I didn’t get a chance to read and review The Spiderwick Chronicles and will save that for another day. So, I have come up with another topic that I hope will spark discussion: Where are They Now? There are certain authors whose work I’ve enjoyed in the past who now seem to have disappeared into obscurity. Many of these authors hit their stride in the late 80’s and 90’s and then vanished from the publishing world. What gives? Are they writing under another pen name that I don’t know about? Or have they unofficially retired? I mean what’s the deal?
I’ve come up with a list of authors who I used to read but who have disappeared. If you have any info to share about their current status in the publishing field, do drop me a line as I am curious to know if they are still writing. Also, this post gives me a chance to spotlight the books I’ve read and enjoyed that maybe some of you have never heard of before. A trip down memory lane. I haven’t reread them so I don’t know if I would enjoy these stories today. You’ve been warned.
First up is Katherine Sutcliffe. Despite my half-hearted search on the ‘net for her status as an author, I have nothing to report. I personally thought she wrote excellent romantic suspense novels. Her heroines oft proved to be controversial but she wrote with plenty of verve and atmosphere. My first Sutcliffe novel was actually a historical romance called Dream Fever. It’s been years since I read it but I remember the hero was tortured. She wrote a lot of historicals and was just getting started with romantic suspense and then – nothing. Ms. Sutcliffe’s last published work was Bad Moon Rising. She had another book that was due to come but it never saw the light of day.
Penelope Williamson. If you’ve read this blog or know me or visited my about me page, her book, Heart of the West sits at the top of any list I put together. I love that book even though it is not perfect. Heart of the West is a frontier book and it just resonated with me on a level that is hard to explain. In case you didn’t know, Ms. Williamson wrote a couple of suspense novels set in New Orleans, featuring detective Daman Roarke. The books are Mortal Sins and Wages of Sin. The books do have a romantic subplot but I’ve only read the first book and have the second on my bookshelf. From what I remember, the romantic relationship in the novel was not the focus but the chemistry was nice. I’d always heard wonderful things about her historicals especially Once In A Blue Moon which sits on my bookshelf as well. I loved her contemporary novel, The Passions of Emma. Ms. Williamson always wrote with grace and style. Her books were always emotionally rich and I really miss her voice in romance fiction.
Elizabeth Elliott. Remember The Warlord? That was the only book from her that I read and I loved it. There is also Betrothed (1996) and Scoundrel (1996). I own her entire back list–short as it is and glancing through used bookstore shelves, you’ll find a title or two but The Warlord is hard to find around these parts. Ms. Elliot wrote historical romances during the 1990’s. I remember The Warlord was such a hit back then. I haven’t read any of her other historicals and I don’t know when I’ll ever read them but I always wonder what ever became of her.
Annette Reynolds. Ms. Reynolds penned a contemporary romance that I loved, titled, Remember the Time. It features a best friends to lovers theme and it was Ms. Reynolds first book and the only book she published. I remember being so engaged in the story that I just couldn’t put it down. Yes, it’s melodramatic and flawed but overall the novel was a page-turner for me. I’d heard from the author one time – a few years back that she was working on a project but I haven’t heard from her in awhile. She would be what I would classify as a “one hit wonder.” The reason why she left the publishing world was due to an editor disagreement.
Laura Leone. Ms. Leone still writes only she just doesn’t write romance. She doesn’t have an audience she says. Well, with the Five Star release of Fallen From Grace, a book about a male prostitute, romance fans were raving left and right about the book. Some even went looking for her backlist. Alas, she still doesn’t write romance. Her books tend to be a bit controversial with readers. It’s not everyday you have a hero as a male prostitute and even with Fallen From Grace, she still held back. Yes, the romance world would welcome Ms. Leone I say but you all may say something different. I loved her road romance, Fever Dreams, which is getting more difficult to find around these parts.
Alina Adams wrote two contemporary romance novels, Annie’s Wild Ride and When A Man Loves A Woman. She no longer writes romance. She’s now writing cozy Ice skating mysteries under the same name. I’ve read three of the books thus far in the series and find them entertaining with a mystery that is not very challenging. I only mention her because I remember how popular her first book was or should I say how controversial the hero was in the book of Annie’s Wild Ride. I think it was a marriage in trouble type theme. I’m too lazy to look it up. I never read her romances but just in case readers were ever curious about her, she writes cozies now.
Judith Ivory/Judy Cuevas – MIA. Love her voice and miss it. One of the best writers of romance fiction and she no longer writes. It is depressing to even say out loud. Top favorites: Bliss, Dance, Beast and The Proposition.
Laura Kinsale is the standard of which I compare all historical romance writers. She is the queen of angst and of character flaws. Her prose is lyrical and her novels are to be devoured and reread again and again. Her heroes are tortured and flawed or as one reader said “too flawed.” Kinsale’s last book was released back in 2004 and that book was, Shadowheart, the sequel to For My Lady’s Heart. My favorite Kinsale novels are Flowers From the Storm, Prince of Midnight and The Shadow and the Star. She is currently without a publisher and that is too disheartening to say out loud, too. I still haven’t read Dream Hunter but I will. *I did email Ms. Kinsale and she said that she is currently working on updating her website and if there is any news to be shared it would posted there.
Maggie Osborne, as I heard it has retired. She wrote many historical romances but I loved The Wives of Bowie Stone. Love. That. Book. I don’t often list it on a top ten list but it’s up there. The heroine in the book is an alcoholic and the hero she saves from being hung, is already married. The hero was sentenced to death and could only be pardoned through marriage. It was due to some kind of law where men were needed for labor. The book has long since been out of print but it’s worth finding it.
I could go on and on as there were many, many excellent writers from the good ole days. The Golden era of romance where it seems that every book was a hit. Sigh. I still have quite a few books from that era sitting in my TBR pile. Ok, talk to me. What authors do you miss most? What authors from the 90’s do you still enjoy today? What up and coming authors are you excited about today? I wonder if readers will reflect on the books of today with the same nostalgic feeling of greatness and fondness of the 90’s?