You can't have an Oldies But Goodies
discussion without mentioning Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.
I read Ms Woodiwiss' first book “The Flame and the Flower" years ago. It was immediately followed by “The Wold and the Dove.” As much as I liked 'Flame' “The Wolf and the Dove” became my favorite book and still is number one on my list. I read the book, and when the last page was done I started at page one all over again.
I remember thinking way back that she must get paid by the word for her future books seem to grow longer and larger each edition. Ms.Woodiwiss had a way with words. At times you needed to pull out your dictionary. I didn't find this annoying, as it became more of a challenge, for with her my own vocabulary grew.
The words she used filled in the blanks. When she supplied the details of a room or gown your could close your eyes and see every detail, even in the shadows. If you find one of her books... beware you can't read just one.
Here's some back ground information.
She was born Kathleen Erin Hogg in Louisiana.] As a child, she relished creating her own stories, and by age six was telling herself stories at night to help fall asleep.
At the age of sixteen, she met U.S. Air Force Second Lieutenant Ross Eugene Woodiwis at a dance.They married the following year. Her husband's military career led them to live in Japan, where she worked part-time as a fashion model for an American-owned modeling agency.
Eventually, the family settled in Minnesota. During these years, she attempted to write a novel several times, but each time stopped in frustration at the slow pace of writing in longhand. After buying her husband an electric typewriter as a Christmas present, she appropriated the machine to begin her novel in earnest.
The Flame and the Flower, 1972
Her debut novel, The Flame and the Flower, was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers as being too long at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel. The Flame and the Flower was revolutionary, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and actual sex scenes.
Woodiwiss published twelve best-selling romance novels, with over thirty-six million copies in print. Woodiwiss was known for the quality of her novels rather than the quantity of works she published. Woodiwiss attributed the lag in publication time to personal and health issues, while in others she confessed to having suffered burnout and needing a rest to recover her interest in writing.
All of her novels were historical romances set in varied backgrounds, including the American Civil War, 18th-century England, or Saxony in the time of William the Conqueror. The heroines of the novels are strong-willed young women with "a spark of life and determination. Woodiwiss describes her novels as "fairy tales. They are an escape for the reader, like an Errol Flynn movie."
She died in Minnesota, aged 68, from cancer.
Her final book, Everlasting, was released on October 30, 2007.
Thank you, Kathleen for the inspiration.
Most all her books have book reissued with updated covers and are available on line.
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