Will a romance novelist be the next governor of Georgia?


If Georgia Democrats get their way, the next governor of the state might be a prolific author of romance novels.

Stacey Abrams, the minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, filed paperwork Tuesday for a gubernatorial run, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Abrams says she is exploring a run and has not yet committed to the race.

Abrams is a Yale-educated attorney and businesswoman who has also written eight romance books under the pen name Selena Montgomery. Her latest, a novel called “Deception,” was published in 2009 by Avon, a HarperCollins imprint.


Abrams’ biography on the HarperCollins website describes her as “a lawyer by day and a writer during every waking hour.”

“She is also an obsessive consumer of political biographies, every genre of fiction, good television, and film and movies (which are different),” the biography reads. “She is still mourning the passing of ‘Buffy’ and the end of the ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ franchise.”

Abrams wrote her first book, “Rules of Engagement,” as a third-year law student at Yale University, she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2013.

She originally envisioned the book as a spy thriller, but was worried that publishers would be reluctant to publish an espionage-themed novel by a female writer.

“I found if I made my spy fall in love, I could publish it as romance,” Abrams said. “They got to kill all the same people they were going to kill, but they fell in love at the end of the story.”

If elected, Abrams wouldn’t be the first romance novelist to win statewide office. Susan Combs, the former state agriculture commissioner and comptroller of Texas, published a steamy erotic novel called “A Perfect Match” in 1990, two years before being elected to the Texas House of Representatives.


Combs, a Republican, never published another novel. Her book did cause a brief controversy in 2006 during her run for comptroller, when her Democratic opponent, Fred Head, attacked her over the novel. Combs beat Head in a landslide.

Fiction writers have had mixed results when it comes to political runs. Novelist Norman Mailer made headlines when he sought the Democratic nomination for mayor of New York City in 1969, running on a platform that urged the city to secede from the state of New York.

Mailer lost the election, garnering just 5% of the vote.

Jim Webb, a decorated Vietnam veteran who wrote the acclaimed 1978 novel “Fields of Fire,” had better luck in his first run for office.

Webb, who had previously served as secretary of the Navy, defeated George Allen to become a U.S. senator from Virginia in 2006.

He retired after one term, and briefly sought the Democratic nomination for president, dropping out of the race in 2015 after disappointing fundraising and poll results.

It’s not known yet whether Abrams will have the field to herself if she decides to seek the Democratic nomination for Georgia governor.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson and state representative Stacey Evans could also decide to mount bids.

Jason Carter, a former Georgia state senator and a grandson of former President Carter, has also expressed interest in running.