09 July 2007

Kathleen Woodiwiss Dies 6 July 2007

Kathleen Woodiwiss's son Heath has announced that his mother died. She was battling cancer. The family working with her publisher are currently trying to polish her last book.

Kathleen Woodiwiss with her book The Flower and the Flame was the one of the pioneers of the modern historical romance novel. But if you read her entry in Wikipedia, you will realise that it was not all plain sailing. Her first book was rejected a number of times before she submitted it to Avon. It was the success of this book with its epic length and sex scenes that helped to create the historical romance genre, the bodice ripper. An initial print run of 500,000 rapidly turned into 2.5 million copies sold. In interviews, she acknowledged her difficulties with burnout and writer's block.

While her pose was colourful and her accuracy dubious (potatoes in a medieval anyone?) she knew how to tell a cracking story and spawned an industry. And for that we all owe her a debt of thanks.