▶️ From ‘Summer of Smut’ to best-seller: Meet Bend rom-com author Tawna Fenske


It’s Valentine’s Day and a Bend writer wants to put you in a romantic mood with a good read and some laughs. 

Tawna Fenske is a USA Today best selling author who specializes in romantic comedies.

“My style, especially like with with the sexier scenes, is always like, ‘This shouldn’t be sexy, but it totally is,'” Tawna says.

“I write romantic comedy, so there’s that added layer of, you know, life should be fun and funny. And yes, I want to weave in kind of those threads of humor and heartache and love and everything.”  

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Tawna says she’s written some 50 books

“My degree is in English Lit. So would you like fries with that?” she asks.

Tawna says despite her degree, she never tried her hand at writing until something happened at her book club.

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“We were doing this thing we called ‘Summer of Smut.’ We read a romance novel by a very famous romance author at the time. I’m not going to repeat the name, but I remember being kind of like, ‘This can get published. I can get published.’ And so I set out to write a romance novel and discovered it’s a whole lot harder than I thought it was.” 


Tawna says writing a romance novel isn’t as easy as some might think.

“A guarantee of a romance novel is that there’s going to be a happily ever after at the end. But the trick isn’t actually making two people fall in love, it’s having 350 pages of what keeps them apart. What issues do they have to work through? What conflicts do they have? What self-growth do they have to get through to find their happily ever after?”


Tawna, a native Oregonian, mixes her life experiences with familiar landscapes.

“I get a lot of like, ‘Hey, was this restaurant based on this place or this location or this hiking spot?’ Yes, and most people from Bend can recognize it.”

Tawna is a regimented writer. 

“My strict writing days are Mondays and Fridays. I write 4,000 words a day on those days.”

And when the writing gets racy, there is no loss for synonyms to describe certain body parts.

“You know, I don’t really have that much trouble with that.”

And she gets some help when she has to describe certain situations.

“My poor husband is used to me like going up to his office, like, ‘Hey, honey, I need to figure out, like, if I were sitting on the counter and, you know, if I’m 5-foot-4 and you’re 6-foot-1, where would you think that line up if I were sitting there.’ He gets pulled into that kind of stuff all the time.”

Oh sure, there are plenty of hot takes on the steamy genre.

“Romance authors are used to like being kind of the butt of the joke and ‘When are you going to write a real book?’ And I mean, honestly, I freakin’ love writing romance. I love that I get to write stories about women deserving happily ever afters and personal growth. I just I’ve always found that sort of noteworthy that that this genre so focused on women is the one that gets all the flak.”

Tawna says she’s about to start a new series of romantic comedies set along a fictional Oregon Coast. You can discover more of her work at this link.



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