PERSONAL: Born in Dorset, England; married Jerry Cameron (a U.S. Air Force officer); children: three. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, music, theatre, animals.
ADDRESSES: Home—Seattle, WA.
AWARDS, HONORS: Best contemporary romantic suspense, Romantic Times Online, 1998, for French Quarter; Pacific Northwest Writers' Association achievement award, 1998; Romantic Times Online career achievement award; French Quarter was a Mystery Guild and Literary Guild selection.
Faces of a Clown, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1985.
Choices, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1986.
Some Die Telling, Harlequin (New York, NY), 1987.
An Angel in Time (first published in 1991), reprinted, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2004.
Only by Your Touch, Avon (New York, NY), 1992.
His Magic Touch, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.
Pure Delights, Avon (New York, NY), 1994.
Guilty Pleasures, Zebra (New York, NY), 1997.
The Best Revenge, Zebra (New York, NY), 1998.
Key West, Kensington (New York, NY), 1999.
Glass Houses, Kensington (New York, NY), 2000.
Finding Ian, Kensington (New York, NY), 2001.
Tell Me Why, Kensington (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Janice Kay Johnson) Wrong Turn (contains The Message, by Cameron and Tell Me Why, by Johnson), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.
A Useful Affair, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
Testing Miss Toogood (sequel to A Useful Affair), MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
Body of Evidence, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
A Marked Man, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2006.
Target, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2007.
Also author of Moontide, 1985, All that Sparkles, 1986, No Stranger, 1987, Second to None, 1987, A Party for Two, 1988, The Message, 1988, Once and for Always, 1988, A Death in the House, 1989, Friends, 1989, Late Gentlemen, 1989, Risks, 1990, Mirror, Mirror, 1991, Undercurrrents, 1991, Snow Angels, 1991, A Man for Easter, 1992, Mad about the Man, 1992, Breathless, 1994, Dear Stranger, 1997, Wait for Me, 1997, (with Fay Robinson) Courage, My Love, 2003, and Yes Is Forever, 2004.
Author of foreword, Arabella, by Georgette Heyer, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003. Contributor to A Christmas Collection, Avon (New York, NY), 1992, and Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance, edited by Jayne Anne Krentz, University of Pennsylvania Press (Philadelphia, PA).
"NAVY SEALS" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
Sheer Pleasures, Zebra (New York, NY), 1995.
True Bliss, Zebra (New York, NY), 1996.
Guilty Pleasures, Kensington (New York, NY), 1997.
"ROSSMARA FAMILY" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
Fascination, Avon (New York, NY), 1993.
Charmed, Avon (New York, NY), 1995.
Bride, Warner (New York, NY), 1995.
Beloved, Warner (New York, NY), 1996.
The Wish Club, Warner (New York, NY), 1998.
"BAYOU" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
French Quarter, Kensington (New York, NY) 1998.
Cold Day in July, Kensington (New York, NY), 2002.
Kiss Them Goodbye, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
Now You See Him, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
A Grave Mistake, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
"MAYFAIR SQUARE" SERIES; ROMANCE NOVELS
More and More, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.
All Smiles, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
7-B, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
The Orphan, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
About Adam, MIRA Books (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2003.
ADAPTATIONS: Cameron's Breathless was recorded on audio cassette by Movies for the Ears, 1995.
SIDELIGHTS: Best known for her contemporary thriller romances, Stella Cameron is also the author of Regency and other historical romance novels. Though she had published numerous paperbacks, her first hardback is French Quarter, an award-winning book that was the first in her "Bayou" series. The protagonists are former Miss Louisiana-turned-socialite Celina Payne, whose boss, charitable foundation director Errol Petrie, is found dead on a bathroom floor, and Jack Charbonnet, the part owner of a riverboat casino. Other characters include a drag queen, an evangelist, a mob boss, and New Orleans politicians. Library Journal reviewer Kristin Ramsdell called the protagonists "well-matched" and "likable," and described the secondary characters as "often shallow and sometimes truly repellent." The plot involves ambition, social differences, relationships, and sex. Booklist reviewer Ilene Cooper called French Quarter "good fun for those who like their romantic suspense a little on the trashy side," while a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Cameron's "exploration of family—from mob loyalty to parental betrayal—lends a certain thoughtfulness to the work."
Cameron followed French Quarter with several more romances set in Touissant, Louisiana: Cold Day in July, Kiss Them Goodbye, Now You See Him, and A Grave Mistake. Several of these titles were not well received by some critics, though others enjoyed the stories. Discussing Cold Day in July, a story of a murdered singer and a doctor and his son who investigate the crime, a Publishers Weekly contributor remarked: "Strangely for so ordinarily adept a writer, Cameron fumbles her plot and badly misjudges the novel's pacing." However, Diana Tixier Herald insisted in her Booklist review of the same title that "Cameron is a master at skillfully integrating sizzlingly sensual love scenes into her fast-moving plots." Kiss Them Goodbye has a recently widowed woman and her daughter trying to turn a plantation into a restaurant and hotel, but when a dead body is found there, the daughter is considered a suspect. John Charles, writing in Booklist, called Kiss Them Goodbye a "sexy, gritty, compellingly readable tale" that is a "wonderfully atmospheric" offering.
Now You See Him features Ellie Byron, eyewitness to a murder, terrified when the convicted killer escapes from prison two years after his crime. Aided by her helpful attorney, Joe Gable, Ellie finds romance as well as mystery. Herald, writing again in Booklist, was confident that "fans of the series will be delighted to catch up with" their Louisiana friends. The next installment in the "Bayou" romances, A Grave Mistake, is another murder tale set in New Orleans. This time, a homicide detective is investigating a death at a Touissant bakery shop when he becomes romantically involved with the sexy Jilly Gable. Cameron throws in plenty of grim elements this time, including spooky houses and, more disturbingly, sadomasochistic sex. Booklist writer Herald warned that A Grave Mistake is "hard-boiled and hardcore." Meanwhile, a Publishers Weekly critic complained of "cliché-ridden prose," adding that the author "handles the sex scenes better than she does the plotting or police work."
Romance and mystery are at work in many of Cameron's stand-alone contemporary novels, too, such as Key West. The protagonist here is Sonnie Giacano, who does not remember exactly what occurred eight months before when her tennis-pro husband, Frank, mysteriously disappeared, because on the same night, Sonnie suffered a car wreck that caused the miscarriage of her unborn daughter. She attempts to heal her emotional scars in Key West, while tending bar in a club owned by Roy Talon and his lover. Roy's brother, Chris, is a former New York police officer who has come to Key West to lick his own emotional wounds. He becomes involved in the case only after Sonnie begins hearing voices singing a lullaby. Frank's brother, Sonnie's sister, and a psychiatrist arrive offering assistance, but it seems they actually want to take control of Sonnie and Frank's wealth. When Sonnie's house catches fire and a dead man is found inside, the question becomes whether she is being targeted for death or commitment to a mental institution. Chris believes Sonnie is sane and fights for the woman he has come to adore. A Publishers Weekly reviewer felt the subplots "involving missing cad Frank, his Jag-driving look-alike brother, and Sonnie's cruel sexpot sibling add strength to a solid plot."
Other romances by Cameron include Glass Houses, a thriller that finds New York City cop Aiden Flynn helping English photographer Olivia Durham out of the lineup as head of a ring of art thieves; the only problem is that he, too, is soon a suspect. Calling Glass Houses a "great follow-up" to Key West, Booklist contributor Patty Engelmann dubbed the novel "a stay-up-late read with wonderful comic relief." More serious reading is found in Finding Ian, as Dr. Byron Frazer discovers that a son he gave up years ago is now orphaned and living in England. During a bitter custody battle, the psychologist comes to terms with the guilt over his past actions, and finds love along the way. While noting that "there is no suspense, no kinky sex, and no villain," Jodi L. Israel remarked in her Library Journal review of Finding Ian that Cameron's fictional change of pace results in "a sweet story."
Though set in Louisiana like her "Bayou" titles, the more recent contemporary thriller Body of Evidence is not part of that series. Emma, the wife of Pointe Judah's mayor, is shocked when she discovers the dead body of a member of a women's club called Secrets to which Emma also belongs. When another Secrets member is killed, Emma grows even more concerned. Thankfully, she has an ally in Finn Duhon, a former Army Ranger and high school flame who has returned to town. Together, they try to solve the killings before Emma becomes the next victim. Booklist contributor Herald found it entertaining that the author continues her trademark plot device of using "a kinky sexual encounter to out her evildoers."
Cameron has also applied her writing skills to contribute to the popular Regency-era romance subgenre, most notably with her "Mayfair Square" series. Set in the 1820s at a home located at 7 Mayfair Square, these novels feature a cast of endearing characters, including a resident ghost, Sir Septimus Spivey, who repeatedly tries to get rid of the home's residents so he can have some peace and quiet. More and More opens the series with ghostly narrator Spivey watching Finch More and her brother, who are partners in a small import business. An attraction develops between Finch and snobbish client Ross, Viscount Kilrood, but Ross struggles to keep their friendship from going further because he is involved in a dangerous scheme that could put Finch and her brother's lives in danger. The two do become lovers, and Finch's brother is kidnapped after their home in Mayfair is burglarized. Ross promises to rescue her brother, but Finch won't wait; she decides to save him herself. A Publishers Weekly reviewer commented that More and More "comes complete with an eccentric cast of characters … and enough villains to keep readers thoroughly entertained." Booklist reviewer Herald commented that Cameron combines protagonists and plot "with some of the most lusciously sensuous love scenes appearing in historical romance."
All Smiles takes place during the early 1800s, and, like More and More, is set in London. In this mystery, Cameron again introduces a supernatural element in the form of Sir Septimus Spivey, the late owner of the large home at 7 Mayfair Square. In an effort to rid his haunt of its rambunctious tenants, Spivey starts to work on a young woman named Meg Smiles, where his efforts take the form of finding her a position with the handsome Count Etranger rather than nightly hauntings with clanking chains. The Mayfair address and its ghostly landlord are again the backdrop in 2001's 7-B, as shy, twenty-something Sibyl Smiles decides to have a child without the distraction of having to deal with a husband, and her search for a suitable man lands her next door at the apartment of handsome Hunter Lloyd. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that Cameron's Mayfair novels would please "historical romance fans who enjoy steamy love scenes combined with a little mystery, all penned with a lively hand."
The fourth and fifth books in the "Mayfair Square" series are The Orphan and About Adam. Latimore More tries to gain the attentions of a millinery assistant named Jenny in The Orphan. Jenny, though, resists Latimore because she is embarrassed by a secret in her life. A Publishers Weekly critic noted "a few loose ends," but praised the book overall for "tight plotting and consistent characterizations." Maria Hatton, writing in Booklist, thought that the repeated allusions to Shakespeare sometimes were confusing, but added that "fans of [Cameron's] Mayfair Square series will certainly enjoy this installment." About Adam has Princess Desiree enlisting the help of her friends to woo the antisocial artist Adam Chillworth in what Hatton called a "highly enjoyable continuation of Cameron's popular series" in a Booklist assessment.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, July, 1998, Ilene Cooper, review of French Quarter, p. 1827; March 1, 1999, Diana Tixier Herald, review of More and More, p. 1159; September 15, 1999, Tixier Herald, review of Key West, p. 240; August, 2000, Patty Engelmann, review of Glass Houses, p. 2123; September 15, 2000, Donna Seaman, review of Glass Houses, p. 226; November 1, 2000, Engelmann, review of Finding Ian, p. 490; August, 2001, Maria Hatton, review of Tell Me Why, p. 2100; March 15, 2002, Maria Hatton, review of The Orphan, p. 1217; September 1, 2002, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Cold Day in July, p. 65; March 15, 2003, Maria Hatton, review of About Adam, p. 1282; October 15, 2003, John Charles, review of Kiss Them Goodbye, p. 396; November 1, 2004, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Now You See Him, p. 469; February 15, 2005, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Telling Miss Toogood, p. 1067; November 1, 2005, Diana Tixier Herald, review of A Grave Mistake, p. 30; March 15, 2006, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Body of Evidence, p. 34.
Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2003, review of Kiss Them Goodbye, p. 1140.
Library Journal, August, 1998, Kristin Ramsdell, review of French Quarter, p. 71; December, 2000, Jodi L. Israel, review of Finding Ian, p. 186; September 1, 2001, Kim Uden Rutter, review of Tell Me Why, p. 232.
Publishers Weekly, December 19, 1994, review of Pure Delights, p. 50; February 13, 1995, review of Charmed, p. 74; July 8, 1996, review of True Bliss, p. 81; August 12, 1996, review of Beloved, p. 81; March 10, 1997, review of Guilty Pleasures, p. 64; March 31, 1997, review of Dear Stranger, p. 71; November 10, 1997, review of Wait for Me, p. 71; January 26, 1998, review of The Best Revenge, p. 89; July 13, 1998, review of French Quarter, p. 63; March 29, 1999, review of More and More, p. 101; August 30, 1999, review of Key West, p. 52; February 28, 2000, review of All Smiles, p. 68; July 17, 2000, review of Glass Houses, p. 176; November 20, 2000, review of Finding Ian, p. 46; January 29, 2001, review of 7-B, p. 71; September 3, 2001, review of Tell Me Why, p. 65; February 25, 2002, review of The Orphan, p. 48; August 5, 2002, review of Cold Day in July, p. 53; October 27, 2003, review of Kiss Them Goodbye, p. 44; November 1, 2004, review of Now You See Him, p. 42; February 7, 2005, review of Testing Miss Toogood, p. 47; September 26, 2005, review of A Grave Mistake, p. 64.
All about Romance, http://www.likesbooks.com/ (November 8, 2006), "Behind the Pen of Stella Cameron," interview with the author.
Book Page, http://www.bookpage.com/ (November 8, 2006), Sandy Huseby, "Romance Author Stella Cameron Bends the Rules with Powerful New Novel," interview with author.
Stella Cameron Home Page, http://www.stellacameron.com (November 8, 2006).
Writers Write, http://www.writerswrite.com/ (July 1, 2000), Claire E. White, "A Conversation with Stella Cameron."