PERSONAL: Married; husband's name Larry; children: one daughter, one son.
ADDRESSES: Home—Virginia. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Harlequin, 225 Duncan Mill Rd., Don Mills, Ontario M3B 3K9, Canada.
AWARDS, HONORS: Career Achievement Award, Romantic Times; National Readers Choice Award, Oklahoma Romance Writers; Maggie Award, Georgia Romance Writers; Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence; Reviewer's Choice Award.
Brazen Virginia Bride, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1990.
California Temptress, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Desire's Endless Kiss, Zebra Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Temptation's Fire, Kensington (New York, NY), 1992.
Phantom Lover, HarperPaperbacks (New York, NY), 1993.
Promise of Eden, Pinnacle Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Diamond in the Rough, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
Mail-Order Outlaw, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 1994.
Wild Heather (first volume in "Flowers of the West" trilogy), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Sweet Laurel (second volume in "Flowers of the West" trilogy), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Prim Rose (third volume in "Flowers of the West" trilogy), Warner Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Desperate, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Dangerous, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Defiant, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1998.
True Love, Warner Books (New York, NY), 1999.
The Trouble with Mary, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2001.
The Pregnant Ms. Potter, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2001.
What to Do about Annie?, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Liz Ireland and Mary McBride) A Western Family Christmas (omnibus), Harlequin (New York, NY), 2001.
The Trials of Angela, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2002.
Staying Single, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2003.
Mad about Mia, Ivy Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Suddenly Single, Harlequin (New York, NY), 2004.
Body Language, Harlequin (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
No Strings Attached, Harlequin (Don Mills, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
Also author of The Wedding Planner, 2000, and The Marrying Man, 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Millie Criswell is the author of numerous romance novels, both historical romances and contemporary romantic comedies. In the historical trilogy "Flowers of the West," Criswell tells the stories of three sisters from Kansas who are in search of husbands. The second book of the series, Sweet Laurel, opens as Laurel Martin sets out to become an opera singer in Denver, Colorado. However, her singing talents are not up to the opera company's standards, and she is forced to accept work singing in the Aurora Borealis saloon. This establishment is owned by Chance Rafferty, a gambler and a charming rogue, and although Laurel is initially shocked at the coarseness of her new surroundings, she soon finds herself intrigued by Chance and his world. Martin sister Rose Elizabeth, whose story is told in Prim Rose, the third volume in the trilogy, has no desire to leave the family farm, even after it is sold to British purchaser Alexander Warrick, duke of Moreland. In fact, she refuses to leave and taunts the duke by referring to him as "'your dukeness,' 'your ineptness,' 'your majesticness,' etc.," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Desperate, Dangerous, and Defiant form another historical trilogy, this one focusing on the Bodine brothers. Desperate centers on Rafe Bodine, a former Texas Ranger whose pregnant wife was raped and murdered. While Rafe is out looking for the perpetrators so that he can take his revenge, he meets up with Emmaline St. Joseph, a Bostonian society lady who has become stranded while on her way to California to found an orphanage. "This is a tightly plotted book and a good read," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. In Dangerous, both Ethan Bodine, a Texas Ranger, and horticulturalist Wilhemina Granville are trying to track down Rafe, who is now wanted for the shooting of one of the men he was seeking in Desperate. There is a five-hundred-dollar bounty on Rafe's head, and Wilhemina hopes to earn the money and save her aunt's house from the man who holds its mortgage. Criswell "gets the job done in a dependably entertaining fashion," in Dangerous, related a Publishers Weekly critic. Travis, the youngest Bodine brother and a lawyer, tries to save Rafe from the executioner in Defiant. He has one major distraction in his quest: exfiancée Hannah Louise Barkley, also a lawyer, who is hired to work on the case as well. Defiant "is great fun, filled with action, witty dialogue and entirely endearing secondary characters," commented a Publishers Weekly contributor.
In 2000 Criswell branched out into contemporary romantic comedy with the publication of The Trouble with Mary. This book and its sequels, including What to Do about Annie? and Mad about Mia, are about the family and friends of the Russos, an Italian-American family living in Maryland. Mary Russo, thirty-three years old and the protagonist of the first book, longs for her first sexual relationship and for freedom from her smothering mother. When Mary's boss commits suicide, she resolves to take a step toward independence by opening her own Italian restaurant. She succeeds in founding the restaurant, but its future seems less secure after newspaper food critic Dan Gallagher writes a scathing review of it. When Mary goes to the newspaper to make a complaint, sparks fly between her and Dan. The Trouble with Mary is "a hilarious contemporary romance chock-full of delightful characters and wonderful-sounding recipes," Patty Engelmann noted in Booklist.
What to Do about Annie? centers on Annie Goldman, a Jewish woman who is Mary's best friend. When Annie was a teenager she was engaged to Mary's brother Joe, but he broke off the engagement and became a priest. Now, fifteen years later, Joe leaves the clergy and asks Annie if they can try again. "Criswell's dialogue is sharp and humorous," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic, "and her colorful characters liven up the narrative." Kristin Ramsdell, writing in Library Journal, also praised the book, calling it "fast-paced, hilarious, and thoroughly delightful." In The Trials of Angela, described by Booklist reviewer Engelmann as "a terrifically enjoyable performance spiked with great lawyer jokes," the romantic couple is Joe Franco (Mary Russo's cousin) and Angela DeNero, two lawyers and old friends who find themselves serving as counsel for opposite sides in a bitter custody battle. Angela's younger sister Mia gets her day in Mad about Mia, which Engelmann in Booklist called "a funny and heartwarming story."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2001, Patty Engelmann, review of The Trouble with Mary, p. 927; July, 2001, Patty Engelmann, review of What to Do about Annie?, p. 1990; September 15, 2001, review of The Trouble with Mary, p. 211; April 1, 2002, Patty Engelmann, review of The Trials of Angela, p. 1311; December 15, 2003, Patty Engelmann, review of Mad about Mia, p. 733.
Library Journal, August, 2001, Kristin Ramsdell, review of What to Do about Annie?, p. 88; November 15, 2001, Kristin Ramsdell, review of A Western Family Christmas, p. 55; January, 2002, review of What to Do about Annie?, p. 51.
Publishers Weekly, February 19, 1996, review of Sweet Laurel, p. 211; October 28, 1996, review of Prim Rose, p. 77; May 26, 1997, review of Desperate, p. 83; January 26, 1998, review of Dangerous, p. 89; July 20, 1998, review of Defiant, p. 216; November 20, 2000, review of The Trouble with Mary, p. 52; May 28, 2001, review of What to Do about Annie?, p. 57; March 25, 2002, review of The Trials of Angela, p. 48.
Fantastic Fiction, http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ (October 22, 2005), "Millie Criswell."
Millie Criswell Home Page, http://www.milliecriswell.com (October 7, 2005).