Throughout her career, Collins' steamy work has seen it's share of controversy. (In fact, according to the author's Wikipedia page Barbara Cartland called Collins' first book, The World is Full of Married Men, "nasty, filthy and disgusting." Furthermore, this title was banned in Australia and South Africa.) But we find it is Collins' scintillating stories draw us in and make us want more. And we aren't alone. As one of the most successful writers publishing today, all 28 of Jackie Collins' novels have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list.
Author Ellen Marie Wiseman's debut novel, The Plum Tree, earned a Top Pick! rating from RT. A historical mainstream novel set during World War II, The Plum Tree tells the story of Christine Bölz, a young German woman who falls in love with a Jewish boy. But as Hitler begins to take over Europe and nations fall prey to Nazi Germany, the couple's secret love becomes dangerous. An engrossing tale of love's enduring nature, Wiseman's novel was inspired by her own German heritage. Today the author shares how her family history influenced this unforgettable story.
When it comes to love during a time of war, there are millions of stories waiting to be told. In my novel, The Plum Tree, a poor, young German woman, Christine Bölz, falls in love with Isaac Bauerman, the son of her wealthy Jewish employer, in Nazi Germany on the eve of WWII.
It’s been discussed that Jane Austen based various characters in her novels after people she knew personally. Mainstream fiction author Syrie James also incorporates people she knows into her novels, including her newest novel, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. Today the author shares three books in which she weaves people from her own life into her prose and how this practice helps shape her stories:
For my first novel, Songbird (I've just released a newly revised edition in both print and e-book versions) I based many aspects of the handsome and romantic hero, Kyle Harrison, on my husband Bill. I even included one scene that came almost straight from life — the moment when Desiree realizes that Kyle is colorblind. The conflict of that story was inspired by my relationship with Bill in the early stage of our romance. Like the characters in the book, Bill and I had a whirlwind courtship, but we lived in different cities and were faced with the challenges of a long-distance relationship. I'll never forget how devastated I was each time he or I had to get on a plane and leave — and I put that pain and heartbreak into the novel — as well as its happy ending! (Bill and I have been married now for thirty-seven wonderful years, and I am grateful for every minute.)
I based yet another heroic character on my husband. I was halfway through the first draft of my novel Dracula, My Love, and I'd fallen madly in love with my gorgeous, sexy, charismatic Dracula. In comparison, Mina Harker's husband Jonathan Harker seemed bland and unappealing. It was important to me and the story that Mina be torn between these two men — so I realized I had to something to make Jonathan more worthy. To accomplish that, I rewrote it and gave Jonathan all of my husband's best attributes. It seems to have worked, because readers have admitted they so loved both of the men in Mina's life, they couldn't decide who they wanted her to end up with!
Two weeks ago we posted about the return of Bridget Jones and what this news means for the chick lit and mainstream women's fiction genres. Author Catherine McKenzie, who writes funny, contemporary stories featuring complex, relatable female protagonists, has a bone to pick with the chick lit tag. Specifically, how and why contemporary stories written for (and often by) women receive the label and what it means to her as a writer:
So, I’m a woman who writes commercial fiction. Generally, first-person narratives that have a mix of humor set against a topical background. There’s a theme to my books, underneath the plot, but I don’t want to, you know, hit anyone over the head with it. And so, my books more often than not get labeled ‘chick lit’.
Author Helen Fielding has just announced that she will be releasing her third novel featuring iconic character Bridget Jones. The first two books in Fielding’s series, Bridget Jones's Diary and The Edge of Reason, were both international bestsellers and went on to be adapted into films starring Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth.
It was Bridget Jones that helped to solidify the rise of chick lit in the late nineties, however, the frothy, flirty, often cartoon covered books in this sub genre fell out of favor in the early 2000s. ‘Chick lit’ became a derogatory term to describe a novel featuring a female protagonist who searches for success in both her career and love life. And it was during this time that Bridget and the nearly hundreds of early-twenty-something characters inspired by Fielding’s creation disappeared from bookshelves.
With the holidays coming, it seems like many novelists are thinking about family and relationships. In this month’s mainstream reads, authors focus on the different stages of romance from first dates to breakups and everything in between. Get ready for both the realistic and absurd as the protagonists in November’s mainstream novels navigate their love lives.
This week RT BOOK REVIEWS is revealing our nominees for 2012 Reviewers' Choice Awards. (We have already listed our picks for our favorite Historical Romance, Young Adult, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Erotic Romance, Contemporary Romance & Romantic Suspense, Inspirational, Series Romance, Mystery/Suspense and Paranormal/Urban Fantasy books.) And last, but not least, we are bringing you the nominations for our favorite Mainstream and Multicultural books.
With kids returning to school and cold weather on its way, it is a good thing that there are so many great mainstream fiction novels releasing this month. One of September’s mainstream romances takes readers to the beach as a debut author earns a coveted Top Pick! review. To celebrate, newcomer Grace Greene shares to favorite seaside memories. Then we learn that sometimes good things come in threes, as a number of new releases focus on the their storylines on groups of women. Next we turn our attention to a pair of authors whose collaboration had us on the edge of our seats. And finally we round-up novels that send their heroines on a journey to smaller towns for some much needed soul-searching. Needing a great read? Look no further than these mainstream picks.
August’s mainstream novels cover a wide range of topics, a diversity that is part of what draws readers to genre. This month we’re seeing several books that feature the theme of moving (and everything that that entails). We also hear from a talented debut author Samantha Hoffman about her first novel. Plus, we spotlight several family planning dramas that have the characters feeling growing pains. There’s all this and more in this month’s Mainstream round-up!
In her new book, Ocean Beach, author Wendy Wax introduces three women in search — and need — of change. Main characters Madeline, Avery and Nicole are all at crossroads in their lives, and refuse to be boxed in by their pasts. The author can certainly relate. As a young woman, she started out in the male-dominated field of radio, television and film. Refusing to give into stereotypes of what a woman’s role should be, she fought to rise to the top. She is here with us today to talk about her own struggles with stereotypes and how the women of Ocean Beach confront those very same issues.
Almost everyone has a stereotype they can be squeezed into. But while we may be proud of our nationality, or sexuality or shape and size, I think it’s safe to say that no one wants to be seen or known as only that.