When I was asked if I’d authorize publication of The Official Nora Roberts Companion, I was delighted. Probably the only thing that would have delighted me more was if said companion waswith apologies to both our spousessay, David Duchovny during a long weekend in Aruba.
But since that was not to be, this is nearly as exciting for me.
It’s almost as much of a shock as a thrill to see my professional life compiled, to date, in one volume. A shock because these twenty-some years have gone very quickly, and a thrill because I’ve had such a wonderful time during them. From that first snowy afternoon in 1979 to the rainy one in 2001 as I write this, I’ve been blessed to be able to do something I love, to go places I never expected to see, to meet people and forge friendships that have enriched my life more than I can say.
No one makes the trip alone, and I’ve been incredibly lucky in my travel companions. I’m grateful to the publishing professionals who’ve worked so hard on my behalf, and who’ve been springboards, wailing walls, pals, and teachers. My agent, Amy Berkower, who’s been my partner, my friend, and my advocate from the beginning, is the most solid of foundations. To Amy, Al Zuckerman, Jodi Reamer, and all the brilliant minds at Writers House, you’ve made every step of the journey easier, smoother, and special.
My thanks to Isabel Swift, my editor of nearly two decades at Silhouette, for showing me early on that the creative relationship can also be a warm, funny, and familial one. I owe a tremendous debt to everyone at Harlequin/Silhouette for taking a chance on a very green writer, and making her feel at home.
I owe no less to the marvelous team at Putnam Berkley, headed by the incomparable Phyllis Grann when I came on board. My thanks to her for giving me yet another family, and the priceless gift of Leslie Gelbman as my editor. With Leslie I’ve been able to try a few new routes, including that leap into the mid-twenty-first century as J. D. Robb.
So much goes into the publication of a book, beyond the book itself. I’m grateful to the sales force, marketing, publicityeven Liz Perl at Berkley who drags me away from home and onto the book-tour circuit every year.
And a very special thanks to Kathy Onorato of Creative Promotions for handling with such cheer and efficiency the details that would make me insane.
I’m forever indebted to the bookseller, my bridge to the reader, for the support, the enthusiasm, the sheer volume of labor it takes to put a book into a reader’s hand. I’m sorry I haven’t managed to visit every store in every city in every state to thank you personally. Though Liz may manage it yet.
My sons were three and six when I started writing. They grew up with itthey had no choice. Writing allowed me to stay at home with my kids and make a living, a luxury few people manage. I thank my sons, Dan and Jason, for learning the vital rule of a writing household: Don’t bother me unless it’s blood or fire. And, as they grew more responsible, arterial blood and active fire.
Writers, at least this writer, can be moody, self-absorbed, absentminded, and inexplicably cranky. I warned my husband of these traits before we married, but he didn’t run away. Thanks, Bruce.
My parents gave me another foundationan appreciation for relationships and family and all the chaos that goes with it. My four brothers gave me an understanding of men, whether I wanted it or not! My work would certainly have taken a different tone without them.
Friendships made through the business have been invaluable. I’m not sure what I would have done without the hearts and ears and humor of other writers. They are my jewels. Adding particular glitter to my life are Ruth Langan, Marianne Willman, Patricia Gaffney, and Mary Kay McComas. I love you guys for every laugh, every smart-ass comment, every eye roll behind my back, and for giving me the pure pleasure of the friendship of women.
Last, but certainly far from least, I come to the reader. Without you, I’m talking to myself. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a lot more satisfying to know someone’s out there listening. From my first fan letter from the thirteen-year-old girl who hid a copy of Irish Thoroughbred under her mattress so her mother wouldn’t know she was reading it, to the woman in Astoria, New York, obsessed with black-haired virgins, to the girl from Nairobi who wanted me to find her a pair of red silk pants and a nice Muslim boy, it’s been an adventure.
I’ve enjoyed, laughed over, puzzled over, fumed over, treasured, and wept over countless letters and e-mail posts. It’s an amazing thing, this intimate connection made between writer and reader. Certainly not every book discussed in this volume, or yet to be written by me, will connect favorably with every reader. But we connect, and that’s the beauty of storytelling.
I can only hope that those of you who’ve read my work have enjoyed the experience half as much as I enjoyed the experience of telling the tale. And that you get some portion of the pleasure out of The Official Nora Roberts Companion that I have.
It’s not David Duchovny, but there’s enough on these pages for you to pick your own fantasy.