I’d like to introduce you to Jayne Ann Krentz. And Amanda Quick. And Jayne Castle.

Jayne Ann Krentz is a powerhouse author by any standard, having sold over 35 million books since she first published in 1980. She is legendary for her ability to write quickly—she usually releases at least three full length novels in one year—while still maintaining superlative quality in each book, and juggling a dizzying array of characters, locations and plot elements that float seamlessly from book to book, timeline to timeline and author to author.

Unlike some big publishing names who depend on ghost writers or collaborators to help them churn out books at a frenetic pace, JAK (as she’s known in the industry) is truly a one-woman show. “Yes, I do write quickly. The reason is simple: Writing is an addiction—a compulsion—for me,” Krentz says. “I can't stop myself. Once I start a book I become obsessed with telling the story that's in my head. I can't let it go until it's finished. Even if I wrote only one book a year, it would take me the same number of months to complete it as it does now. Every writer has a natural pace. It would be next to impossible for me to change mine."

If you’re wondering why one woman would choose to write books under three different names, let me give you the simple answer: Jayne Ann Krentz writes stories in three different timelines. Amanda Quick is her historical fiction moniker. She publishes contemporary works under her “real” name. And she uses Jayne Castle, her maiden name, for books set in a future world that is different enough to be edgy and allow plot details that would be unrealistic in a contemporary setting, but is also recognizable enough that the books don’t quite tip into a sci-fi or urban dystopian distinction. 

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In fact, JAK is credited with launching the futuristic romance subgenre, laying the groundwork for a multi-million dollar industry with her genre-bending release of Sweet Starfire in 1986, and then combining paranormal, futuristic and romantic suspense elements in a book released in 1996. Today, Krentz’s wildly popular Arcane Society Series—which launched in 2006— connects the three timelines and that intriguing combination of elements though a secretive society of individuals with paranormal gifts, framing each book within her seamless world-building, no matter the timeline, and then giving each hero and heroine a mystery to solve that forces them to use, and sometimes reconcile themselves to, their psychic gifts.

While some writers might be intimidated by the pressure of tracking so many details and keeping three worlds alive and intact, Jayne Ann Krentz thrives on it.  "I would find it hard to abandon any one of my three worlds because each provides a unique landscape. For example, I get to tell stories in my Jayne Castle world that wouldn't work in my Amanda Quick or Jayne Ann Krentz worlds. There are historical plots that would not fly Krentz Coverin either of the other two settings. The change of fictional landscapes is very refreshing for me as a writer. Whenever I leave one world, I'm excited to go into the next." 

Krentz is clearly a good writer who can produce a really marketable book very quickly. So why romance? “I get this question a lot. As if romance is a bad thing, or something I should aspire to escape,” she says. “Frankly, I don’t feel this way at all. There is room in romance for many different kinds of stories and settings. There is space for everything from dark, edgy romantic thrillers to light, entertaining who-done-its. Throughout my career, romance has allowed me to explore different worlds and offered me a freedom no other genre can—or will. Romance is the deepest and most unlimited of all the fiction genres. What’s more, unlike some genres, it is not static or hidebound. It is always in the process of reinventing itself. At the edges it is very fluid;  constantly changing; constantly engaged in experimentation. Successful experiments within romance frequently spill over into the other genres and exert a strong influence.”

I might mention that Krentz is also considered a fierce advocate of the romance genre.

So what can we expect to see from Krentz in the future? At the end of this month she is releasing the newest Jayne Castle book, Deception Cove, set in the futuristic world of Harmony. (Current Jayne Castle fans will be happy to note that Deception Cove includes a new adorable Dust Bunny by the name of Houdini.) This is her third title this year, following Dream Eyes (as Krentz) in January and The Mystery Woman (as Quick) in April. 

Ready for another change of pace, Krentz be releasing her next hardcover, River Road, in January 2014, a quintessential Jayne Ann Krentz romantic-suspense, with no paranormal elements involved. 

Bobbi Dumas writes about the romance genre for NPR and is the founder of ReadARomanceMonth.com. You can also find her and some of her writing colleagues at HowToWriteShop.com, an online writers' resource.