Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weekly Geeks #24: Author Profile

I've missed the last couple of Weekly Geeks projects, mostly through distraction and disorganization! So this week I really want to play along, especially as this week’s theme is:

Fun facts about authors.

How to:
1. Choose a writer you like.
2. Using resources such as Wikipedia, the author’s website, whatever you can find, make a list of interesting facts about the author.
3. Post your fun facts list in your blog, maybe with a photo of the writer, a collage of his or her books, whatever you want.
4. Come sign the Mr Linky below with the url to your fun facts post.
5. As you run into (or deliberately seek out) other Weekly Geeks’ lists, add links to your post for authors you like or authors you think your readers are interested in

I had thought of noting some facts about Alexander McCall Smith -- see my recent post on his work! -- but saw that Juliann at Unwritten Reads had already done so, quite enjoyably. So I thought I would try sharing a bit about a very obscure author, a romance novelist from quite some time ago. She was an Englishwoman and wrote for Mills & Boon (later to be bought out by Harlequin). I've talked about my surreptitious adoration of one of her books before. Now that I've read her autobiography as well, I admire her even more. She was an example of how we can't hold stereotypes of 'romance writers', as she is the farthest thing from Barbara Cartland as I can imagine. So here are some random facts about:

Mary Burchell, Mills & Boon author

Mary Burchell's real name was Ida Cook

Despite being a romance novelist, she never married

She and her sister (Mary) Louise were huge opera buffs, even travelling to New York by steamer just to hear one of their favourite opera stars sing

She wrote an entire cycle of 13 romance novels, The Warrender Saga, based in the opera world; very culturally educational love stories!

She worked as a civil servant before giving it up to write full time, in 1936
She and Louise used their opera connections and the income from her romance novels to assist in getting 29 Jews out of Germany in the 1930s

In 1965, they received the designation of Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel for this service

Her 1950 autobiography, We Followed our Stars, was republished as Safe Passage in a lovely new trade paper copy this year.

A few more interesting author facts:
Dr.Seuss at Belle of the Books
George Eliot at Book-a-Rama
Astrid Lindgren at Pink Blue Whale and at Lou's Pages


  1. I think I need to track down some of her romance novels. Actually, I'm pretty sure that I must have read at least one of them at some point I have no memory of reading one.

  2. Funny that she never married and was a romance novelist...I was about to say that old adage about writing what you know went right out the window with her.

  3. I'm so glad you wrote about her. I don't read romance novels of any kind but I did recently see Safe Passage advertised and wondered about it. Now I have to read it. Thank you for an interesting post.


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