Mortman, Doris 1945(?)–
Mortman, Doris 1945(?)–
PERSONAL: Born c. 1945; married David Mortman, March, 1968; children: Lisa, Alex.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, St. Martin's Press, 175 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010.
Circles, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1984.
First Born, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1987.
Rightfully Mine, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1989.
The Wild Rose, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 1991.
True Colors, Crown (New York, NY), 1994.
The Lucky Ones, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Out of Nowhere, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Before and Again, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2003.
Shades of Red, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 2005.
ADAPTATIONS: Author's books have been adapted for audio, including Before and Again, read by Deborah Marlowe, Books on Tape, 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Doris Mortman is the author of several successful romance novels, including her debut, Circles, which made it to the New York Times bestseller list; The Wild Rose; and The Lucky Ones. Compared with many novels in the genre, Mortman's romances have uniquely modern themes and feature strong, independent career women. Speaking with Valerie Takahama in an interview for the Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, Mortman explained that she tries to write novels in which "the fantasies aren't 'I want all those things,' it's 'I want what she has inside.'"
Mortman's romances are also notable for their complex plots, which often draw on historical or current events. For example, The Wild Rose opens with the massacre of two Hungarian parents during the real-life uprising against Communist rule that took place in that country in 1956. Their two sons, Istvan and Matyas Kardos, manage to escape to Kentucky, where they are raised by relatives and become American successes, Istvan as a congressman and Matyas in finance. Despite marrying an American socialite, Istvan has retained his love for his childhood sweetheart Katalin, a concert pianist, and when she is granted permission to attend Juilliard in New York City, their romance is rekindled. It is an "engrossing saga," a reviewer commented in Publishers Weekly, ading that the novel's 1991 release was made more timely by the crumbling of Communist rule in Eastern Europe around the same time.
Politics also feature in Mortman's novel The Lucky Ones, which traces the lives of four women who are part of a presidential campaign taking place in the midst of an overseas hostage crisis. Zoe works in foreign affairs, Celia is a television news reporter covering the election, Georgie is a congresswoman, and Kate is a lawyer and the founder of a grassroots anticrime movement. Mortman drew on her own experiences as a fund-raiser for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992 in writing the book, and reviewers have noted that her two fictional candidates are striking likenesses of Democratic candidates from more recent elections: Clinton and former Colorado senator Gary Hart. Although the book as a romance novel does have "plenty of the love stuff," as a contributor to the Seattle Times commented, "it spends much of its 416 pages on what's happening between the characters' ears, rather than between their sheets." It is also a "well-paced thriller" with a "sturdy plot" and "entertaining insights about the people who run the world," noted a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Out of Nowhere is "terrifically suspenseful" and "provides a perfect balance between tension and romance," Patty Engelmann wrote in Booklist. Out of Nowhere is the story of Amanda Maxwell, a young woman who grew up in the witness-protection program after her mother testified against the suspects in the death of Amanda's uncle, a narcotics agent. Amanda has a safe life and an enjoyable job as a forensic photographer for the New York City Police Department, but she chooses to leave the witness protection program to reconnect with her father and find her own way in the world. Her "travails" in doing so "will intrigue readers of this capably plotted tale," wrote a Publishers Weekly critic.
The protagonist of Before and Again is newspaper reporter Callie Jamieson, whose mother committed suicide after being institutionalized for schizophrenia. Callie is having nightmares that her therapist believes represent efforts to channel the memories of generations of the Hale family, to which she has blood and romantic ties via boyfriend Wilty Hale, heir to the newspaper for which Callie works. Many Hales have met untimely deaths. Engelmann felt that "Mortman's well-crafted exploration into the human psyche is suspense at its best."
In Shades of Red, Vera Hart, owner of the cosmetics firm Hart Line International, discovers that someone has been altering the company's books. The chief executive of Hart Line, whom a Kirkus Reviews contributor described as "a cold-as-ice hybrid of Estee Lauder, Martha Stewart and Elizabeth Taylor," is now under investigation and also under attack when her famous Valentine Red lipstick is tainted with mercuric chloride, resulting in the deaths of women who have used it. Vera's family is also threatened. Her eldest daughter, Greta, has worked alongside her mother in building their empire, while the youngest daughter, Martie, grew up with her father, a general under whom she served as a doctor during the first Gulf War. Martie was taken prisoner and later decorated. One of the few things the sisters have in common is that they both have had a relationship with attorney Bryan Chalmers—Martie years ago and Greta currently. Engelmann wrote that "Mortman has fashioned a great bit of escape literature, a decadent diversion rich in suspense."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 1994, Donna Seaman, review of True Colors, p. 556; May 1, 1997, Melanie Duncan, review of The Lucky Ones, p. 1462; June 1, 1998, Patty Engelmann, review of Out of Nowhere, p. 1726; September 1, 2003, Patty Engelmann, review of Before and Again, p. 58; November 15, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of Shades of Red, p. 562.
Denver Post, August 10, 1997, Glenn Giffin, "Natural Writer Mortman Mixes Women, Politics," interview with Doris Mortman, p. E7.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2003, review of Before and Again, p. 1094; November 1, 2004, review of Shades of Red, p. 1026.
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, April 5, 1995, Valerie Takahama, "New Women's Fiction of '90s Moves from Glitz into the Real World."
Library Journal, July, 1987, A.M.B. Amantia, review of First Born, p. 96; December, 1994, Patricia Altner, review of True Colors, p. 133; May 1, 1995, Gretchen Browne, review of True Colors, p. 150.
New York Times Book Review, October 4, 1987, Laurel Graeber, review of First Born, p. 28; August 13, 1989, Lita Solis Cohen, review of Rightfully Mine, p. 16.
Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH), August 5, 1997, Evelyn Theiss, "Author Infuses Her Heroines with Real-Life Attributes" (interview with Mortman), p. E1.
Publishers Weekly, April 27, 1984, review of Circles, p. 80; June 19, 1987, Sybil Steinberg, review of First Born, p. 113; June 2, 1989, Sybil Steinberg, review of Rightfully Mine, p. 66; April 5, 1991, interview with Mortman, pp. 12-15; June 7, 1991, review of The Wild Rose, p. 56; November 7, 1994, review of True Colors, p. 63; June 2, 1997, review of The Lucky Ones, p. 51; May 25, 1998, review of Out of Nowhere, p. 62.
San Francisco Chronicle, August 17, 1997, Patricia Holt, "Women Just Want a Good Story," interview with Mortman, p. 2.
Seattle Times, July 8, 1997, "Author Creates a New Style of 'Women's Fiction,'" interview with Mortman, p. F1.
Romance Reader, http://www.theromancereader.com/ (September 21, 2005), Thea Davis, review of Out of Nowhere.