Kathleen E. Woodiwiss (1939-2007)

Death: 6th July 2007
Location: Karmel Covenant Church Cemetery, Wyanett, Isanti County, Minnesota, United States
Cause of death: Cancer
Photo taken by:  Keith Engstrom
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American writer who pioneered the historical romance genre. Her debut novel, The Flame and the Flower, was rejected by agents and hardcover publishers as being too long at 600 pages. Rather than follow the advice of the rejection letters and rewrite the novel, Woodiwiss instead submitted it to paperback publishers. The first publisher on her list, Avon, quickly purchased the novel. The Flame and the Flower was revolutionary, featuring an epic historical romance with a strong heroine and actual sex scenes, it sold over 2.3 million copies in its first four years of publication.
The success of this novel prompted a new style of writing romance, concentrating primarily on historical fiction tracking the monogamous relationship between helpless heroines and the hero who rescued her, even if he had been the one to place her in danger. The romance novels which followed in her example featured longer plots, more controversial situations and characters, and more intimate and steamy sex scenes.
Woodiwiss published twelve best-selling romance novels, she was known for the quality of her novels rather than the quantity of works she published. She often took four to five years to write a single novel. All of her novels were historical romances set in varied backgrounds, including the American Civil War, 18th-century England, or Saxony in the time of William the Conqueror.