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(Reading time: 4 - 7 minutes)
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Popular Profiles - 07.Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts

Nora Roberts is an American bestselling author of more than 200 romance novels.

Personal Life:

Eleanor Marie Robertson a.k.a Nora Roberts was born on 10 October 1950 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her family were avid readers, so books were always important in her life. Although she had always made up stories in her head, Roberts did not write any story as a child. She attended a Catholic school. During her sophomore year in high school, Roberts transferred to a local public school, Montgomery Blair High School.

Roberts married Ronald Aufdem-Brinke against her parents' wishes, in 1968, as soon as she had graduated from high school. The newly married couple settled in Keedysville, Maryland. Roberts' husband worked at his father's sheet-metal business before joining her parents in their lighting company. She stayed home with their sons, Dan and Jason. Calling this her "Earth Mother" years, Roberts spent much of her time doing crafts, including ceramics and sewing her children's clothes. In 1983, the marriage ended in divorce.

Roberts met her second husband, Bruce Wilder, a carpenter, when she hired him to build her bookshelves. They were married in July 1985. Her husband owns and operates a bookstore in Boonsboro, Maryland called Turn the Page Books. The Wilders also owned the nearby historic Boone Hotel, that was undergoing renovations when it was destroyed by a fire in February, 2008. After 3 million dollars in renovations, Inn Boonsboro opened on February 17, 2009

Writing:

Roberts began to write during a blizzard in February, 1979 while housebound with her two small boys. She submitted her manuscripts to Harlequin, the leading publisher of romance novels, but was repeatedly rejected.

In 1980, a new publisher, Silhouette books, came into picture and Roberts found a home at Silhouette, where her first novel, Irish Thoroughbred, was published in 1981. She used the pseudonym Nora Roberts, a shortened form of her birth name Eleanor Marie Robertson, because she assumed that all authors had pen names.

Between 1982 and 1984, Roberts wrote 23 novels for Silhouette. They were published under various Silhouette imprints: Silhouette Sensation, Silhouette Special Edition and Silhouette Desire, as well as Silhouette Intrigue, and MIRA's reissue program. Despite the large number of books she had produced, Roberts did not have real success until 1985, when she released Playing the Odds, the first novel in her MacGregor family series. The book was an immediate bestseller. Sequels followed, and romance readers began to associate her name with multigenerational sagas.

Roberts was instrumental in helping shift the romance novel away from virginal, eighteen-year-old heroines and superficial male portrayals. Her early heroines were much less passive than the norm. Her novels also featured a more in-depth characterization of the hero, because "the books are about two people, and readers should be allowed into the heads and hearts of both." The years spent writing category romance helped hone her ability to create realistic characters. The category romance's short page count forces writers to be able to "paint" their characters "quickly and clearly in a short amount of time." In 1987, she began writing single title books for Bantam. Five years later she moved to Putnam to write single title hard covers as well as original paperbacks. She reached the hardcover bestseller lists with her fourth hardcover release, 1996's Montana Sky. Despite her hardcover success, Roberts has continued to release single-title novels in paperback. Unlike many of her peers who have crossed from category romance to single-title, she still occasionally writes shorter category romances. Her attachment to the shorter category books stems from her years as a young mother of two boys without much time to read, as she "[remembers] exactly what it felt like to want to read and not have time to read 200,000 words."

Many of Roberts's novels deal extensively with families. Roberts believes that her sense of family is an important part of her life and how she developed. Because family is so important in her life, it is also often reflected in her books. Her "characters come from somewhere, and where they come from, good or bad, has a large part in forming who they are and who they can become."

Roberts has also written romantic suspense novels in the pseudonym J.D.Robb. The popular "In Death" series are written using this pseudonym.

Awards, Records and Recognitions:

  • Nora Roberts was the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.
  • Roberts and her career were featured in Pamela Regis's A Natural History of the Romance Novel. Regis calls Roberts "a master of the romance novel form, because she "has a keen ear for dialogue, constructs deft scenes, maintains a page-turning pace, and provides compelling characterization." 
  • Publishers Weekly lauds her "wry humor and the use of different narrators, two devices that were once rarities" in the romance novel genre.
  • In both 1999 and 2000, four of the five novels that USA Today listed as the best-selling romance novels of the year were written by Roberts. 
  • Her first appearance on the New York Times Bestseller List came in 1991, and between 1991 and 2001, she had 68 New York Times Bestsellers, counting hardbacks and paperbacks. 
  • In 2001, Roberts had 10 best-selling mass-market paperbacks, according to Publishers Weekly, not counting those books written under the J.D. Robb name. 
  • In September 2001, for the first time Roberts took the numbers 1 and 2 spots on the Publishers Weekly bestseller list, as her romance Time and Again was number one, and her J.D. Robb release Seduction in Death was number two.
  • Since 1999, every one of Roberts's novels has been a New York Times bestseller, and 124 of her novels have ranked on the Times bestseller list, including twenty-nine that debuted in the number-one spot. 
  • A founding member of the Romance Writers of America (RWA), Roberts has won an unprecedented 19 of the RWA's RITA Awards, the highest honor given in the romance genre.
  • Two of Roberts' novels, Sanctuary and Magic Moments, had previously been made into TV movies. 
  • In 2007, Lifetime Television adapted four Nora Roberts novels into TV movies: Angels Fall starring Heather Locklear, Montana Sky starring Ashley Williams, Blue Smoke starring Alicia Witt, and Carolina Moon starring Claire Forlani. This was the first time that Lifetime had adapted multiple works by the same author. 
  • Four more films were released on four consecutive Saturdays in March and April 2009. The 2009 collection included Northern Lights starring LeAnn Rimes and Eddie Cibrian, Midnight Bayou starring Jerry O'Connell, High Noon starring Emilie de Ravin, and Tribute starring Brittany Murphy.
  • Time named Roberts one of their 100 Most Influential People in 2007, saying she "has inspected, dissected, deconstructed, explored, explained and extolled the passions of the human heart." Roberts was one of only two authors on the list, the other being David Mitchell.

Plagiarism & Controversies:

In 1997, another best-selling romance writer, Janet Dailey, admitted to repeatedly plagiarizing Roberts' work. The practice came to light after a reader read Roberts' Sweet Revenge and Dailey's Notorious back-to-back; she noticed several similarities and posted the comparable passages on the Internet. Roberts sued Dailey and Dailey acknowledged the plagiarism and blamed it on a psychological disorder. She admitted that both Aspen Gold and Notorious lifted heavily from Roberts' work. Both of those novels were pulled from print after Dailey's admission. In April 1998, Dailey settled the case. Although terms were not released, Roberts had previously indicated that any settlement funds should be donated to the Literacy Volunteers of America.

In January 2008, Roberts joined the chorus strongly criticizing fellow romance writer Cassie Edwards, who had lifted many passages from much older sources (many in the public domain), without giving credit, forcing Edwards out of the business.

 

References - wikipedia.org

 

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