Are you a romance fan as well as podcast listener? If you love squeeing over new books, hearing interviews with your favorite authors, and listening to discussions of alphas vs. alphaholes, these are the best podcasts for you to listen to while you’re driving, cleaning, or chilling in bed. Since some of these shows are long-running, I’ve also listed an episode that would be a great starter for those of you new to the podcast. Happy listening!
A podcast out of Australia, Book Thingo has thoughtful and fascinating interviews with authors and academics, gracefully hosted by Kat Mayo. If you like to dig deep into how romance ties into culture, this is the podcast for you. Bonus: if you’ve got a quick commute or are short on time, each episode is only 20 minutes long.
Where to Start: Episode 31: Sandra Antonelli: Silver foxes and heroines over 40. Contemporary romance author Sandra Antonelli shares her incredibly interesting thoughts on writing older heroines, how readers’ age preferences could be linked to a fear of mortality, and whether there’s such a thing as too much reality in romance.
Started by romance authors Christina C. Jones and Alexandra Warren, the podcast Girl, Have You Read is like overhearing a conversation between close friends discussing all things African American romance. The two talk about what they’re writing and reading, and interview fellow authors as well.
Where to start: Episode 21: Black Love Matters. In this short, but powerful, episode, Christina and Alexandra discuss writing romance during hard times, and how penning (and reading) Black romance helps them.
A show centered on gay romance fiction and hosted by husbands and authors Jeff Adams and Will Knauss, the Big Gay Fiction Podcast has author interview and reviews. Jeff and Will are a great resource to the podcast community, and recently presented at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention on how to both host and be a guest on a podcast.
Where to start: In Episode 1: Jeff and Will's Origin Story, you’ll get to hear how they met, started writing, and eventually began the podcast.
The newest podcast on this list, Jules & James is a fiction podcast that captures the conversation of two people who meet when one misdials the other. Inspired by Before Sunrise and Griffin & Sabine, two other stories of chance encounters that bloom into international romance, it’s a slow-burn story of two people growing closer over the phone through thoughtful discussions of art, passion, and culture.
Where to start: Episode 1. Start at the beginning, when British Jules calls James, an American living in Paris, by mistake. It’s awkward, yet they somehow keep talking.
If you’re into comics as well as romance, check out this podcast hosted by a group of guys who not only know their comics, but their comic history. The first romance comic was released in 1947, and the guys will take you through the history and culture around this genre, with a generous dose of humor as they recap the often-wacky stories of the comics themselves. They also talk about romance within comics, such as the many loves of superheroes.
Where to start: Episode 1: I Was a Pick-Up! is a great introduction to not only the group and why they started the podcast, but a history of the early days of the romance comic.
Like other podcasts on this list, Romance between the Pages has author interviews, but they’re more informal, focused on the authors’ personal lives and what they do when they’re not writing. Snippets of each author’s favorite songs are often played during the show, adding to the fun.
Where to start: Episode 17: J.A. Huss will provide you with a peek into the bestselling author’s personal life—where she lives, what she does, and what she’s listening to—and give you a sense of the carefree vibe of the podcast.
Reader Kini Allen hosts Romance Romp, and her understated yet humorous delivery makes each show feel like a really chill conversation between two friends. The 1:1 format in particular helps authors guesting on the program really share a lot about their background, writing, and reading lives.
Where to start: In Episode 10: Kristan Higgins, Kini interviews the popular author about how she got started in romance, Nora Roberts, and the difference between women’s fiction and romance.
A lively discussion between the group of reviewers at Scandalicious Book Reviews, Scandal and her Nerd Herd around the globe share what they’ve been reading before launching into fun discussions every romance reader will dig, from what makes a scene erotic to heroines they want to behead.
Where to start: Episode 157: No Go Heroes gives you a sense of the personalities in this group, as well as a fun discussion of what hero behavior (and occupations) are unacceptable in life vs. books.
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Hosted by Sarah Wendell of romance megasite Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, this podcast is probably the most established on the list. With interviews with not only popular authors but romance editors, librarians, and bloggers, it’ll give you an education of the genre like no other.
Where to start: The recent Episode 247: Romance Podden: Romance Readers in Sweden is a super interesting discussion between Sarah and Swedish romance podcast hosts about how the genre is received in Sweden vs. America.
Centered on queer storytelling in a variety of formats, WROTE is hosted by Jayne Lockwood, SA "Baz" Collins, and Vance Bastian. This podcast features artists of all stripes talking thoughtfully about their creative journeys and artistic processes.
Where to start: Episode 110: Bad Pantser, Be a Plotter is a great discussion between the hosts and author Garett Groves about the stigma of the romance genre and writing the popular (and sometimes controversial) May/December trope as a gay man.
Thirst Aid Kit
If you've ever felt alone in your lust, Thirst Aid Kit is here to validate all your thirstiest thoughts. Hosted by journalist/playwright Bim Adewunmi and poet Nichole Perkins, each episode of this hilarious and heartening podcast highlights one 'thirst object' (typically an actor) or collection of thirst objects (for example, 'Southern Baes').
Together, Adewunmi and Perkins — who have incredible chemistry — attempt to define what, exactly, makes a person worthy of thirst. This exploration always involves way more than just extolling a hottie's physical beauty. Often, a thirst object's capacity as a listener and history as an ally are also mentioned. And although the show primarily focuses on male thirst traps, Thirst Aid Kit also takes care to be inclusive of queer listeners.
The highlight of each episode is the FanFic Wars, in which Adewunmi and Perkins each read a drabble they've written featuring them and the thirst object of the week. Rather than objectifying, these drabbles are a reminder that none of us is alone in our desire to be seen as an equal by someone we love. That, perhaps, is the greatest thirst of all.
Where to start: Episode 12: Chris Evans (feat. Chris Evans), is a great discussion between Adewunmi, Perkins, and that episode's thirst object himself — Captain America, aka Chris Evans.
This article was originally published June 30th, 2017.
Featured photo: Alice Moore / Unsplash