Drogin, Karen (Carly Phillips)
PERSONAL: Married Phil Drogin c. 1989; children: Jackie, Jennifer (daughters). Education: Attended Brandeis University. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, ABC TV soap operas.
ADDRESSES: Home—P.O. Box 483, Purchase, NY 10577. E-mail—[email protected].
CAREER: Attorney and romance novelist.
AWARDS, HONORS: W.I.S.H. Hero Award, Romantic Times, 1999, for Brazen; Holt Medallion Best Short Contemporary Award, 2001, for Secret Fantasy; Rose Award for series romance, Thewordonromance.com, 2001, for Erotic Invitation; Romance Writers of America Honor Roll, Wordweaving.com Award of Excellence, Waldenbooks Bestselling Debut Author-Contemporary-Award, National Reader's Choice Award, Best Single Title designation, Oklahoma Chapter Romance Writers of America, 2002, all for The Bachelor; SARA Rising Star Award for Best Short Contemporary, and Booksellers Best Award for Best Short Contemporary, both for Simply Scandalous.
Perfect Partners, Kensington Publishing Corporation (New York, NY), 1999.
The Right Choice, Kensington Publishing Corporation (New York, NY), 2000.
Solitary Man, Kensington Publishing Corporation (New York, NY), 2000.
UNDER NAME CARLY PHILLIPS
Secret Fantasy, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Erotic Invitation, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Body Heat, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Hot Stuff, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.
Under the Boardwalk, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Brazen, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2005.
Contributor to anthologies, including Naughty or Nice?, St. Martin's Paperbacks (New York, NY), 2001; Invitations to Seduction, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003; and Stroke of Midnight, Onyx Books (New York, NY), 2004.
"SIMPLY" SERIES; UNDER NAME CARLY PHILLIPS
Simply Scandalous, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
Simply Sinful, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
Simply Sensual, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.
Simply Sexy, Harlequin (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2002.
"CHANDLER" SERIES; UNDER NAME CARLY PHILLIPS
The Bachelor, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Heartbreaker, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
The Playboy, Warner Books (New York, NY), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Romance novelist Karen Drogin is a former attorney who writes under her own name, but primarily under the pseudonym of Carly Phillips. Most of Drogin's books are spicier than the bulk of traditional romances, featuring greater amounts of sex and sensual interaction between characters. "Writing hot, sexy stories was never something I planned to do, but it's a niche I've found and I'm grateful," Drogin stated on Wordweaving.com. Her switch in career from lawyer to romance novelist surprised friends and family, but they supported her decision even though some have trouble reconciling "the stay-at-home mom with the writer of sensual, boundary-pushing stories," she commented. The pseudonymous Phillips "writes sex scenes that border on erotica," noted Washington Post Book World critic Pamela Regis.
In The Bachelor, the first novel in Phillips's "Chandler" trilogy, a mother's wish for grandchildren sends her son off in search of an appropriate mate. When Raina Chandler is rushed to the hospital with what appears to be a heart attack, her three sons gather at her side. Rick and Chase arrive first, and the last to arrive is foreign correspondent Roman. When the boys ask their mother what they can do to help in her recovery, she answers, "Grandchildren." Her fondest wish is to see her sons settled down with families of their own. To further this cause, however, she fails to tell them that her cardiac problems are actually nothing more than indigestion.
Unaware of the deception, the Chandler boys toss a coin to see who has to surrender his bachelor lifestyle and propagate the bloodline. Chase is exempted, since he largely took over the "man of the house" role when his father died, caring for his mother, helping raise his younger brothers, and taking over his father's newspa-per business. Roman loses the coin toss, and he agrees to accede to his mother's wishes, even though he sees little future in marriage when his good looks and charm can get him all the women he wants without the strictures of a wedding ring. The only one who has so far seemed immune to him is Charlotte Bronson, a beauty for whom he has carried an unrequited torch since high school. Roman sets his sights on Charlotte, and although she initially hesitates, the two soon plunge into a sexually charged relationship, without knowing if it can withstand Charlotte's need for domestic tranquility and Roman's equally strong need to explore the world. "The relationship between Roman and Charlotte is a delight to observe as it heats up the storyline," commented Harriet Klausner on AllReaders.com. The book "will encourage readers who enjoy dining on passion to pick up the next book" in the trilogy, noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Phillips's career got a boost when The Bachelor was chosen as part of actress and TV host Kelly Ripa's on-air book club, "Reading with Ripa" on the TV program Live with Regis and Kelly. Ripa's selection propelled the book to the number-one slot on both the Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com bookseller sites, and helped the novel to a six-week tenure on the New York Times bestseller list.
The second Chandler sibling gets his chance at romance in The Playboy, the next book in the trilogy. Still laboring under mother Raina's false pretenses of family-sparked heart trouble and saddened by a failed marriage, police officer Rick Chandler still manages to avoid both his mother's marriage plots and the attention of nearly every available woman in town. To throw both matchmaker and hopeful consorts off the trail, Rick enlists the aid of Kendall Sutton to serve as his faux girlfriend. Kendall seems as reluctant to commitment as Rick—the two met when Rick saved her from an automobile accident that occurred while she was running from her own wedding—and the ruse seems to be going well. Until, of course, Rick and Kendall discover their own undeniable deep attraction to each other. "In fact, there's little in the way of surprise or suspense herein," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who conceded that "the brothers' considerable charisma makes up for many sins of style and substance."
Independent and business-minded Chase Chandler is pleased for his brothers' happy marriages, but the protagonist of The Heartbreaker, the last installment in the "Chandler" trilogy, has no plans to surrender his bachelorhood, despite his mother's insistence that he follow his younger siblings' lead. Running his father's newspaper is enough challenge for him. However, a chance meeting in a bar brings Chase in contact with Sloane Carlisle, a young woman whose recently discovered family secret brings with it encroaching danger and the complete alteration of her worldview. A passionate night between the two seems to be the end of it, but Sloane's dangerous past soon brings her into contact with Chase again. His protective and heroic side piqued, Chase realizes that Sloane needs "more than just a boyfriend as, once again, Phillips keeps her fans speculating until the very end," remarked Megan Kalan in Booklist.
In Under the Boardwalk Ariana Costas leaves behind her stable life as a college professor in Vermont to search for her missing sister, Zoe, who vanished while working as a waitress in a casino owned by a reputed drug lord. When a gunman mistakes Ariana for Zoe, she realizes she is in too deep, and then she meets undercover police detective Quinn Donavan. Quinn and Ariana embark on a steamy relationship while the pair, in their own way, continue to look for Zoe. Ariana's boisterous Greek family, a monkey trained as a pickpocket, and a runaway teenager thicken the plot. A Kirkus Reviews critic remarked that Drogin's "sexy romp will please the fans," while Booklist reviewer Lynne Welch called the book "fast-paced, flirty, and adventurous" and predicted that it "will be eagerly received by her legions of fans" and readers.
"In reality, I write from the heart with you, the reader, in mind," Drogin remarked, taking on the role of her alter-ego author on the Carly Phillips Web site. "When you read a Carly Phillips book, you're always getting a part of me as my gift to you."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2003, Megan Kalan, review of Hot Stuff, p. 1966; May 1, 2004, Lynne Welch, review of Under the Boardwalk, p. 1551.
Entertainment Weekly, August 2, 2002, Karen Valby, "Talking Trash: Kelly Ripa Can't Get Enough of Flings with Frivolous Reads—But Does the Pleasure Outweigh the Guilt?," review of The Bachelor, p. 66.
Jewish Exponent, December 17, 2004, Faygie Levy," When Love Conquers All; In the End, Romance Heroes and Heroines Wind up Winners."
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of Under the Boardwalk, p. 518.
Publishers Weekly, May 27, 2002, review of The Bachelor, p. 44; November 25, 2002, review of The Playboy, p. 49; February 3, 2003, Calvin Reid, "Author Sues Kensington over Pseudonym," p. 16; August 18, 2003, review of The Heartbreaker, p. 59; July 12, 2004, review of Hot Stuff, p. 49; September 6, 2004, review of Stroke of Midnight, p. 51; November 22, 2004, John F. Baker, "New Homes for Romance Writers," p. 11.
Washington Post Book World, October 24, 2004, Pamela Regis, "Bestselling Popular Novelists Keep it All in the Family," p. T13.
Carly Phillips Home Page, http://www.carlyphillips.com (December 17, 2004).
Romance Reader Web site, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (June 1, 1999), Cathy Sova, interview with Phillips.
http://www.wordweaving.com/ (December 17, 2004), Cynthia Penn, interview with Phillips.