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A promotion gone awry and a case of bad luck nearly caused the demise of Suzanne Brockmann's Ladies' Man (Sep., Dell). Almost exactly nine years later, the much ballyhooed but rarely seen novel is finally making its debut.
Originally penned as part of a Loveswept promotion, Ladies' Man was set to be mailed to subscribers as a bonus book in August 1997. But as tens of thousands of copies sat in a warehouse ready to be mailed, the company killed the entire campaign. Brockmann tried to rescue her Ladies' Man, but it was too late.
"[My editor] called me and said, 'Oh my God, Suz, you are going to hate this, but I just received word that they destroyed all the books,' " Brockmann says, remembering the horrifying discovery that only about 200 copies of the novel still existed.
But it wasn't until she took a foray into online auctions a few years later that Brockmann realized how valuable the few available copies of Ladies' Man had become. In an attempt to fund the purchase of some hard-to-find Carla Kelly books, during what she calls her "starving artist period," Brockmann had a friend sell a copy of Ladies' Man on eBay. One of the first bids was for $400, and a shocked Brockmann watched the final sale price climb to $837!
"Eight hundred and thirty seven dollars later ... I realized that this was the ultimate hard-to-find book," the author says. She began auctioning off her other copies of Ladies' Man for charity and bugging her publishers to re-release the book. "I was getting a steady stream of e-mails from readers saying, 'I can't afford to second mortgage my house, I just want to read this book!'" Brockmann says.
Now readers will finally get to read the story of streetwise NYPD detective Sam Schaefer and Yale professor, aspiring actress and mother of two Ellen Layne. Sparks fly as they deal with a stalker, and each other.
The new edition has only a few editorial changes. "It's fun to have a book that I wrote so long ago suddenly made available like this. I'm proud of my early books. It has my signature [voice]," Brockmann says of her decision to leave her prose as-is.
A departure from her military-themed romantic serials, Ladies' Man is a stand-alone romantic comedy. "I made a point, early in my career, to try new things ... I was really exploring who I was as a writer," she says. "It's a love story, and lots of fun. There are a lot of humorous moments."
For those looking for new intel on her U.S. Navy SEAL Team 16 and Troubleshooters, Inc., Brockmann has a new book, Into the Storm (Aug., Ballantine), which showcases Mark "Jenk" Jenkins' search for a receptionist gone missing during an anti-terrorism drill.
But to discover a different side to Brockmann's writing, it's no longer necessary to scour eBay, checkbook in hand.
"I'm so glad it's finally coming out," Brockmann says. "It's been a wild, crazy ride." -- Elissa Petruzzi
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