Saturday, February 28, 2015

In Memorial: Bertrice Small (1937 - 2015)

Bertrice Williams was born on December 9, 1937 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, the daughter of Doris S. and David R. Williams, both broadcasters. She studied at Attended Western College for Women and Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School.

Published since 1947, Bertrice Small was the author of over 50 romance novels. A New York Times bestselling author, she also appeared on other best-seller lists including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and the L.A. Times. She was the recipient of numerous awards including Career Achievement for Historical Romance; Best Historical Romance; Outstanding Historical Romance Series; Career Achievement for Historical Fantasy; a Golden Leaf from the New Jersey Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America; an Author of the Year (2006) and Big Apple Award from the New York City Romance Writers chapter of RWA, and several Reviewers Choice awards from Romantic Times. She had a "Silver Pen" from Affair De Coeur, and an Honorable Mention from The West Coast Review of Books. In 2004 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by ROMANTIC TIMES magazine for her contributions to the Historical Romance genre. And in 2008 she was named by ROMANTIC TIMES along with her friends Jennifer Blake, Roberta Gellis and Janelle Taylor, a Pioneer of Romance. 

I was very sad to learn that Bertrice Small, author of some of my favorite series, died this week at the age of 77.  As stated above, she was truly a Pioneer of Romance.  

Although best known for her historical romance, Small was actually my introduction to the fantasy romance genre with her World of Hetar series.  This series is a fantastical story of love, loss, betrayal and adventure that made me laugh, cry, and fall in love with talking animals! 

Small writes strong and adventurous women in wonderfully sweeping sagas of romance and adventure.  She never failed to make me giggle at her prolific use of the word "manroot" and other colorful terms for intimate situations.  It is also not uncommon to find well-known historical figures playing a part in her books. Once I devoured the World of Hetar and was feeling bereft, I moved on to Small's Skye O'Malley series, then the Blaze Wyndham series, the Border Chronicles, the list goes on and on and on.  I have read just over half of Ms. Small's work... and feel like I will treasure these remaining unread works all the more. 

Last year Bertrice Small received the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award by the Romance Writers of America.  It couldn't have been more well-deserved. Watch a copy of the award presentation below.