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Say You Love Me
When Johanna Lindsey published Love Only Once, her first Malory book, in '85, fans went crazy over her new use of humor and the complex, warm family ties. But she had no intention at the time to write a Malory family series. Then... "I got swamped with requests for Uncle Tony," the multi-million selling author says.
So she wrote Tender Rebel, Uncle Tony's story, which led to Uncle James' story, which led to Cousin Amy's story, which led to...well, you get the idea.
Now, the fifth book in the Malory series, Say You Love Me, is available in hardcover and follows the love life of Derek Malory, the illegitimate son and heir to the eldest Malory brother, Jason. Responsible, scandal-shy Derek meets his one and only when he buys her in an auction at a whorehouse. Seeing how Lindsey gets her characters out of such outrageous pickles has been been part of the huge appeal of the Malory series.
The hardcover status of this novel may raise a few brows among those familiar with Lindsey's long-standing resistance to having her books published first in hardcover. Lindsey has always maintained a policy of keeping her books accessible to her fans, who might find the price of hardcovers cost prohibitive.
But a recent book-signing tour revealed that her fans had a different opinion. "Everyone asked me for a hardcover version of my book," she says. "They said that, since they collect my books, hardcovers last a lot longer."
That tour was one of Lindsey's rare public appearances. The reclusive author has never cashed in on her celebrity status, preferring to live the high, wild life through her characters. She lives in Hawaii, where she grew up and met her late husband on a blind date soon after high school graduation.
What does one of the most successful novelists in the world do with her private time? She writes, of course, and spends time with her family. And has put in some hours doing volunteer work. But before you envision celebrity-clogged benefit dinners and designer gowns, picture instead a much lower profile scenario: answering telephones during a PBS funding drive.
Perhaps the most lifestyle-of-the-rich-and-famous thing she does, besides writing best-selling novels, is collect antique weapons, a natural progression from writing about battle-toughened warriors. Other, less violent items have managed to slip into her collection as well. "The oldest pieces I have are a long-handled dagger and small eating fork and spoon from the 1500s," she says.
One question many have asked recently is if Lindsey (who has written just about every setting from medievals to westerns to harems to futuristics) will ever write a romantic suspense. With typical Lindsey brevity, she replies, "Possibly one."
Whatever her next setting might be, one thing is for certain. It will include some lovable, head-strong characters in one almighty scrape that they'll only escape through quick-witted, funny schemes. And it will be one heck of a ride.
Write to Johanna Lindsey c/o Avon Books, 1350 Sixth Ave., New York, NY 10019.
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