c. 1960, in Washington, DC; divorced; children: two sons. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, paper crafting, gardening, traveling.


Home—Sterling, VA. E-mail—[email protected]


Romance novelist and art instructor. Previously worked as a hairdresser, competitive bodybuilder, event specialist, and craft store manager.


Romance Writer's Association, Washington Romance Writers (board member; past president).


RIO Dorothy Parker Award for best paranormal, for The Legend MacKinnon; Reviewers Choice Award, Romance Communications, for The Legend of the Sorcerer and The Legend MacKinnon; National Readers Choice Award for best erotic romance, for Her Secret Thrill; lifetime achievement award, Washington Romance Writers, 2001.


Illegal Motion, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

Black Satin, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.

Tango in Paradise, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.

Bounty Hunter, Bantam (New York, NY), 1994.

Wild Rain (spin-off from Black Satin), Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.

Bayou Heat, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

Tease Me, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.

Her Secret Thrill, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2001.

His Private Pleasure (spin-off from Her Secret Thrill), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2002.

Sean (spin-off from Men of Courage anthology; also see below), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.

Jingle Bell Rock, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2003.

Against the Odds (spin-off from His Private Pleasure), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.

Merry Christmas Baby, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2004.

Catch Me If You Can, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2004.

Sleeping with Beauty, Bantam (New York, NY), 2005.

Bad Boys in Kilts, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2006.

Not So Snow White, Bantam Dell (New York, NY), 2006.

The Great Scot, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2007.

Also author of Walk on the Wild Side, In the Heat of the Night, and Carried Away, all published by Harlequin. Contributor to anthologies.


The Three Musketeers: Surrender the Dark, Bantam (New York, NY), 1995.

The Three Musketeers: Born to Be Wild, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

The Three Musketeers: Midnight Heat, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.


Santerra's Sin, Bantam (New York, NY), 1996.

Silent Warrior, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.

Light My Fire, Bantam (New York, NY), 1997.

Dark Knight, Bantam (New York, NY), 1998.


The Legend MacKinnon, Bantam (New York, NY), 1999.

The Legend of the Sorcerer, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.

Your Wish Is My Command, Bantam (New York, NY), 2000.

The Royal Hunter, Bantam (New York, NY), 2001.

The Charm Stone, Bantam (New York, NY), 2002.


The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, Bantam (New York, NY), 2003.

The Cinderella Rules, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.

Dear Prince Charming, Bantam (New York, NY), 2004.


The Black Sheep and the Princess, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2007.

The Black Sheep and the Hidden Beauty, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2008.

The Black Sheep and the English Rose, Kensington Brava (New York, NY), 2008.


Romance novelist Donna Kauffman has either won or been nominated for an award for nearly every book she has published. She wrote her first romance novel, Illegal Motion, while pregnant with her second child. According to Sarah Schafer, writing in the Washington Post, when Kauffman is confronted with the frequently asked question of when she intends to "write a real book," her response is simply that "it's entertainment … that's what I want to do," and jokes that country singer Willie Nelson is not ever asked about writing an opera. "Besides," Kauffman added, "romance books are a billion-dollar business. Who has to defend that?"

Kauffman described to Schafer that her first book was published through an "accidental" meeting with an editor while attending a writers conference in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The editor was frightened by a noise in the spooky old hotel the group was staying in and "came barreling into" Kauffman in the hallway. Kauffman helped the woman trace the noise to a handyman simply doing his duty; the editor helped her publish her book. The women became fast friends, and the editor ultimately became deputy vice publisher with Bantam.

Kauffman's books almost always receive favorable reviews. Reviewing for Romance Reader, Ellen Hestand commented after reading Tease Me that the book and the author "are both gems in my book," and called the story a "sexy, funny, good-timing romp that nevertheless packs a few emotionally intense punches … and doesn't sacrifice quality for laughs." Judi McKee, also a reviewer for Romance Reader, noted that Kauffman's characters are believable, real-world types and praised the way in which Kauffman builds a "real sexual tension" between them. "The relationship heats up at a believable pace, with a nice blend of action and insight into the characters' thoughts," commented McKee. Similarly, Romance Reader contributor Linda Mowery liked the fact that in Walk on the Wild Side, Kauffman's characters "seem normal, more like you and me, with fears and doubts about finally giving up autonomy and letting another person matter deeply."

The Legend of MacKinnon was Kauffman's first paranormal romance and could almost be said to be three novels in one. "Somehow, she wove the combination of six main characters and the various paranormal threads into a cohesive, if busy, whole," wrote Susan Scribner for Romance Reader. Duncan MacKinnon is a tall, 300-year-old Scottish ghost who, when spooking Maggie, the mortal heroine, for the first time, wears nothing but a kilt. Of the several challenges faced by Kauffman in this book, it was important, she told Schafer, for the heroine "to have reactions we would have." In order to make the entire story believable, she traveled to Scotland to complete her background research.

Kauffman's subsequent paranormals were also well received. A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews commented that The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, the story of a "been-there, done-that babe [who] falls for Mr. Nice Guy," is a "wisp of a story deftly spun to novel length—with a zippy style to keep it going." Of The Charm Stone, an intergenerational romance between a young South Carolina surfer girl and (again) a 300-year-old Scottish ghost, a Publishers Weekly reviewer wrote that the book is a good balance of romance and humor and that its "charm lies … in its playful plot, lively Scottish island setting, appropriately funny writing style, and eccentric cast of characters." Regarding Royal Hunter, Maria Hatton, writing in Booklist commented that readers "are in for a great adventure."

The Cinderella Rules features Darby Landon, a rich young woman who had opted to give up the heiress life and instead live on a rough-and-tumble ranch in Montana. However, when her sister Pepper needs her help to show their father's business partner the sights in the nation's capital, Darby realizes that her ranching lifestyle has left her far removed from the glitz of society life and she is in need of a bit of a makeover. While heading to Glass Slipper Inc. for a bit of glamour, she meets Shane Morgan, a handsome businessman newly returned from abroad after inheriting is grandmother's business. Between Shane and her father' business partner, Stefan Bjornsen, Darby soon finds herself juggling handsome men. But which is the frog and which is the prince? A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the Cinderella analogy rang false due to Darby's wealth, but concluded overall that "Kauffman writes with warmth, wit, and swashbuckling energy."

In Dear Prince Charming, heroine Valerie Wagner used to want to be a model, but has long since accepted that she in neither tall enough nor gorgeous enough to pull off that career. She is, however, happy to be working for Glass Slipper, a new magazine that appreciates her eye for talent. Her first find is Eric, a handsome hunk of a best-selling author who writes under a pseudonym, but has agreed to provide the magazine a relationship column, as well as to pose for the cover. One major catch is revealed, however: Eric is gay and in no hurry to come out of the closet, since that would do little for his reputation as an expert on the dynamics of heterosexual love. However, Eric comes up with his own solution, volunteering his best buddy Jack, a very-straight sports writer, to take his place. But does Jack know enough about the game of love to pass out advice? Jack decides it's worth the risk, particularly once he gets a look at Valerie. A contributor for Kirkus Reviews remarked: "Nothing to it, but Kauffman … has a wonderful knack for turning nothing into sparkling fun."

Not So Snow White features top tennis player Tess Hamilton, whose jet-set life and media-friendly career comes to a screeching halt when she injures herself severely enough to take her out of the game for good. Having burned through her money as fast as she made it, Tess is distraught to find herself not just relegated to the sidelines in the sport she loves, but flat broke and in desperate need of cash. When Glass Slipper recommends her as a coach for up-and-coming tennis whiz kid Gaby Fontaine, a sixteen-year-old with an attitude who's been raised by her brother Max, Tess decides to take the challenge. Max is less than thrilled, as he remembers Tess's own reputation and would prefer a more calming influence for his sister, but Gaby couldn't be happier. Tess and Max are ultimately the pair that bicker, which of course leads to tension of a different nature. Booklist reviewer Maria Hatton praised the book as a "well-written contemporary romance with its lively byplay, humor, and very human characters."

Kauffman kicks off her "Unholy Trinity" series with The Black Sheep and the Princess. Donovan MacLeod used to be the town bad boy, the drunken handyman's illegitimate son with a chip on his shoulder. However, he is all grown up now, a former New York City cop with his own company: Trinity. Kate Sutherland has inherited the town camp from her mother, but she intends to reopen it as a camp for disabled children. When she tries to find workers to help with the necessary repairs and reconstruction, she finds herself ignored by the townspeople. The local police prove just as ineffectual when she seeks to find out who has been vandalizing the property. Enter Donovan, the boy she used to love from afar. He promises her that his company can help both with repairs and security. Kate is happily surprised when the other two members of Trinity turn out to be Donovan's best friends and fellow hellions of his youth. Booklist reviewer Mary K. Chelton praised the detailed mystery, but ultimately remarked that "it is watching good sex turn into love that makes this such a winner."

The Black Sheep and the Hidden Beauty is the next entry in Kauffman's "Unholy Trinity" series. In this installment, she focuses on Trinity member Rafe, who finds himself enamored by Elena, the newest horse trainer at Dalton Downs in Virginia. Elena initially appeared with her pregnant horse, searching for a quiet place for the animal to stable and eventually to foal. With her quiet demeanor and baggy clothes, Elena is not the type that usually draws Rafe's attention, which is his first clue that perhaps she is not quite what she seems. Curious, Rafe begins taking riding lessons from Elena in an effort to learn more about her, but when he starts digging into her past on his own, he finds he has inadvertently put both her and her horse in danger. Maria Hatton, reviewing for Booklist, opined that "not only is this a fine romance, it's a great suspense story as Rafe uncovers secrets of the horse-racing world." Kauffman continues the series with The Black Sheep and the English Rose.



Booklist, September 15, 2000, Nina Davis, review of Santerra's Sin, p. 225; September 15, 2001, Maria Hatton, review of The Royal Hunter, p. 204; May 1, 2003, Beth Leistensnider, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, p. 1579; May 1, 2006, Maria Hatton, review of Not So Snow White, p. 75; July 1, 2007, Mary K. Chelton, review of The Black Sheep and the Princess, p. 37; December 1, 2007, Maria Hatton, review of The Black Sheep and the Hidden Beauty, p. 29.

Entertainment Weekly, June 13, 2003, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, p. 100.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2003, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, pp. 496-497; July 1, 2004, review of Dear Prince Charming, p. 598.

Library Journal, May 1, 2003, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, p. 154.

Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2001, review of The Royal Hunter, p. 66; July 8, 2002, review of The Charm Stone, p. 37; May 26, 2003, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All, p. 48; December 15, 2003, review of The Cinderella Rules, p. 39.

Washington Post, September 9, 1999, Sarah Schafer, "Author Profits from Her Passion; Sterling Woman Finds Her Happily Ever After Writing Romance Novels," interview with Donna Kauffman, V5.


AuthorsontheWeb.com,http://www.authorsontheweb.com/ (February, 2004), "Chick Lit Author Roundtable."

Donna Kauffman Home Page,http://www.donnakauffman.com (April 17, 2008).

Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (July 10, 2004), Susan Scribner, review of The Royal Hunter; Irene Williams, review of Your Wish Is My Command; Susan Scribner, review of The Charm Stone; Susan Scribner, review of The Big Bad Wolf Tells All; Susan Scribner, review of The Royal Hunter; Irene Williams, review of In the Heat of the Night; Ellen Hestand, review of Tease Me; Judi McKee, review of Carried Away; Linda Mowery, review of Walk on the Wild Side; Susan Scribner, review of The Legend of the Sorcerer.

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