Thacker, Shelly 1963-
THACKER, Shelly 1963-
Born August 4, 1963, in Livonia, MI; married Mark Meinhardt. Education: Albion College, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1985; attended Université de Grenoble, France, 1984. Hobbies and other interests: "Quilting, knitting, collecting antiques."
Crittenton Hospital, Rochester, MI, public relations assistant, 1985-86; freelance writer, 1986—.
Romance Writers of America/Midwest Fiction Writers, Novelists, Inc., Phi Beta Kappa.
Volunteer Service Award, Romance Writers of America, 1992, for outstanding service; Outstanding hero, Romantic Times KISS Award winner, for Silver and Sapphires, Forever His, A Stranger's Kiss, Hearts Run Wild, and His Forbidden Touch; National Readers Choice Award, 1993, for Forever His; One of the best romances of the year, Detroit Free Press, for Forever His and A Stranger's Kiss; National Best-Seller for Hearts Run Wild, His Forbidden Touch, and Timeless; Top pick, Romantic Times, 2000, for Into the Sunset.
Falcon on the Wind, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1991.
Midnight Raider, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Silver and Sapphires, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1993.
Forever His, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1993.
A Stranger's Kiss, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Hearts Run Wild, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1996.
His Forbidden Touch, Avon Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Timeless, Dell (New York, NY), 1998.
Into the Sunset, Dell (New York, NY), 1999.
Contributor to periodicals, including Country Living, Entrepreneur, Writers Digest, American Bookseller, and Romance Writer's Report.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Sanctuary Ridge, a contemporary romance novel set in Alaska, involving a female mountain climber who must take refuge with a mysterious recluse after a horrible snowstorm.
Shelly Thacker describes herself as a "born writer" in her profile published in Metropolitan Woman, recalling her youthful authorship of poetry, comic strips, short stories, journalism, fiction, and playwriting. After college, Thacker briefly worked in public relations before turning to a career as a freelance journalist and writer of historical romances. Thacker's books have become so successful that her publisher assigned her a publicist, something the experienced self-promoter finds ironic, "That's like Julia Child hiring a cook," she quipped to Metropolitan Woman. Thacker's work has been compared to that of popular romance novelists Elizabeth Stewart and Johanna Lindsey.
Thacker feels strongly that romance is a legitimate genre that deserves more respect than it receives. As she told M.B. Dillon of the Plymouth Observer: "The romance genre and romance writers endure because our books celebrate life, celebrate optimism for lasting relationships, and celebrate the theme that ordinary people can win against extraordinary odds." Thacker added the genre and its writers will "outgrow the prejudice and criticism of the literary establishment, just as mystery writers outgrew the criticism they suffered in the 1930s and 1940s, and science fiction writers outgrew the criticism they suffered in the 1950s and 1960s."
More than anything, Thacker credits hard work with her success in her chosen field. She works every weekday from nine in the morning to five in the evening, taking an hour for lunch; but as deadlines approach, she often adds weekends and nights to her schedule. "I've known since I was a kid that I wanted to be a novelist," the author told Victoria Diaz of the Plymouth Observer. "But I've come to realize that there's no magic book fairy who's going to leave a completed manuscript under your pillow some night. A few years ago, I finally acknowledged that I was going to have to be the one to make it happen. I was going to have to apply seat of the pants to seat of the chair—and just do it."
According to the author's press release, Thacker achieved one of her goals in 1989: she completed her first historical romance novel. This first book, Falcon on the Wind, proved popular with audiences as well as critics. Romantic Times called the work "a compelling, memorable romance," featuring Sir Connor of Glenshiel, a Scottish knight who kidnaps French heiress Laurien D'Ambroise on the day she is supposed to marry the evil Count De Villiers. After many unsuccessful attempts to escape, Laurien finds herself increasingly attracted to her captor, and the couple eventually thwart the Count when they expose him as a traitor. Based on the success of the book, Thacker was offered a contract with Avon books.
Thacker's second novel, Midnight Raider, features a spirited heroine, Elizabeth Thornhill, who masquerades as a highwayman in eighteenth-century England. When she meets the Earl of Darkridge, she discovers that he also seeks revenge against her sworn enemy, and the two join forces—and eventually fall in love. Silver and Sapphires followed Midnight Raider. This work is set in eighteenth-century India where the orphaned daughter of a Portuguese merchant sea captain, raised as a Rajput princess, and a member of a clan that has protected nine sacred sapphires for more than a century, finds adventure and intrigue. As a young woman, Ashiana, Thacker's heroine, faces the task of seducing and murdering the English lord who wears a stolen sapphire around his neck; but instead she ends up falling in love with him. Wanda Handley, writing in Affaire de Coeur, called the work, "romance in the truest sense of the word."
In her next work, Thacker combines a modern sensibility with a medieval setting. Forever His centers on Celine Fontaine, a lonely and unhappy fashion model, who falls asleep on New Year's Eve in her Chicago apartment, and wakes up to find herself married to a handsome knight in medieval France. Celine discovers unknown inner resources as she learns to survive in her new situation, and helps the chauvinistic and tyrannical knight to become more sensitive to his own feelings. Marcia Abramson wrote in the Detroit Free Press of Thacker's heroine: "It's no wonder she likes the 1300s; Thacker's version is irresistible, right down to the surprise at the end." A Rendezvous critic declared that Thacker's story encompasses "the ingredients of superb storytelling at its finest."
Set in 1759 England and France, A Stranger's Kiss features scientist Marie Nicole LeBon, who finds herself with amnesia in a French asylum. The man who pretends to be her husband actually is a British agent. Thacker's next book, Hearts Run Wild, takes place in 1741 with the action beginning when thief Samantha Delafield and ex-pirate Nicholas Brogan are jailed and chained together for a train ride to London. Nick manages to roll them off the train, and they experience more adventures while arguing throughout them. Eventually, Nick's pirate past and the reasons for his aloofness are revealed. Cathy Sova of the Romance Reader Web site felt that Samantha was a reactive character, "She's wishy-washy at best, and downright irritating at worst." But a reviewer from Publishers Weekly observed, "Thacker's descriptive phrasing and analysis of characters and events make the fast-paced story come alive—as do the many steamy love scenes."
Thacker takes readers to medieval times in His Forbidden Touch. To stop a longtime war, Princess Ciara's father arranges her marriage to an undesirable prince. The king calls upon Sir Royce Saint-Michel to chauffeur her safely to her intended groom in exchange for returning Royce's former titles and land. The characters trek through snowy mountain passes, and romance develops. A critic for Publishers Weekly called His Forbidden Touch, "A fun and erotic fourteenth-century romp.… Loaded with non stop adventure, Thacker has control from cover to cover."
In Timeless Thacker introduces French widow Avril de Varennes and Hauk Valbrand, who kidnaps her and takes her to his remote, magical island. He forces her to marry him, and slowly they develop a loving relationship. Avril cannot stay on the island because she has a young daughter at home, and Hauk cannot leave his island. Ellen Hestand of the Romance Reader Web site, found the deus ex machina ending disappointing, but overall felt "the mystical elements … add a fascinating dimension to the book, the plot is solid, compelling, and well-crafted, the characters are likeable—even lovable, and the entire book has a wonderful bewitching quality."
Into the Sunset's wild West heroine Annie Sutton is in a predicament when she is forced to be a married man's mistress and becomes pregnant. The married man is accidentally shot, and Annie flees to avoid blame. The man's brother, Lucas McKenna, finds her in Colorado where a spinster cared for her after a miscarriage. When Annie is injured and cannot travel back to Missouri for a trial, Lucas holds her captive in a hotel room. Bev Hill noted in the Romantic Reader Web site that "neither of these characters fully [come] to life," but also mentioned "the best part of the story … are a few scenes where Annie displays some feistiness and points out with devastating accuracy that Lucas is a hypocrite and naïve in his judgment of her."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Affaire De Coeur, February, 1993, Wanda Handley, review of Silver and Sapphires.
Detroit Free Press, November 17, 1993, Marcia Abramson, review of Forever His.
Farmington Observer, October 28, 1993, "Book Beat."
Metropolitan Woman, February, 1994, "Profiles."
Monroe Evening News, February 17, 1992, Elisa Tomaszewski, "Young Author's Romance Novels Travel to Past," pp. 1-2C.
Plymouth Observer, January 16, 1992, M. B. Dillon, "Romance Author's Characters Struggle to Find Heroic Qualities," pp. 1-2; February 6, 1992, Victoria Diaz, "Romance Novelist Gets Down to Business."
Publishers Weekly, March 11, 1996, review of Hearts Run Wild, p. 58; March 17, 1997, review of His Forbidden Touch, p. 80.
Rendezvous, October, 1993, review of Forever His.
Romance Reader,http://www.theromancereader.com/ (September 10, 2003), Bev Hill, review of Into the Sunset; Ellen Hestand, review of Timeless, and Cathy Sova, review of Hearts Run Wild.
Shelly Thacker Web site,http://www.shellythacker.com/ (September 10, 2003), author biography, book award info.
Write Page Web site,http://www.writepage.com/ (September 28, 2003), book summaries.*