Message From The Author

Elaine Coffman

Genre: Historical Romance

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Author's Message

Someone Like You

Elaine Coffman celebrated her 55th birthday this week (in June) in her usual draw-out-the-fun style. "I love them. I go to lunch every day for about two weeks to celebrate," she said with a laugh. "I've already started. All this week I will celebrate with different friends for lunches. On my birthday, my Italian friend is taking me out to dinner."

Italian friend? Could this be a boyfriend for the divorced author? "We've been dating for over a year," she confirmed. "He's a diplomat with the Italian Embassy here {in DC}."

After a pause, she continues, her voice somewhat sheepish. "Actually, he's 22 years younger than me. When we first met, I tried to set him up with my daughter."

Luckily, he had no interest in anyone other than Elaine. Anyone who has met Elaine will understand her appeal. Not only is she physically attractive, but she has an almost indefatigable energy that would fag a typical teen. "He manages to keep up with me," she said humorously. "We like to go cycling along the Potomac on the weekends."

Her voice never lost its shy tone, but as one of her recent luncheon companions put it: "Honey, it's not that you do--it's that you can!"

Elaine has another reason to order up a mambo line of lunch dates. Her new novel, SOMEONE LIKE YOU, is out this month in the new petite hardcover format that is shaking up the industry.

You may recall that last July Ballantine Books, through their imprint Fawcett Columbine, took a major gamble: introducing hardcovers he size of paperbacks. Editor Carolyn Nichols, who is the parent of this brainchild, tapped her newly acquired author, Mary Jo Putney, to carry the first printing. While she was reasonably optimistic, predicting anything in this ever-changing market still requires a metaphorical roll of the dice.

Then came the news. One Perfect Rose, Putney's book, had ventured its way onto the New York Times (tied for 15th) and the Wall Street Journal (#4) bestseller lists. The book also appeared in the top ten on the Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks, Wal*Mart and Target bestseller lists.

And as impressive as The New York Times slot, One Perfect Rose has hit #1 on Ingram Distributors' romance list, which means that a lot of bookstores are reordering the book.

"I couldn't keep the book in the store," reveals Jenny Jones, owner of The Book Shelf in Grand Prairie, Texas. "I've already reordered three times!"

"We are dee-lighted," Nichols said with understandable glee. The new petite hardcovers seem to be a success. Putney's bestseller results have given Ballantine enough confidence to order petite hardcover treatment for a fourth author, Bertrice Small, whose book will be out next year.

But their elation is laced with caution. Two more authors are due to lay their chips down in '97: Diana Palmer in November and, of course, Elaine, this September.

"I was glad I was the second one to be out in petite hardcover," Elaine admitted. "I won't be quite so nervous."

SOMEONE LIKE YOU's plotline will not place any obstacles in Coffman's path to bestseller-dom. It features a crusty, no-nonsense spinster in West Texas who is soft

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