December 1998, ROMANTIC TIMES
No author can write from the heart with as much power as Judith McNaught, whether its a simple, heartfelt dedication to her first grandchild or a gripping murder mystery.
Just in time for Christmas, Night Whispers is a seamless blend of romance and mystery, reminiscent of Judith’s earlier bestseller Perfect.
The heroine is a police detective named Sloan, a down-to-earth, neat, pretty girl, with a wealthy twin sister shes never met.
Paul Richardson, the FBI agent from Perfect, makes his appearance in Night Whispers as a more important secondary character. The hero, Noah Maitland, is the best of all heroes.
“I’m in love with these characters, admits Judith, “They’re the kind of characters I used to love to do. This book has a good book balance and is a very serious murder. And I’m proud of the dedication”, she adds with a decided sparkle in her eyes.
Set in Palm Beach, Sloan is age 30 when the book opens, and her father contacts her for the first time. She turns him away, then discovers the FBI has her father under surveillance and wants Sloan to accept his invitation in order to get their agent inside as her friend.
“Sloan pretends to be an interior designer and there’s some good comedy in there,” says Judith with delight. “When the twin sister and father meet Sloan, they ask what she thinks of the decor and she says she thinks a picture needs to be straightened.”
No one is more critical of cover illustration than Ms. McNaught and this new one wins her approval. “The cover of Night Whispers is very moody and mysterious, very simple, no flowers, adds” Judith, who learned long ago the importance of framing her work.
The entire background is hazy, watery, and intriguing, the colors wash from aqua to lavender. It was designed by Pocket and I fell in love with it on sight. In addition, there’s a black banner across the front of the book with Judith’s name emblazoned in gold.
If you were a reader in the mid- 80s, when Judith first published, you may recall how quickly she rose to the top. Instead of taking a book or two, her magnificent writing immediately reached a wide public primarily as a result of her instinctive marketing abilities.
For example, before getting published, she realized that aside from strong covers, successful authors always had their names in large letters at the top of the book. She decided that even a fledgling writer like herself should follow suit. It was one of the many basics that Judith incorporated to mastermind an impressive writing career.
But does success come easily now, after more than a dozen years as a top seller?
No. I’m always on a horrible deadline, she says with obvious frustration, having taken nearly two years to complete her latest book and working up to the last minute.
Judith believes that a high level of stress is a problem for many romance writers. (This stress may or may not account for the rash of fatal illnesses, such as cancer, that continues to crop up among authors.)
Most of these writers have such fears, hopes and ambitions, with absolutely no control over the outcome; it stresses them out in a very chronic way, says Judith sagely.
After the death of her father last year and a cancer scare with her mother, Judith decided that it was time to reevaluate her life and create a better balance between working and playing. Its also time to give back, she adds. Raising funds for meaningful charities, including free cancer screenings, has become high on her agenda.
Last summer, the Texas Womens Monthly selected her among their four favorite authors, along with John Grisham, Patricia Cornwell and Dean Koontz.
A recent spectacular spread in the Houston Business Journal profiled Judith as possessing sophisticated sensuality and photographed her in a strapless evening gown at the top of her winding staircase. It said: Her imagination runs wild in an impeccably decorated palace on the south shore of Clear Lake where characters are born and she turns them into bestsellers.
After the holidays, Judith is off to Las Vegas with her mother and daughter, to gamble and play. Then she wants to go to Greece when the weather is right.
I really want to start traveling and enjoying my life. Instead of living the good life, it has been living me.
Copyright: Romantic Times