by Cyrus Webb (May/June Conversations Magazine)
One of the great things about what I do professionally is the opportunity to meet fascinating individuals who I in turn can introduce to my readers, listeners and viewers. Sometimes it is someone in the public eye but Conversations has also brought attention to ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things.
When it comes to writers, it is no secret to many who know me that I have a "Wish List" of authors who I would love to talk to about their journey and success. At the top of the list of those I haven't yet interviewed are Stephen King, Judith Krantz, Jackie Collins, Dean R. Koontz and Danielle Steel. Each of them have influenced the literary community in so many ways and thrilled millions of readers for years.
WHY DANIELLE STEEL RESONATES
Ms. Steel has managed to do what so many desire but never achieve: she gets to the heart of the reader, forming a connection that is not only genuine but something that people of all walks of life can relate to. Her stories are not just about the glitz and glamour of a world seemingly beyond our grasps. They are accounts of those who know what it's like to love and and experience loss as well as the great things that are available in life.
For her, these are just extensions of our own life experiences. For all of her success--with over 600 million copies of her books sold---she has known the challenges that life can bring, including the lose of a son. Instead of shutting down and allowing the world to consume her, she pressed forward and strived to do more. When it came to the loss of her son there seemed to be only one way to proceed. "I wanted life to become bigger, not smaller," she said in an interview with NY Daily News in Oct. 2008. "All of us (the family) have been on missions to do good works because of him." Her book HIS BRIGHT LIGHT tells the story of her son's life and death.
It is that determination that so many of us love about her characters and her as well. And when there is a Danielle Steel book turned into a movie, we all watch because we know those characters are going to speak to us in a way that will help us keep our own lives in perspective.
MS. STEEL'S MESSAGE TO ME
Periodically I send an email through Danielle Steel's website highlighting my feelings towards her books and what I feel as though she has done for individuals like myself who have traveled the world through her characters. She has over 70 titles in print, all of which have become bestsellers. I have read and own over 30 of her titles (see below). Though I knew she is not quick to do interviews, I asked for what I believe is the fourth time for the opportunity to talk with her on my radio program. It was a long shot, but I am never afraid of a challenge.
"Dear Mr. Webb,
"Thank you so very much for your lovely letter about my books, which has
just been forwarded to me. I was very touched to hear how you have been
reading them for twenty years and what they have meant to you. It's a real honor
to hear that you run a book club and my work produces so many interesting
discussions. I write the stories with caring and heart, and I like to think
my readers enjoy them in the same spirit.
"I'm sorry that I almost never do interviews or public appearances, although
I do appreciate your kind invitation. Thank you again for sharing your
good words with me. I appreciate hearing from a reader like you, and I send
your book club my warm regards.
"With best wishes,
I can't really tell you what this email meant to me, but it really illustrates why I do what I do. You never know what you can accomplish with a little hard work. True, I still don't have my interview with Ms. Steel (not yet, at least), but my perseverence is definitely paying off. This is a lesson that I hope others will recognize in their own lives as well.
Though I look forward to the time when I can tell her personally, for now I want to say here to Ms. Steel: Thank you. Thank you for being a person that is devoted to her craft and the objective of giving readers something they will remember long after the book is closed. Thanks for approaching life in a way that is thoughtful yet allows all of us to remember our own mortality and importance of living each day to the fullest. I think most of all, I thank you, Ms. Steel, for sharing all that you are with the world.
To keep abreast of Danielle Steel's latest work, visit www.daniellesteel.com.