Authors Being Awesome: Danielle Steel

8 May

Danielle Steel, by the numbers, is incredible. She’s written 72 books, sold between $500 million and $800 milllion dollars of her novels and is now the fourth best-selling author of all time.  Her books are the perfect blend of scandal, romance and drama – I recommend grabbing one off the new book shelf in your local library the next time you get a chance. But that’s not why I’m writing about Steel.

Primarily, Danielle Steel is amazing due to her dedication to an incredibly important cause – the detection and treatment of mental illness.  Steel’s son Nicholas Traina committed suicide in 1997 after a long battle with bipolar disorder.  She  used much of the proceeds from her non-fiction book His Bright Light about Nick’s life, death and illness to fund the Nick Traina Foundation, which funds organizations dedicated to treating mental illness. She’s been recognized over and over for her dedication to the cause – she lobbies in Washington, works with community organizations and donates millions to the cause.

Aside from her good works, it appears that many of Steel’s passionate and illicit romances are inspired by her own personal life. The novel’s that launched Steel’s career, Passion’s Promise and Now and Forever, were inspired by her affair and marriage to a prison inmate. And yes, you hear that correctly.

Steel was working as a journalist when she visited a local prison on assignment to interview inmate Danny Zugelder. They fell in love (despite the fact Steel was married) and upon his release from prison, they moved in together.  Shortly after his release, Zugelder was charged with rape and assault and sent back to prison.  They marrried in the prison canteen while he served his second jail term.  They ultimately divorced, and Steel went on to marry three more times.

Steel, a fixture in high society, still makes forbidden romance one of the central themes of her fabulous novels.  So, Steel has mined her own personal life to fuel her scandalous novels. But more importantly, she’s dedicated her life to advancing an personal cause using all of her resources – time, money and writing skills – making her incredibly awesome.


One Response to “Authors Being Awesome: Danielle Steel”


  1. The author I swore off | because this girl loves books… - August 7, 2012

    […] simply isn’t my preference of story. Fast forward several years and on my blog reader pops up this post about Danielle Steel and her work she does and the foundation she started after her son committed suicide in 1997 after […]

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