Monday, July 04, 2005

Dammit, Jim, She Got Me!!

Until this last weekend, I was one of possibly only ten people in the entire world who had successfully avoided falling under the thrall cast by the Queen of Romance, Nora Roberts. A while back I read one of her short stories in some anthology, found it ordinary at best but far from the earth-moving experience I'd expected since it was written by La Nora, and pretty much decided all the fuss was just that - fuss.

Too, there was some perverse part of me that intentionally avoided reading any Nora Roberts titles simply because she is so damn prolific. If such a thing is possible, she's almost glutted the romance novel market. I have no facts to back up this claim, but I'd guess that Nora Roberts probably has as many books out there - in sheer number of copies printed - as the entire rest of romance novel writers put together. Clearly she needs my business and my fanship like Paris Hilton needs a little bit more media attention.

Plus there's that whole J.D. Robb alternate personality thing. I know Nora never made a big secret that J.D. Robb was a second name taken when she veered off-subgenre, and I know lots and lots of writers take second and third and fourth names for their titles in different sub-genres. But since Nora is so pervasive - you can't turn a corner without walking into one of her gazillion titles - it just seemed like another sneaky attempt to gain a monopoly on the entire book market. At the rate she's going, every book we see in the bookstores and on Amazon will have been written by Nora under another name.

Funny enough, I discovered that this is exactly the reason she's become J.D. Robb as well as Nora Roberts. Her website explains that because of the quantity of books she releases, she took on another name so she could put out even more. See, I'm not completely paranoid when I mention conspiracy theories.

I say all of this, of course, assuming that Nora is really a very nice woman who works incredibly hard and deserves to be where she is. It's not like she simply has to write down her grocery list and hand it over to her agent to make the New York Times Bestsellers list. Clearly if she didn't have something, something that her fans (in other words, everyone) love, she'd never have gotten as far as she has.

Just, like so many who refuse to go to Disney World on principle, I boycott La Nora because, well, I can. I've resisted her addictive qualities and have the ability to walk away from the rack. I didn't drink the kool-aid or take the blue pill.

But last Friday, in search of an audiobook to take along on a lengthy car trip, I grabbed Naked In Death, the first title in J.D. Robb's In Death series, off the library shelf.


I'm not finished listening to it yet. It's an eleven-hour reading and my car trip clocked in at only eight hours round trip minus time spent talking with the DH instead of listening. So now I'm walking around the house carrying a small boombox because it's the only working cassette player we have in our house.

But I like it. I really am enjoying the story. I like Eve. I like Roarke. I'm interested in the murder mystery. I like the time setting of only sixty or so years into the future. Heck, I even like the actress (Cristine McMurdo-Wallis) who's reading the story because she has a gravelly voice that completely suits the tone.

I'm itching to go buy every single one of the In Death titles on Amazon so I can just bullet through them, one after the other. But I'm holding off until tomorrow, when my UBS is open again, so I can try to get some of them there. It's the least I can do to maintain my self-righteous stance - pay only half of the cover price. I don't think La Nora will have to take out a second mortgage on the yacht if I deprive her of a little In Death income. Besides, I hear she's got another one coming out on July 12th. I think she'll be just fine.

Even though she got me while I wasn't looking, I still plan to stay far, far away from the Nora titles. Except I heard her In Fire trilogy is especially good...


Em said...

I stumbled across your blog...It is really entertaining. I am a journalist turned teacher who is trying to get a literary agent. It is hard but it is my dream, along with having kids, which is one of the main themes of my blog. I am going to put a link to your blog on mine.

haze said...

I've read one, maybe two Nora Roberts books, ever. However, with my first JD Robb book, I was hooked, reading half the series in a month's time. I have read them all, and am awaiting the latest which will be released this month. I still have no particular desire to read Nora Roberts though.

Lynn M said...

Thanks, Em! I really needed that bolster right about now.

Haze, I feel much better hearing that you do like the J.D. Robbs but not so much the Nora Roberts titles. I'm trying hard to convince myself that a writer can have different voices and successes in different genres, so by skipping the Noras I'm not shooting myself in the foot.

I went to the UBS yesterday and snagged three In Death titles. Then headed to the library to pick up Glory In Death. I want to read them in order but I'm determined not to actually purchase any new copies. Aren't I mean?

Fair said...

I recently read my first two Nora Roberts romances (Born in Fire and Born in Ice) and was startled to find that she really does live up to her reputation. That's rare.