It’s pretty standard for books to feature main characters who are detectives, teachers, and other professionals, but what about writers? They say to write what you know, yet authors are often overlooked within works of fiction. It’s a shame because I love reading about writers, whether they’re solving mysteries, falling in love, or finding themselves. Here are my absolute favorite novels with writer protagonists.
‘The Princess Diaries’ by Meg Cabot
Mia Thermopolis is a princess. But she’s also a writer, so I get to include her on this list. Throughout the series, Mia works on a romance book called Ransom My Heart, while also dealing with her own royal and romantic problems. Plus, the entire story is framed as entries in Mia’s personal diary.
The Princess Diaries is the first book in the iconic series and finds Mia finding out she’s not just a high school freshman: She’s the princess of Genovia. The rest of the series follows her growth as both a person and a princess.
‘No Words’ by Meg Cabot
While I’m talking about Meg Cabot’s books, I want to mention the only “adult” book of hers that I’ve read. No Words is the third in a series of related standalone books that take place on Little Bridge Island in the Florida Keys.
Jo Wright never planned on being in the same place as Will Price ever again if she had a say in it. When she finds out he’s out of town just in time for a book festival, Jo jumps at the chance. But then he shows up and challenges everything she thought she knew about him.
‘One Hot Italian Summer’ by Karina Halle
I already wanted to go to Italy for the food and architecture, but One Hot Italian Summer made me crave my own summer romance. Or maybe I just want to write in a beautiful Italian villa and live my dreams out as Grace does.
Grace is only in Italy to break through her grief-induced writer’s block at her agent’s villa. But then her agent’s ex-husband and son stop by after a canceled trip. While Paris is the City of Love, Italy isn’t too far off for a forbidden romance.
‘I Kissed Alice’ by Anna Birch and Victoria Ying
I am so glad I stumbled upon this in the “related books” section on Amazon. It’s the ultimate enemies-turned-lovers romance, and you know that I can’t resist those!
Illiana and Rhodes are rivals at school and can’t stand each other. However, I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are falling in love while working on a graphic novel online together. What the screen names don’t know is they’re falling for their school rival. And it’s about to get a lot more complicated when the truth finally comes out.
‘Final Draft’ by Riley Redgate
Have you ever had a teacher or mentor you just wanted to impress so much that it consumed your life? Laila in Final Draft knows that too well, and it leads her far from who she truly is.
At the beginning of the book, Laila enjoys writing science-fiction and adventures – and she’s good at it. But when a change in mentor makes her question herself, she doesn’t know what to do. Laila changes who she is for approval, but how much of herself will she lose?
‘The Downstairs Girl’ by Stacey Lee
While this book isn’t your typical “writer” story, it’s exciting and page-turning. The Downstairs Girl is a historical fiction that feels timeless. Its mystery and romance keep you on your toes as you read.
Set in Georgia during the 1800s, The Downtown Girl follows Jo Kuan, a writer by night and maid by day. As people try to uncover her identity from her writings, Jo embarks on a journey to find the parents that gave her up.
‘Emergency Contact’ by Mary H.K. Choi
I was on the fence about this book for years before revisiting it last summer. It made me want my own text-buddy who could become my best friend after a not-so-meet-cute. The only gripe I have about the book now is that I wish it didn’t have to end.
Emergency Contact follows the budding relationship of Penny and Sam. Penny is a writer who moved to Austin for college, and Sam is a down-on-his-luck boy who dreams of working in the film industry. When they exchange numbers, they’re able to avoid awkwardness and be truly themselves without filters.
‘A Rogue of Own’s Own’ by Evie Dunmore
I only gravitated to this book because of the cover. But the synopsis sold me, and I found myself falling in love with the characters. If you love Bridgerton, you’ll probably love this just as much, if not more.
All Lucie wants is to use her publishing house to stage a coup; all Tristan wants is one night with Lucie. Their back and forth – both in public and private – will tip the scales for both of them. But which way will the scales go? This book is technically part of a series, but you can read it as a standalone.
‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
Fangirl is the book that got me hooked on reading about fictional writers, so I had to include it. I could barely put it down; in fact, I might have gotten into a bit of trouble in class because of it. Something about Cath and Levi’s relationship just makes my heart warm.
Cath is a fanfiction author who dreams of writing and publishing her own books one day. While dealing with her twin bonding with their estranged mother, a roommate that’s her complete opposite, and falling for a guy she doesn’t think she should like, Cath manages to find herself and her voice.
‘Spoiler Alert’ by Olivia Dade
Olivia Dade knows how to write a compelling romance regardless of the protagonist’s profession. But since this list is about fictional writers, I’m going to talk about Spoiler Alert.
Fanfiction writer and cosplayer April is thrust into the spotlight when her latest cosplay catches the eye of actor (and secret writer himself) Marcus. After one horrible date, they end up finding themselves falling in love despite the huge secret that could cost him his job.
‘Happily Ever Afters’ by Elise Bryant
Happily Ever Afters is a newer book, but I’m still surprised it hasn’t blown up on the BookTok side of TikTok. Tessa is so relatable to teenagers and adults who grew up writing. It’s sure to tug at your heartstrings a little.
Tessa has never had a problem writing beautiful stories, but when she’s finally given a chance in the spotlight, she blanks. To find the story within her, she must become the protagonist of her own life and strike off on a romantic journey that sees her torn between two boys in her life.
‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott
Though Little Women follows the four March sisters, you could argue that the writer of the family is the main character. Each of the sisters’ personalities is distinct and fun, but Jo and Amy are the “creatives” that caught my heart.
Jo’s story is my favorite because it shows the difficulty of getting proper recognition as a writer. Her struggles to get published and taken seriously are so relatable and a bit charming to aspiring authors.
‘Finlay Donovan Is Killing It’ by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first book in a series that features Finlay, a writer who gets wrapped up in a murder mystery that could have been in one of her books.
There are only two books in the series (the third is on the way in 2023), but I’m crossing my fingers Elle Cosimano comes out with more soon. I can’t get enough of Finlay and her slightly non-law-biding shenanigans. It’s filling the void that the end of Bones left in my heart.
‘Beach Read’ by Emily Henry
If you’ve been on social media recently, especially BookTok, there’s no doubt you were waiting for me to talk about Beach Read. Emily Henry exploded onto the scene with her romances, and this book is my favorite so far. The characters are so fun and realistic.
Beach Read follows two authors, Augustus and January, challenging each other to start writing again. Both are struggling with their next book, but a chance encounter pushes them past their limits. And while it may lead to new bestsellers, it could also lead to something romantic.