Steel, Danielle

Steel, Danielle
▪ 1995

      In 1994 U.S. publishing phenomenon Danielle Steel saw her 32nd novel, Accident, occupy the Publishers Weekly list of best-selling hardcover fiction for 15 consecutive weeks. Most critics gave tepid reviews to what they called the formulaic themes in Steel's romance novels, which featured strong yet glamorous women overcoming major obstacles or ordeals to secure a career, love, and a family. Her fans, however, devoured her every novel and helped drive each to the top of the best-seller lists. Her admirers, consisting of almost equal numbers of males and females, enjoyed the exotic locales, historical ambiance, and, most important, the happy endings in her cathartic books.

      Danielle Fernande Schuelein-Steel was born on Aug. 14, 1947, in New York City. She was an only child, and after her parents divorced she was reared by relatives and family employees in Paris and New York City. Steel was a lonely child who immersed herself in poetry and books, especially those by her favourite author, French novelist Colette. By the age of 15, Steel had graduated from the Lycée Français, and in 1963 she enrolled in the Parsons School of Design, in New York. Illness prevented her from finishing her studies, but when she recovered, Steel married a wealthy French banker. In 1968 she was hired as a vice president of public relations for the advertising agency Supergirls, Ltd., in New York City.

      When the firm floundered in 1971, Steel turned to writing novels and poetry. Her first paperback novel, Going Home, was published in 1973 but sold only moderately well. Steel also began writing copy for the Grey Advertising Agency in San Francisco. After divorcing and remarrying and while raising her children, Steel continued to write but did not achieve much success until the publication of her fourth novel, The Promise (1978), an instant best-seller that was followed by a slew of best-selling paperbacks. Her first hardcover novel, The Ring (1980), a multigenerational, international saga, was also quite successful. Though she published a book of poetry, Love: Poems (1981), contributed to the nonfiction book Having a Baby (1984), and wrote the Max and Martha series of children's books in 1989, Steel pleased her core of fans most with a string of novels about bittersweet love. Several of her works became popular television movies, including Kaleidoscope, Jewels, and Crossings.

      Steel, however, had no desire to emulate the jet-setting lifestyle of her heroines; she spent most of her time at home with her nine children and third husband. By the end of 1994, she had more than 125 million books in print and no plans to stop crafting her unique blend of juicy dialogue, strongly defined characters, and twisting plots. (SUSAN RAPP)

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • STEEL, DANIELLE — (1947– ), U.S. author. Danielle Fernande Schuelein Steel, one of the bestselling authors in American history, was born in New York to a German Jewish father and a Portuguese mother. Steel, who studied at the Parsons School of Design in New York,… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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