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This week is the 43rd anniversary of the publication of "The Flame and the Flower" by Kathleen Woodiwiss. This book has its place among the important works of any period in that it set the pattern for unnumbered works of romantic fiction that followed it. This was the first romance novel.
This was her first manuscript and standard rejections came from all hardback publishers she sent it to. Then, on hearing from another author that these publishers took too high a percentage, she resolved to concentrate on finding a paperback company. Armed with the "Writer's Digest" Woodiwiss applied to paperback houses starting with A, and intending to work to Z. It didn't take that long. At Avon publishing, Nancy Coffee, a senior editor, had just cancelled a beach weekend because the weather was bad and decided to curl up at home and speed-read through unsolicited manuscripts ("the slush pile.") She remembers picking up Kathleen's submission first because it was the biggest. She scarcely slept that weekend and more than 600 pages later, on Monday morning, she recommended Avon publish it and so the historical single-title book, or "Bodice Ripper" as it became called, was born.
"Reality can be a 'real bummer' sometimes" ~ Kathleen E. Woodiwiss
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss Author Page
'Birmingham' Series Page