Compiled by Mahdin Mahboob
Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel (born on August 14, 1947 in New York City, New York), is best known as Danielle Steel, and is one of the best selling authors in the United States and around the world.
Best known for her mainstream drama novels, Steel has sold more than 530 million copies of her books (as of 2005). Her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks and 22 have been adapted for television. Danielle Steel's estimated net worth as of 1997 was $600-$800 million dollars which has now doubled.
Steel was born on August 14, 1947 in San Fransico, California to John Schulein Steel and Norma da Câmara Stone Reis. Steel spent much of her early childhood in France, where from an early age she was included in her parents' dinner parties, giving her an opportunity to observe the habits and lives of the wealthy and famous. Her father raised her in New York after her parents got divorced.
Steel started writing stories as a child, and by her late teens had begun writing poetry. A graduate of the Lycée Français de New York, she studied literature design and fashion design, first at Parsons School of Design and then at New York University.
In 1965, when she was only eighteen, Steel married banker Claude-Eric Lazard. While a young wife, and still attending New York University, Steel began writing, completing her first manuscript the following year, when she was nineteen. After the birth of their daughter, Beatrix, in 1968, Steel became a copywriter for an advertising agency, then worked for a public relations agency in San Francisco. A client was highly impressed with her press releases and encouraged her to concentrate on writing books.
From 1981, Steel became a near-permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover and paperback bestsellers lists. In 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having a book on the New York Times Bestseller List for the most consecutive weeks of any author-381 consecutive weeks at that time. Since her first book was published, every one of her novels has hit bestseller lists.
Steel also ventured into children's fiction, penning a series of 10 illustrated books for young readers. These books, known as the "Max and Martha" series, aim to help children face real life problems: new baby, new school, loss of loved one, etc. In addition, Steel has authored the "Freddie" series. These 4 books address other real life situations: first night away from home, trip to the doctor, etc.
Determined to spend as much time as possible with her own children, Steel often wrote at night, making do with only four hours of sleep, so that she could be with her children during the day. Steel is a prolific author, often releasing several books per year. Each book takes 2 1/2 years to complete, so Steel has developed an ability to juggle up to five projects at once, researching one book while outlining another, then writing and editing additional books.
Steel lives in San Francisco, but also maintains a residence in France where she spends several months of each year and a beach house in La Californie near St. Tropez. Despite her public image and varied pursuits, Steel is known to be shy and because of that and her desire to protect her children from the tabloids, she rarely grants interviews or public appearances.
Steel's novels have been translated into 28 languages and can be found in 47 countries across the globe. The books, often described as 'formulaic,' tend to involve the characters in a crisis of some sort which threatens their relationship. Many of her characters are considered over-the-top, making her books seem less realistic. The novels frequently 'explore the world of the rich and famous.'
To avoid comparisons to her previous novels, Steel does not write sequels. Twenty-two of her books have been adapted for television, including two that have received Golden Globe nominations. One is "Jewels", the story of the survival of a woman and her children in World War II Europe, and the family's eventual rebirth as one of the greatest jewelry houses in Europe. Columbia Pictures was the first movie studio to offer for one of her novels, purchasing the rights to The Ghost in 1998.
In 2002, Steel was decorated by the French government as a "Chevalier" of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, for her contributions to world culture.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007