Saturday, July 7th, marked the passing of one of the most venerable grand dames of historical romance, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss.
Read by millions and loved by many, Kathleen Woodiwiss is credited for being one of the premier romance novelists of our time writing 13 novels over 35 years, all of them New York Times bestsellers. Her son, Heath, posted the following message at the KWoodiwiss forum at Forumwise online and the Simon & Schuster discussion board:
“Hello. I am very sorry to inform you all of the death of my mother Kathleen. She took the death of my brother a bit harder than we thought and the cancer came back with a vengence. She passed away Friday morning at 0630 in Princeton, MN. I just want to thank you all for all of your support and being such great fans. My Mom was amazed at all of the people that supported her. Her final book is done, but not finished. We will be trying to polish it up for her. Her editor at Harper Collins has been a great source of stress for my Mom and the rest of us as well, so I am not sure how that will work out, but we are trying to get the book published as fast as possible. We all want this to be her greatest book ever. Thank you again for all of your support.” – Heath.
Her obituary is a simple one and posted online at the Star-Tribune.com of Minneapolis website. For her fans, an online guest book is available there and you can read the heartfelt tributes others have posted.
It was because of Kathleen Woodiwiss and her contemporaries – Shirley Busbee, Rosemary Rogers, Jude Devereaux, Johanna Lindsay and Judith McNaught – that I was inspired to start my own career as a romance author. I first picked up Shanna when I was barely a teenager and the writing style of Woodiwiss quickly had me hooked. From there I went on to read the rest of her works including The Flame and the Flower, Ashes in the Wind, A Rose in Winter, The Wolf and the Dove, So Worthy My Love and Come Love a Stranger. Woodiwiss would forever change the genre by writing novels that were lengthy, sexy, and concentrated on the conflict between hero and heroine (better known as bodice rippers).
Her last book, entitled Everlasting, will be available in hard cover edition from HarperCollins in October, 2007. The HarperCollins website included this paragraph in her online biography, although there is no formal mention of her death:
“Kathleeen E. Woodiwiss is the founding mother of the historical romance genre,” says Carrie Feron, vice president/editorial director. Feron, who has been Woodiwiss’s editor for 13 years, continues, “Avon Books is proud to have been Kathleen’s sole publishing partner for her paperbacks and hardcover novels for more than three decades.”
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss will be sorely missed in the world of publishing and romance fans everywhere will never forget the tremendous contribution she made to their lives through her writing talent.