July 28, 1999
NOTE: Keep in mind that her favorites might have changed seven hundred times since 1999.
Q: Which of your contemporary books is your personal favorite?
That’s probably the hardest of all questions for me, or any author to answer, because it’s a little like asking us to chose our favorite child. (Clay, if you’re reading this, don’t you dare start in on this subject. )
I think the best way to answer is to do it off the top of my head, based on my feelings at this moment. Of my contemporaries, I think PARADISE is my favorite and Matt Farrell my favorite hero. Now, before you react to that, I need to explain that my reasons aren’t those of a reader, they’re those of a writer.
In the first place, PARADISE was a break-out book for me–It was my first “big” contemporary (the other two had been Harlequins written about 12 years before. )
Now, some of you may find this hard to believe but there’s a whole group of historical romance fans who truly resent it when I write a contemporary, instead of an historical. Fortunately, there’s a vastly larger group love both contemporaries and historicals, but I wasn’t completely certain of that when I decided to write PARADISE.
Furthermore, besides being my first hardcover release, PARADISE was also going to be my first “mainstream romance” (don’t even try to ask me to define that distinction. It’s a publishing thing that kind of defies easy description).
Given all that, I was truly uneasy (read that as petrified) about what I was trying to do and if I could do it well.
And then along came Matt Farrell. Within the first few chapters, he struggled out of my apprehensive imagination, moved me gently out of his way, and by his very vivid presence, he sort of took over. He didn’t need me to re-shape him, or smooth out his edges. I didn’t have to continually re-write him and ponder and agonize over whether or not such a character might logically–and likeably–do and say certain things.
He was just so…alive. And, I thought, pretty wonderful.
In an interesting aside, I should add that to my constant surprise, the men who read my books (or are forced to read them by their wives) invariably ending up not only liking PARADISE best, but identifying themselves very proudly with Matt Farrell.
For many of those same reasons, I also loved Meredith as a heroine. I liked what she stood for–despite her beauty and wealth and social position, she had heart, she had kindness, she had empathy. She represented all the good things women can be. True, she was a little prim, but she was prim in a lovely, comic, self-conscious way.
The other reason I’m inclined to choose PARADISE (today, not necessarily next week, you understand), is that despite all my misgivings, PARADISE hit the best-seller lists like a rocket when it was released, and it gained for our entire genre a whole new group of readers who’d been eschewing romance novels their whole life and who, furthermore, only bought hardcovers. (Prior to PARADISE, only a few romance authors had ever been released in hardcover. In fact, I think the only ones were Kathleen Woodiwiss, Jude Deveraux, and LaVyrle Spencer. Of those, Jude had been released about a year before me and for the first time. As I recall, LaVyrle’s hardcover preceded mine by only a few months. What I’m getting at there is that the whole notion was new and seemed awfully risky.)
Q: Which of your historical novels is your personal favorite?
Picking my favorite historical novel/characters is even tougher, because it’s a hopeless tie in my mind between ALMOST HEAVEN and KINGDOM OF DREAMS:
The heroes of those two novels are great favorites of mine for similar reasons: I loved their strength and humanity; I loved their humor, etc.
Jennifer Merrick would be my pick for favorite heroine, but she’d tie with Whitney, I think. Although I loved Elizabeth in AH…
That’s the best I can do, people. I’m already starting to have misgivings about my own answers. I mean, what about Jordan and Alexandra and Clayton…
I’d better post this before I change my mind about all of it.
Copyright: Simon & Schuster, Rememberboard, 1999