When my daughter was thirteen, she discovered Barbara Cartland. Previously, she'd read the scary books from R. L. Stine, but, suddenly, she discovered Ms. Cartland's courtship novels replete with manners and rather innocent sexuality.
The prolific Ms. Cartland lived the lifestyle of a fairy-tale princess, complete with chauffeured cars, an English mansion, and lots of pink silk frocks and cute little lap dogs. She lived the glamorous life of a the cinematic version of a romance novelist to the ripe old age of 99.
What She Said
She was like most writers I know in that she was incessantly curious and was always writing. She once said: "Writers are a curious breed. We all suffer from the same disease – the extraordinary and mysterious need to put words on paper. I write everywhere – on the Tube, at parties, in the bath (a habit I was pleased to discover I share with Agatha Christie). Scribble, scribble, scribble. Of course, these days, it’s more tap, tap, tap, but still …."
And, oh, how she did scribble and tap away. By the time of her death, she had published 722 novels, most of them romance, and many of them still being published. This month, her very first novel, Jig-Saw, will be published again. She was only 19-years-old when it hit print the first time.
A lot of people think if you write fast and are prolific, then you write garbage. I think all of Ms. Cartland's fans would soundly decry that bit of philosophy. They probably adore those novels as much as my daughter does. All of her copies of Barbara Cartland books — tattered and rather ragged — have a place of honor on keeper shelves.
Good authors never die. They live on in the pages of each book they wrote, waiting for each generation to discover them.