Rosenberg, Nancy Taylor 1946-
Rosenberg, Nancy Taylor 1946-
Born July 9, 1946, in Dallas, TX; daughter of William Hoyt (an "oil man") and Ethel LaVerne (a homemaker) Taylor; married Calvin Skyrme (divorced, 1984); married Jerry Rosenberg (an investor); children: (first marriage) Forrest Blake, Chessly Lynn Nesci, Gerald Hoyt; (second marriage) Amy Laura, Nancy Beth. Education: Attended Gulf Park College and University of California, Los Angeles. Politics: "Non-partisan." Religion: Jewish.
Home—Niguel, CA. Agent—Peter Miller, 132 W. 22nd St., 12th Fl., New York, NY 10011.
Writer, businessperson, and police officer. Dallas Police Department, Dallas, TX, police officer, 1971-75; Ventura Police Department, Ventura, CA, community service officer, 1978-81; Ventura County Probation Department, Ventura, CA, deputy probation officer, 1981-84; Video Movie Wholesalers, vice president and owner; PMA Literary & Film Mgt., Inc., president. Has also worked as a police officer in New Mexico and Arizona, a criminal investigator, and a model. Creator of inner-city writing program, "Voices of Tomorrow." Has appeared on numerous television news programs, including Prime Time Live, Today Show, Rivera Live, Entertainment Tonight, and Talk Back Live.
Named Woman of the Year by the Boy Scouts of America, 1995; voted Woman of Excellence, Orange County's Learning for Life program, 1995.
Mitigating Circumstances, Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.
Interest of Justice, Dutton (New York, NY), 1993.
First Offense, Dutton (New York, NY), 1994.
California Angel, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.
Trial by Fire, Dutton (New York, NY), 1995.
Abuse of Power, Dutton (New York, NY), 1997.
Buried Evidence, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2000.
Conflict of Interest, Hyperion (New York, NY), 2002.
"CAROLYN SULLIVAN" SERIES
Sullivan's Law, Kensington (New York, NY), 2004.
Sullivan's Justice, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2005.
Sullivan's Evidence, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2006.
Revenge of Innocents, Kensington Books (New York, NY), 2007.
Mitigating Circumstances was optioned for a film by TriStar.
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg has carved a successful niche for herself writing thrillers that feature strong, savvy women who use their wits and courage to save themselves and others. Beginning with her best-selling debut novel, Mitigating Circumstances, Rosenberg has crafted legal thrillers in which her heroines must overcome their vulnerabilities in mostly hostile, mostly male environments. According to a St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers contributor: "Each of [Rosenberg's] protagonists, from the probation caseworker to the judge on the bench, has her secure seeming world shattered by a violation of the fabric of her life." The contributor went on to write: "Rosenberg's books have their crises and conflicts welded into coherent scenarios with meaningful dialogue and gritty action."
Having herself worked in law enforcement in several states, Rosenberg has brought her own experiences to bear on her novels. Most of her heroines have shaky marriages and children to raise, as well as stressful jobs in the legal industry. In Mitigating Circumstances, for instance, the protagonist, Lily Forrester, is a district attorney with a teenage daughter. Laura Sanderstone, in Interest of Justice, is a judge who is also faced with the task of raising an unruly nephew. These and other Rosenberg protagonists face dangerous situations in their lives—both professional and personal—and the stories revolve around their efforts to diffuse the terror. Los Angeles Times Book Review columnist Charles Champlin called Rosenberg "a ring-a-ding story teller whose tricky plotting [is] buttressed by the authenticity of the courtroom and police environments she has experienced." In the Library Journal, reviewer Dawn L. Anderson likewise credited Rosenberg with creating "riveting [stories] with a strong feminine center." The St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers contributor averred: "Some of [Rosenberg's] emotional scenes smolder darkly in the heat of the southern California night."
All of Rosenberg's novels have spent time on the New York Times best-seller list—a Publishers Weekly reviewer noted that the author has cashed in on a "bestselling formula of vigilantism triumphant." However, more recent Rosenberg novels have explored the moral quandaries of vigilantism and whistle-blowing and the sometimes deadly consequences of "doing the right thing." In Abuse of Power, an overworked policewoman named Rachel Simmons finds herself the victim of assault after reporting a fellow officer who brutally abused a suspect. Already conflicted over her decision to tell the truth, Rachel—a widow with young children—must overcome being set up as a drug dealer by her former colleagues. Kimberly B. Marlow wrote in the New York Times Book Review that the events in Abuse of Power are so harrowing that "to return to real life after 326 pages of Rachel's world is to experience true relief." Mary Carroll, a contributor to Booklist, commented that the novel "convincingly demonstrates why a bad cop is even more dangerous than a bad perp." Buried Evidence, the sequel to Mitigating Circumstances, presents a chastened Lily Forrester who has lived for years with the secret of a murder she has committed—and who now faces moral choices when an adversary threatens to expose her.
In an earlier 1995 book, California Angel, Rosenberg departs from her usual crime novels to tell a mysterious tale about Toy Johnson, a schoolteacher who visits an autistic boy in her dreams and helps him to experience a relatively normal life. It turns out that the dreams are real because the boy, Raymond, has drawn pictures of Toy visiting him wearing a California Angels T-shirt. Toy continues to have dreams of visiting children and soon is accused of being a child abuser while learning that she does not have long to live. In an interview with David Finkle in Publishers Weekly, the author explained that the book was written for a young woman named Janelle, who is suffering from methylmalonic aciduria, or MMA, which usually causes death before adulthood.
"I was going to see Janelle—she'd been in the hospital—and I think that I wanted an offering," the author said in the interview. Rosenberg went on to tells Finkle that she came up with the idea of writing a book for Janelle and noted: "It was a compulsion. I didn't think about what I was writing. I hope that doesn't show. I really felt inspired. It's like having a fever and you don't know why. And I never feel that way with my thrillers." A Publishers Weekly contributor called California Angel "a warmhearted story of divine intervention and angelic miracles."
Conflict of Interest, published in 2002, features Joanne Kulman, a middle-aged Southern California prosecuting attorney who is handling a case where some young thugs rob a convenience store. Joanne, however, discovers that one of the boys is developmentally disabled and was coerced into helping in the crime. When the boy goes missing, she suspects that there's more to the whole affair than others think. In the meantime, Joanne finds herself falling for the boy's handsome lawyer. "Without sinking into formula, Rosenberg's legal thrillers make the most of breakneck pacing and high-energy plotting," wrote Mary Frances Wilkens in Booklist. A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that the author's "portrayal of [the young boy] without the intellectual armor to make it in the world is touching."
Rosenberg debuts a new series with Sullivan's Law, which introduces readers to probation officer Carolyn Sullivan. Handling the case of Tim Harrison, a schizophrenic released from prison because of a snafu, Sullivan finds herself trying to prove that Daniel was innocent of murdering Tim Harrison, a high-school football star and son of the former Ventura police chief. In the meantime, Carolyn's personal life is not going so well after her husband abuses her following a bout of drinking and taking drugs. "Rosenberg puts it all together here with another thoroughly believable heroine," wrote Mary Frances Wilkens in Booklist. A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that Sullivan's "life turns out to be just as full of menace, romance, and violence as that of any Rosenberg cop or lawyer."
In Sullivan's Justice, the Southern Californian probation officer finds herself handling a menacing career criminal while her brother's girlfriend is found dead in his swimming pool. Carolyn has been like a parent to Neil but soon begins to wonder about his guilt when another woman in her brother's neighborhood is murdered. "Thriller enthusiasts will relish the intricate plot, accelerating action and novel climax of this gripping ride," wrote a Publishers Weekly contributor. Referring to the story as "more psychological thriller than police procedural," Mary Frances Wilkens also wrote in Booklist that Rosenberg's "ability to generate narrative drive still holds readers."
Sullivan's Evidence was called "a superb tale that provides readers with a deep look inside the California criminal justice system" by J. Schenone, writing on the Lockergnome Web site. This time, Sullivan is trying to track down a violent rapist while a series of murders have been committed. Once again, she is having a relationship with another man, although this time the man may not be like the dangerous ones she has fallen for before. "The well-developed story is dramatic, detailed and full of terrifying suspense," wrote Schenone.
Revenge of Innocents finds Sullivan getting married and enjoying her promotion to division manager in the Ventura County probation office where she works. However, Sullivan's life quickly changes when her best friend from childhood is murdered and she decides to track down the killer. The more she investigates, the more she is surprised by the life of her old friend. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that Rosenberg presents a "frightening portrayal of a dysfunctional family."
Rosenberg once told CA: "All my life, I planned to become an author. After studying English in college, however, I found myself in many different careers. I was a model, a police officer, a probation officer, and a criminal investigator. These experiences served me well, as I write thrillers set in the criminal justice system. I am also the mother of five children. Young people appear many times as characters in my novels.
"At the age of forty-five, I decided to pursue my dream by studying writing at the University of California, Los Angeles. One year later my first novel was purchased during a fierce bidding war for what I considered an enormous sum of money. A few days later, the movie rights were sold to Tri Star Pictures and targeted to be Jonathan Demme's next project. The book was also a main selection of the Literary Guild, and it will be printed in thirteen different countries throughout the world. For a writer, this was a dream come true. For me, it was a miracle. It only got better. Approximately six months later, New American Library/Dutton signed me to a four-book contract.
"Many people ask me how I made it as a novelist in such economically poor times, and how any new writer manages to become published. My belief is that any terrific piece of work will find its way into print, but I also believe that hard work and perseverance are the mainstay of the writer. This is not something you can approach as a hobby. You must be as serious and focused with your writing as you would be if you were a surgeon stitching delicate arteries and nerves. Being able to accept criticism, listen to worthwhile suggestions, and tirelessly rewrite are some of the best attributes. Young or unpublished writers of all ages tend to become seduced by their own writing and stubbornly reject suggestions on how they can improve.
"On the specific side, I packaged myself and my work to be commercially attractive and easily assimilated by agents, the first step toward publishing. I included a chapter-by-chapter outline of my novel, enabling agents to follow the plot line without taking the time to read the entire manuscript, and I enclosed sample chapters, allowing them to review my prose and listen to my voice. In addition, I enclosed a photograph of myself, a biography, and comments other fledgling writers had made about my manuscript.
"If you feel compelled to write, you are probably a writer. This driving need to express yourself and tell stories is the distinctive mark of talent. In today's publishing world, however, if you want to produce more than one publishable work, you must discover a niche. Then, as in any business venture, you must examine the work of others in your selected niche. Listen closely to any and all comments made by rejecting agents or publishers. Even though agents are constantly deluged with unsolicited manuscripts to the point where they sometimes let a talented beginner slip right through their fingers, most of them know their stuff. Do not be discouraged. I was rejected by fifteen literary agents long after my novel had been sold, articles had appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines, and the checks were in the bank. Fasten your seat belts, burn the midnight oil, and listen to your inner voice. Good luck!"
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Armchair Detective, fall, 1993, review of Mitigating Circumstances, p. 43; winter, 1994, review of Interest of Justice, p. 87.
Booklist, April 15, 1994, Emily Melton, review of First Offense, p. 1485; December 15, 1994, Ilene Cooper, review of California Angel, p. 715; November 1, 1995, Ilene Cooper, review of Trial by Fire, p. 435; December 1, 1996, Mary Carroll, review of Abuse of Power, p. 621; July, 2000, Mary Carroll, review of Buried Evidence, p. 1976; December 15, 2001, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Conflict of Interest, p. 684; March 1, 2004, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Sullivan's Law, p. 1102; March 1, 2005, Mary Frances Wilkens, review of Sullivan's Justice, p. 1103; March 15, 2007, David Pitt, review of Revenge of Innocents, p. 30.
Entertainment Weekly, March 22, 1996, Gene Lyons, review of Trial by Fire, p. 67.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1994, review of First Offense, p. 658; November 15, 1994, review of California Angel, p. 1492; October 15, 1995, review of Trial by Fire, p. 1453; December 1, 2001, review of Conflict of Interest, p. 1642; March 15, 2004, review of Sullivan's Law, p. 248.
Law Institute Journal, August, 1995, Kate Bell, review of California Angel, p. 816.
Library Journal, May 15, 1994, Jane S. Bakerman, review of First Offense, p. 101; December, 1994, Heather Blenkinsopp, review of California Angel, p. 134; December, 1995, Dawn L. Anderson, review of Trial by Fire, p. 159.
Los Angeles Magazine, December, 1992, Michael Singer, "Nancy Taylor Rosenberg," p. 30.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, October 10, 1993, Charles Champlin, review of Interest of Justice, p. 12.
MBR Bookwatch, May, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of Sullivan's Justice.
New York Times Book Review, March 24, 1996, Sarah Ferguson, review of Trial by Fire, April 6, 1997, Kimberly B. Marlowe, review of Abuse of Power.
People, May 1, 1995, Kim Hubbard, "Crime Break: Writer Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Leaves Violence behind to Tell the Story of a Desperately Ill Woman," p. 59.
Publishers Weekly, May 30, 1994, review of First Offense, p. 34; November 28, 1994, review of California Angel, p. 42; January 16, 1995, David Finkle, "Nancy Taylor Rosenberg: ‘I Really Felt Inspired,’" p. 433; June 19, 1995, review of FirstOffense, p. 56; November 6, 1995, review of California Angel, p. 89; November 13, 1995, review of Trial by Fire, p. 48; August 26, 1996, review of Trial by Fire, p. 93; December 24, 2001, review of Conflict of Interest, p. 42; December 9, 2002, John F. Baker, "Rosenberg Reunited at Kensington," p. 12; March 15, 2004, review of Sullivan's Law, p. 52; April 11, 2005, review of Sullivan's Justice, p. 34; March 12, 2007, review of Revenge of Innocents, p. 38.
Reviewer's Bookwatch, October, 2004, Gary Roen, review of Sullivan's Law.
Tribune Books, July 17, 1994, review of First Offense, p. 7; December 17, 1995, review of Trial by Fire, p. 6.
Writer's Digest, July, 1994, Andrea Carlisle and Julia J. Trinler, "Writing Stories from Life," p. 30.
Lockergnome,http://www.lockergnome.com/ (March 7, 2007), J. Schenone, review of First Offense; (March 9, 2007), J. Schenone, review of Sullivan's Evidence.
Mystery Reader,http://www.themysteryreader.com/ (November 19, 2007), Andy Plonka, reviews of Revenge of Innocents, Conflict of Interest, and Sullivan's Law.
Nancy Taylor Rosenberg Home Page,http://www.nancytrosenberg.com (November 19, 2007).