Monday, April 23, 2007

Argh Ink -- The Author Photo..Just Show Us What You're Really Like

Jennifer Crusie (who's one of my favorite authors because of her terrific writing and great sense of humor) had a blog entry last week talking about authors' photos for books. She supplies a link to photos of several romance authors who were huge sellers in the golden era of the 70's and 80's. She points out that--apart from the intrinsic entertainment of seeing these writers 25+ years ago--their photos were staged to be dramatic. It was all part of the image of romance writers back then:
"What I like about these photos is the Diane Arbus feel to them which nicely captures the freakshow that is publishing-for-a-living. Almost every one of those photos was carefully staged and chosen by the author to show a side of herself that wasn't real, deliberately letting the reader in on the joke."
(Not least among the weirdities is Danielle Steel's hairdo...I wanted to include a photo Valerie Sherwood wearing a strange animal boa, but couldn't because it would violate the copyright. So click on the link above to see it and the others.)

Anyway, take a look and grin. Most of these authors are still writing, too, although not necessarily as lucratively as 25 years ago. Jennifer Wilde a/k/a Tom Huff died at least a decade ago. Although I never included any of them among my favorite romance writers, the only authors among them I've never read are Shirlee Busbee and Valerie Sherwood.

If you read the entire article that accompanies the photos, you'll note it originally appeared in LIFE magazine in November 1981 and mentions the first-ever national conference of RWA (Romance Writers of America), which had been founded only the year before.


Charles Gramlich said...

Great pics. Kathleen Woodiwiss didn't look anything like I thought she would.

Stewart Sternberg said...

If I ever get my picture taken for a flyleaf....I think I want to be in a thong, with sun block smeared on my nose, cheeks, and forehead.