Steel, Danielle: Heartbeat
(researched by Natalya Niewdach)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Danielle Steel. Heartbeat. New York: Delacorte Press (Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.) 1991. Danielle Steel copyrighted the First American Edition of Heartbeat in 1991. In 1991 Delacorte Press also published a First Canadian Edition, a Large Print Edition, a Braille Edition, a Book Club Edition, and a Large Print Book Club Edition. Heartbeat was also published in 1991 by Bantam(London), who also published the book in Braille that same year.
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The First American Edition is published with a navy blue trade cloth binding and is covered with a glossy red dust jacket. Sources show that Heartbeat wasn't published as a paperback until 1992 (Dell and Corgi).
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
184 leaves, pp. [8] 1-29 [30] 31-47 [48] 49-55 [56] 57-59 [60] 61-89 [90] 91-101 [102] 103-115 [116] 117-127 [128] 129-175 [176] 177-209 [210] 211-223 [224] 225-255 [256] 257-275 [276] 277-287 [288] 289-258 [2]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
This novel is neither edited nor introduced. However, there is a dedication which reads: To Zara|sweet heartbeat|of my life,| may your life be ever| full of love and joyÖ|and to your daddy, who has|filled my life to the brim|with love and joy and heartbeats|with all my heart and love,|d.s. Additionally, there is a on the following two pages which reads: HEARTBEAT|thumping|pitter pat,|wondering|where it's at,| heartfelt,|heart sweet,|sweet dreams,|heartbeat,|precious music|in my ears,|hand to hold|to my still fears,|loving footsteps|in the night,|treasured hopes,|forever bright,|gift from on high,|gentlest|sweetes lullaby|miracle of tiny|feet,|born of one|single,|precious|beat,|singing|sweetest|little song,|my heart|to yours|will e'er belong,|this final bond,|this tie so sure,|from our love|so strong and pure,|now whisper softly|while babe sleeps,|our love|will always|ever keep|and as the magic|stardust soars,|my heart is ever,|always, yours.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
There are no illustrations in this novel.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Book Size: 24 cm. by 16 cm. Size of page: 23 cm. by 15 cm. Size of text: 16.5 cm. by 11 cm. 20 lines of text: 96R(mm) The large pages, large print, margins and adequate spacing between lines make this book extremely easy to read. Additionally, the typography adds to this books excellent readability. All of the type is serif, while the recto of the title page and the dust jacket are done in titling letters. The chapters are numbered without titles. The roman font is centered at the top and followed by chapter numbers, which are enclosed in between two bullet-like characters on each side. The page numbers, which are also roman type, are centered at the bottom of each page and are also enclosed within two bullet-like characters on each side. "Danielle Steel" is centered on the top of each left-hand page of text in italic roman type (with the exception of the chapter pages.) "HEARTBEAT" is centered on the top of each right-hand page in capitalized italic roman type (with the exception of the chapter pages.)
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
The book is on a light cream wove paper with rough edges. The end papers are of a different color than the rest of the pages of the book. They are made of a darker cream card paper, which is heavier and rougher than the pages of the book. These end papers also match the paper used to cover the boards that make up the rest of the cover. Overall the paper is in good shape. It is not stained and the printed text is even.
11 Description of binding(s)
The binding is made of a dark blue calico-texture cloth. The binding is 1 º inches wide and comes together with dark cream boards, on both sides, to form the rest of the cover. The front cover is signed in gold writing by the author. There is nothing on the back cover. The author's name, the title of the book, the publisher's crest and the publisher's name are stamped in gold gilt lettering on the spine. Transcription of spine: (vertical)DANIELLE STEEL | HEARTBEAT| (horizontal)[Publisher's Crest]| Delacorte Press.
12 Transcription of title page
Recto of title page: DANIELLE STEEL|HEARTBEAT|[publisher's crest]|Delacorte Press Verso of the title page: Published by|Delacorte Press|Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc.|666 Fifth Avenue|New York, New York 10103|Copyright [copyright symbol] 1991 by Danielle Steel|All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or|transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechani-|cal, including photocopying, recording or by any information|storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of |the Publisher, except where permitted by law.|The trademark Delacorte Press is registered in the|U.S. Patent and Trademark Office|Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data|Steel, Danielle.|Heartbeat / Danielle Steel.|p.cm.|ISBN 0-385-29908-7|ISBN 0-385-30321-1 (Limited Ed.)|I. Title.|PS3569.t33828H44 1991| 813'.54-dc20 90-3044CIP|Manufactured in the United States of America|Published simultaneously in Canada|March 1991|10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1| BVG
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
The dust jacket is made of a glossy red paper with gold titling letters. The front cover has the author's name and the title of the book on it with a separated heart in between them. The front flap has a summary of the novel printed on it, which continues onto the back flap. The inside back flap of the dust jacket also lists copyrights for the jacket design, lettering design, and the author's photo. On the back of the dust jacket is a photo of the author.
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Delacorte Press. 1991. 358 p.; 25 cm Delacorte Press. 1991. 358 p.; 25 cm (braille ed.) Delacorte Press. 1991. 392 p.; 23 cm Delacorte Press. 1991. 392 p.; 25 cm Delacorte Press. 1991. 541 p.(large print); 24cm Delacorte Press. 1991. 596 p.(large print); 24cm Delacorte Press. 1991. 541 p.; 23cm (large print book club edition)
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
Bantam. 1991. 416 p. Bantam: London. 1991. 7v.; 33cm (braille ed.) Bantam: NY. 1992. 404 p.; 17cm Dell. 1992. 404 p.; 18cm (pbk.) Corgi. 1992. 431 p. (pbk.) G.K. Hall. 1994. 442 p.(large print); 24cm
6 Last date in print?
February 21, 2000 (Dell Publishing) On this date there are currently 173 active printings of Steel's other novels.
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
The 1992 Bowker's Annual lists "Heartbeat"(3/11/91)as number 5 on it's Best Sellers of 1991 Hardcover and Fiction list as selling 1,074,340 copies.
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
In 1991 Heartbeat sold 1,074,340 copies. (1992 Bowker's Annual)
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Publisher's Weekly. January 24, 1991 There is a short description found on the advertisement page for Delacorte Press, which reads: Delacorte Press: March 1991 HEARTBEAT Danielle Steel 0-385-29908-7 $21.95/ $27.50 Can. Large Print Edition 0-385-30321-3 $24.95/ $29.95 Can. A Dual Main Selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club.
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
11 Other promotion
Advertisements for the television film: The Courier-Journal(Louisville, KY. February 7, 1993 New York Times. February 8, 1993 The Washington Post. February 8, 1993 Chicago Sun-Times. February 8, 1993 The Des Moines Register. February 8, 1993 The Dayton Daily News. June 24, 1994 The Charleston Gazette. July 23, 1994 The Palm Beach Post. September 25, 1994 Tulsa World. March 28, 1997
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
Film: In 1993 there was a television film based on the novel. Executive producer, Douglas S. Cramer ; teleplay by Jan Worthington ; music by David Shire ; film editor, David Simmons ; production designer, James J. Agazzi ; director of photography, Kees Van Oostrum. Stars John Ritter, Polly Draper, Nancy Morgan, Kevin Kilner, Michael Lembeck, Christian Cousins, Victor DiMattia. Videocassettes of film: 1996. Distributed by Columbia House Video Library: Terre Haute, IN. 1 videocassette (100 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in. 1997. StarMaker: Columbia House; Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment: Troy, MI. 1 videocassette (ca. 93 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in.
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
"Cuando late un corazÛn" (Spanish). Grijalbo: Barcelona. 1991 "Halmut ha-lev" (Hebrew). Schalgi: Tel Aviv. 1992 "Hartslag" (Dutch). Luitingh-Sijthoff: Utrecht. 1992 "Vale a penir vivir" (Portuguese). Editora Record: Rio de Janeiro. 1992 "Sarang ui maekpak" (Korean). Kimyongsa: Soul T'ukpyolsi. 1992 "Cuando late un corazÛn" (Spanish). Grijalbo: MÈxico, D.F. 1993 "Herzschlag f¸r Herzschlag" (German). Goldmann: M¸nchen. 1993 "Syd?n??ni?" (Finnish). W.S?derstrom: Porvoo. 1993 "SzÌvdobban·s"(Hungarian). EurÛpa: Budapest. 1993 "Golos serdtsa" (Russian). Kron-Press; Korona: Moskva. 1994 "Rytm serca" (Polish). Wydawn."Ksiaznica:" Katowice. 1995 "Batte il cuore" (Italian). Sperling and Kuofer: Milano. 1996 "Tapish-i 'ishq" (Persian). Nashr-i Janan: Tihran. 1997 "SzÌvdobban·s"(Hungarian).Maecenas: Budapest. 1999
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
N/A
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Danielle Steel is a best-selling author known internationally for writing over fifty romance novels in her 27 year long career of being a writer. Thus, Mrs. Steel is very busy year round, producing almost two romance novels and two children's books a year. "Heartbeat" was Steel's 31st novel and it was released the same year that she released "No Greater Love," another romance novel. Additionally, Steel released two children's books called "Max and Grandma and Grandpa Winky" and "Martha and Hilary and the Stranger" that same year. Other romance novels by Steel entitled "Changes," "Daddy," and "Palomino" where also released as television films by NBC in 1991. While there is a discrepancy as to whether John Traina was Steel's third or fourth husband, at the time of the release of "Heartbeat," Steel was married to Traina. The couple married in 1981 and after fourteen years of marriage, divorced. From this union Steel acquired two stepsons, named Trevor and Todd, she had four daughters named Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, and Zara, and she had one son, Maximilian. These children added to the two children that Steel bore from previous marriages, Beatrix and Nicholas. Thus, after being married about 4 times and having nine children, in total, from all of her marriages, it can be assumed that "Heartbeat's" feel good resolutions apply to Steel's own life. Like the characters in "Heartbeat," Steel is optimistic concerning blended families. As Adrian and Bill get together in the novel, Bill accepts the fact that Adrian is carrying a child from her previous marriage. He comes to love the child, as he loves the child's mother, before the child is even born and decides that he wishes to adopt the child as his own. Additionally, Bill has two children from a previous marriage, who both come to love Adrian and her baby, just as Adrian instantly falls in love with them. This story line is reflective of Steel's own life with John Traina in that, when they got together, they both had children from previous marriages. Like the character in the book, Steel and Traina both loved their stepchildren and John actually adopted Steel's son from her previous marriage to Bill Toth. Her son Nick, from her marriage to an ex-convict/ drug abuser, became known as Nick Traina, just as Bill gives Adrian's child his last name in the book. Like a lot of Steel's novels, "Heartbeat" later went on to become another one of Steel's books released by NBC as a television movie. In 1993 NBC released "Heartbeat" featuring John Ritter and Polly Draper as its main characters. Additionally the film featured Steel as herself at both the beginning and end "offering an introduction ('based on one of my favorite books-humor, compassion, love') and epilogue ('I look forward to seeing you again') (New York Times). Thus, she acknowledges that "Heartbeat" was just one of her many romance novels and television films that have continued to keep her busy over the years. Sources Galenet- http://www.galenet.com New York Times- February 8, 1993 Section C; Page 16
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Since 1981 Danielle Steel has produced almost two bestseller romance novels a year, it can be assumed that name recognition has played a role in the success of her novel sales. Danielle Steel has become notorious for producing romance novels that instantly become bestsellers upon their release. Regardless of whether Steel's novels are liked by the critics and her audience, they often become bestsellers because she has written them. At times, many of her bestsellers, like "Heartbeat", receive mixed reviews. However they go on to be successful in terms of sales, proving that sometimes it is not what is written, but who has wrote it that makes it a success. Many of Steel's patrons have been so pleased by her previous works that they often enjoy anything that she writes, while over-looking its flaws. "Heartbeat," described by amazon.com as the story "of two wonderful people as their friendship deepens into love, as they meet the obstacles that life presents with humor, humanity, and courage," is the love story of two rejected characters within the world of daytime soap operas. While this novel has been enjoyed by many, it has been virtually ignored by the publishing world in regards to criticism. Additionally the criticism available on "Heartbeat," has ranged from mediocre to poor. On April 22, 1991 the United Press International stated that, "Danielle Steel's readers have come to expect her finely crafted portraits and rich writing style. ''Heartbeat,'' a certain best-seller and her 27th novel, easily continues this tradition." However, while praising the work of Mrs. Steel, the UPI sums up its review by saying ''Heartbeat'' is rather predictable, a fact Steel's readers are likely to overlook while their heartstrings are being tugged. Roberto Dias (UPI)." Reviews like this prove that works that become bestsellers are not necessarily the author's best works. Rather than trying to use Steel's previous works as a basis to salvage any novel that she writes, other critics have attacked Heartbeat without mention of any favorable qualities in this novel. Opposing the view published by the UPI, Danielle Bochave believes that Steel did not follow her usual formula in writing in Heartbeat and therefore, asserts that the only thing that Heartbeat has to offer is disappointment. In her criticism published by "The Toronto Star," Bochave stated, "Pick up a Danielle Steel novel and you know what to expect: glitzy characters, exotic locales, soap-opera plot twists, oodles of romance. Open up Steel's newest novel, Heartbeat, and you find none of the above. After wading through the first hundred pages the most interesting observation I could make was that Steel and I have more in common than our first name -we both spent less than 15 minutes figuring out her plot." Additionally, in agreeing that Steel has wrote better, Melinda Bargreen stated in "The Seattle Times" that "Vital signs are pretty weak in "Heartbeat," the 27th novel in superseller Danielle Steel's arsenal of more than 150 million copies in print. By now, Steel could probably churn these romances out in her sleep - which seems to have been the case in this brain-dead opus about two unhappy people who find each other in the glamorous world of television production." Overall, "Heartbeat's" contemporary reception was poor. While this novel sold millions of copies, it did not prove to be one of Steel's better works and its success was carried by Steel's well-known name as a romance writer. Sources- Amazon.com (April 10, 2000) Bargeen, Melinda. "Books Briefly-Heartbeat," The Seattle Times: March 17, 1991. PK7 Bochave, Danielle. "None of the old glitz," The Toronto Star: April 6, 1991. P J10 The United Press International April 2, 1991
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Since 1981 Danielle Steel has produced almost two bestseller romance novels a year, it can be assumed that name recognition has played a role in the success of her novel sales. Danielle Steel has become notorious for producing romance novels that instantly become bestsellers upon their release. Regardless of whether Steel's novels are liked by the critics and her audience, they often become bestsellers because she has written them. At times, many of her bestsellers, like "Heartbeat", receive mixed reviews. However they go on to be successful in terms of sales, proving that sometimes it is not what is written, but who has wrote it that makes it a success. Many of Steel's patrons have been so pleased by her previous works that they often enjoy anything that she writes, while over-looking its flaws. "Heartbeat," described by amazon.com as the story "of two wonderful people as their friendship deepens into love, as they meet the obstacles that life presents with humor, humanity, and courage," is the love story of two rejected characters within the world of daytime soap operas. While this novel has been enjoyed by many, it has been virtually ignored by the publishing world in regards to criticism. Additionally the criticism available on "Heartbeat," has ranged from mediocre to poor. On April 22, 1991 the United Press International stated that, "Danielle Steel's readers have come to expect her finely crafted portraits and rich writing style. ''Heartbeat,'' a certain best-seller and her 27th novel, easily continues this tradition." However, while praising the work of Mrs. Steel, the UPI sums up its review by saying ''Heartbeat'' is rather predictable, a fact Steel's readers are likely to overlook while their heartstrings are being tugged. Roberto Dias (UPI)." Reviews like this prove that works that become bestsellers are not necessarily the author's best works. Rather than trying to use Steel's previous works as a basis to salvage any novel that she writes, other critics have attacked Heartbeat without mention of any favorable qualities in this novel. Opposing the view published by the UPI, Danielle Bochave believes that Steel did not follow her usual formula in writing in Heartbeat and therefore, asserts that the only thing that Heartbeat has to offer is disappointment. In her criticism published by "The Toronto Star," Bochave stated, "Pick up a Danielle Steel novel and you know what to expect: glitzy characters, exotic locales, soap-opera plot twists, oodles of romance. Open up Steel's newest novel, Heartbeat, and you find none of the above. After wading through the first hundred pages the most interesting observation I could make was that Steel and I have more in common than our first name -we both spent less than 15 minutes figuring out her plot." Additionally, in agreeing that Steel has wrote better, Melinda Bargreen stated in "The Seattle Times" that "Vital signs are pretty weak in "Heartbeat," the 27th novel in superseller Danielle Steel's arsenal of more than 150 million copies in print. By now, Steel could probably churn these romances out in her sleep - which seems to have been the case in this brain-dead opus about two unhappy people who find each other in the glamorous world of television production." Overall, "Heartbeat's" contemporary reception was poor. While this novel sold millions of copies, it did not prove to be one of Steel's better works and its success was carried by Steel's well-known name as a romance writer. Sources- Amazon.com (April 10, 2000) Bargeen, Melinda. "Books Briefly-Heartbeat," The Seattle Times: March 17, 1991. PK7 Bochave, Danielle. "None of the old glitz," The Toronto Star: April 6, 1991. P J10 The United Press International April 2, 1991
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
As written in "Newsmakers 1999," "The reigning queen of romance novels since the late 1970's, Danielle Steel has become an institution with her constant stream of bestsellers." While these bestsellers may not be deemed the Steel's best works or may be reviewed as awful pieces of literature, they continue to top the charts of bestseller lists. Numerous factors can be taken into account, when considering why romance novels written by Danielle Steel, like "Heartbeat," go on to become bestsellers regardless of their bad reviews. "Heartbeat" tells us that characteristics of Danielle Steel novels include the focus on successful women, the soap opera like subject matters, the happy and inspirational endings, in addition to the marketing techniques that play off of Steel's name notoriety. Characteristics like these have made Steel novels and the novels of writers before her successful in the market. Thus, Steel didn't necessarily create the blueprint for a bestseller, but she definitely has a good idea of what it takes to make one. In making her novels successes, Danielle Steel uses techniques that have made her previous novels and the works of other authors successes. First and foremost, regardless of what techniques Danielle Steel uses to make her novels bestsellers, one thing novels like "Heartbeat" tell us about bestsellers is that they do not have to be favorites of the critics. Over the years, Steel has been criticized for "bad writing, shallow characterization, preposterous plot twists, unconvincing dialogue, rigid adherence to the 'poor little rich girl' formula, being unrealistic, and sloppy prose style" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). However, Steel novels like "Heartbeat" have been criticized for having these so-called flaws, but have continued to sell millions of copies for many reasons. "Changes" was another Steel novel that was criticized for having the same flaws as "Heartbeat." However, in critiquing it the "Chicago Tribune Book World critic L.J. Davis claims that Changes is written in 'the sort of basilisk prose that makes it impossible to tear your eyes from the page even as your brain is slowly [turning] to stone'" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Thus, it can be proven that Steel's novels and other bestsellers of this type serve some useful purposes for its reader's regardless of what critics say. Additionally, while they may critique Steel's work as bad literature, they too can see the characteristics that make them bestsellers and must acknowledge them. As the Encyclopedia of World Biography states, "Despite their low appraisals of Steel's talents as a writer, critics concede that her tear-jerking tragedies and happy endings meet some need in her millions of readers, be it a desire for satisfying diversion or for emotional catharsis." While critics have attacked Steel's focus on successful women in modern day times because it's unrealistic, it has proven to work for her. In creating her empire of romance bestsellers, Steel transformed the traditional bodice ripper into contemporary romance novels, making it easier for her present-day readers to relate. Newsmakers 1999 states that, "Unlike the traditional gothic bodice-rippers set in historical venues, Steel's characters usually function in contemporary society, and her heroines often lead glamorous lives or retain historical positions of power. The reoccurring theme is having to choose priorities in life-love versus career is the most common dilemma and her stories generally reward readers with happy endings." "Heartbeat" follows this pattern as she presents her readers with the lives of its characters. Adrian Townsend is a successful woman who works in the area of news production and is married to a handsome marketing executive named Steven. Meanwhile, the novel's other main character is the creator of daytime's number one soap opera, "A Life Worth Living." While Adrian goes through a period in which see must make a life decision, a baby or her husband; her successful life is never too far from the center of the plot. These two characters come together, after both of their lives go through a period of downs, as they enjoy their posh lives of nice cars, condominiums, expensive restaurants, celebrity acquaintances, parties in Beverly Hills, and other luxuries in the Los Angles area. Novels like "Heartbeat" show us that, "The typical focus on a glamorous, well-to-do heroine proves that women can 'have it all': love, family and career" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). While some of Steel's readers enjoy her books for entertainment purposes only, a great number of her successful middle age women readers find re-affirmation in themselves through her works. Other novels by Steel, like "Changes (1983)," have followed the same format and have succeed in becoming bestsellers. In "Changes" the main characters "are forced to choose the priorities in their lives. Thus in Changes a New York anchorwomen who weds a Beverly Hill's surgeon must decide whether her career means more to her than her long distance marriage does" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). Early novels like "Changes" helped to show Steel what her audience wanted and while she received poor reviews from some critics for it, just as she did with "Heartbeat," others praised her work. "Changes" received reviews that praised it as" timely and socially relevant" because, as "Heartbeat" does, it deals with modern issues. From the sales of novels like "Heartbeat" and "Changes," it can be assumed that being timely and socially relevant is a characteristic found in many 20th century bestsellers. Additionally, they prove that issues like illegitimacy, marital decision, and issues such as infertility, which Steel tackles in "Mixed Blessings," are real to her readers. With "Mixed Blessings," Steel's audience gets an "exciting plot, intriguing characters, and an opportunity to learn about both the emotions and medical procedures associated with infertility, ?a sense of appreciation for both the joys and sorrows that life offers" (Stellute). The issue of infertility between the characters in this novel, is definitely realistic and it is a popular social issue of today. Aside from the story of a prominent woman, Steel often offers a plot with many twists and turns like a soap opera. While critics have deemed her plots trashy and bad writing, others find that Steel has a "flair for spinning colorful and textured plots out of raw material" (Encyclopedia of World Biography). These rich and dramatic plots often satisfy the wants of Steel's audience with scandalous topics, as do many bestsellers. "Heartbeat," for example, satisfies the needs of Steel's audience for soap opera-like scandal in that it starts you off with the lives of two well-to-do individuals whose lives seem to be going perfect. However, unexpectedly the plot takes another route and Adrian finds herself pregnant. For any normal couple, this may seem like a blessing; however, Adrian's husband is against having children and divorces her as soon as she decides to keep the child. Adrian finds herself alone and pregnant, with one friend in the world, Bill Thigpen, the successful creator of daytime's number one drama. Ironically enough, following the idea of the daytime drama that he writes, Bill finds himself in love with Adrian. Meanwhile, the reader knows she is carrying her ex-husband's child and Adrian keeps it a secret until it is accidentally found out. Adrian heroically rescues Bill's son on a camping trip and is taken to the hospital, just so the staff can assume that Bill is her husband and the child is his. Therefore, he gets some shocking news when they tell him that his baby is alright. At the end there is a happy ending. Bill wants Adrian and her child too. Adrian finds strength in the fact that she survived the whole ordeal with a happy ending. While this doesn't seem to be the typical love story, it is a love story that keeps its audience's attention with all the unusual circumstances. Just like it would be with a soap opera, Steel's audience finds themselves anticipating the moment that Bill finds out she pregnant. Will he leave her or will he keep her, no one knows and they stay tuned until the end in order to find out. Novels like "Heartbeat" show us that in the 20th century, readers want works full of scandal, plot twists and unfavorable topics. Similar to "Heartbeat," "Mixed Blessings," another Danielle Steel novel, finds its success in its topic. While "Heartbeat" tackles the issue of illegitimacy, "Mixed Blessings" takes the opposite approach to its reader's attention by focusing on infertility. Both topics can be viewed as scandalous in that people are looked upon unfavorably for either having or being an illegitimate child, meanwhile at the time of "Mixed Blessings," infertility was not a topic discussed much in novels read for entertainment purposes. Both novels proved that these unpopular topics weren't necessarily bad and that in the end there could be a positive turnout. In critiquing "Mixed Blessings" one critic asserts that, "Steel has done her homework here, and it shows. The deep pain some couples feel about childlessness-albeit laid on with a trowel by Steel-and the seeming salvation of medical technology provide for the perfect soap-opera tension, but Steel goes deeper. With maturity and control she has not shown in her other novels, she deftly weaves three complicated stories into a single bold message about choice and destiny in modern life" (Stellute). Although such topics and plot turns in relations to these topics may have been unfavorable to some critics, imagine the impact that such novels could have on the hope of women in these positions. The receptions of bestsellers like "Heartbeat" and "Mixed Blessings" by the public, show that these novels do touch some of their readers, which is what Steel intends in writing them. As "Steel once said in Publisher's Weekly 'I think I have an instinctive sense for the feelings of others and that is what seems to hold the reader. What I write touches people" (Authors and Artists). It must be true that novels by Steel and other authors, who write about controversial topics with soap opera-like plots, present something valuable about real life to their readers as. While many of the topics that bestseller of today cover seem to sell because they are modern, that isn't necessarily the case. Author's like Steel see what have worked in the past, just as scandal aided in the production of bestseller books years before Steel even started writing. In the 1950's Grace Metalious made "Peyton Place" a bestseller by writing a book that was basically "a soap opera about affairs, murders, rapes, and illegitimate offspring in a cozy New England town" (Stellute). Novels like "Peyton Place" and "Heartbeat" put issues in places where they do not seem to belong. No one would expect illegitimacy to be an issue with a young yuppie couple living in Los Angles, just as no one would expect the quiet town of "Peyton Place" to have all the scandal that it actually does. However, they do. In "Heartbeat," Adrian deals with illegitimacy in the early 90s and in "Peyton Place" Constance McKenzie hides the fact that she was never married to her daughter Allison's father because of the shame associated with having an illegitimate child. "Peyton Place" undoubtedly was a bestseller in 1956 because Metalious introduced scandalous topics unfamiliar to literature of the time, which produced a lot of press of the book. However, rape, incest, and illegitimacy where occurring in the lives of people. Metalious' novel was criticized as being trash because it presented unfavorable, yet real topics, to a society that wasn't familiar with reading about such occurrences. Today, people are familiar with reading about such topics because Grace Metalious not only helped to pave the way for these types of novels, but she also paved the way for the soap operas that millions of viewers watch today. Thus, novels like "Peyton Place" and "Heartbeat" show us that many bestsellers maintain the interest of its readers through plots that produce scandal. It seems that readers of the 20th century are no longer interested in reading the typical love story, where everything goes well and all the characters are morally perfect. Works by Danielle Steel, like "Heartbeat" and other authors that write romance bestsellers, have proven that the plot, characters, and reality of novels play a large role in a book's success, however there is something else that has nothing to do with what is in the books, that sells books. Name notoriety places a huge role in the book industry and in the 20th century many books that have become bestsellers have been marketed off of name notoriety. Danielle Steel and other popular 20th century authors have made names for themselves in the book industry, which in some way attributes to the success of their books. If you pick up any article on Danielle Steel or any of her books, they usually mention that "she has been almost a permanent fixture on the New York Times hardcover, trade, paperback, and mass market bestsellers lists, and has produced almost 340 million books in print. Many of her novels have been adapted for television, and in 1981[at the beginning of her career] Steel was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having for having one of her books on the New York Times bestseller lists for 381 weeks" (Authors and Artists). Publishing companies play off of the name notoriety of established authors, like Steel, and all to often, you will find a book written by best-selling authors in which their name takes up more space on the cover of the book than does the title. Thus, they are looking to attract the public to these books by putting the name of a well-known best-selling writer on a book so big that no one in the bookstore can miss it. Books like Danielle Steel's "Heartbeat" and Stephan King's "It," which both went on to be bestsellers, show that the author's name is important in the marketing technique used by the publishing company. By using more space to print the name of the author than the name of the book, the companies are playing off of the fact that the author's names are well known. Such characteristics as name notoriety, scandal, reality, well-to-do characters, and unfavorable reviews seem to come hand in hand with bestsellers, as Steel's 1991 bestseller "Heartbeat" shows us. While many of the characteristics that make a bestseller successful seem to be unfavorable to critics of all kinds, the authors of these works must be doing something right. They are entertaining their readers, maintaining strong followings and selling millions of books, regardless of their so-called faulty writing. Sources---- Authors and Artists for Young Adults. Vols. 7-26. Gale Research, 1992-99. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd Edition. 18 vols. Gale Research 1998. Galenet, Biography Resource Center- www.galenet.com Jones, Dara. Assignment #5. http://www.engl.virginia.edu/courses/bestsellers/ (2/2/00). Newsmakers 1999, Issue 2. Gale Group, 1999. Stellute, Selena. Assignment #5. http://www.engl.virginia.edu/courses/bestsellers/ (2/2/00).
Supplemental Material
The Atlanta Constitution. Arts and Entertainment; Section N; Page 10 Authors and Artists for Young Adults. Vols. 7-26. Gale Research, 1992-99. Bargeen, Melinda. "Books Briefly-Heartbeat," The Seattle Times: March 17, 1991. PK7 Bochave, Danielle. "None of the old glitz," The Toronto Star: April 6, 1991. P J10 Contemporary Authors Online. The Gale Group, 1999. Contemporary Popular Writers. St. James Press, 1997 Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd Edition. 18 vols. Gale Research 1998. Galenet, Biography Resource Center- www.galenet.com Jones, Dara. Assignment #5. http://www.engl.virginia.edu/courses/bestsellers/ (2/2/00). Marchant, Sopfia; Lamanna, Dean. Ladies Home Journal. October 1991 v108 n10 p46(1) Newsmakers 1999, Issue 2. Gale Group, 1999. New York Times- February 8, 1993 Section C; Page 16 Stellute, Selena. Assignment #5. http://www.engl.virginia.edu/courses/bestsellers/ (2/2/00). The United Press International April 2, 1991 Washington Post. February 8, 1993. Page B1. Writers Directory, 14th ed. St. James Press, 1999.
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