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Sandra Brown: Biography & Books

Instructor: Susan Nagelsen

Susan has directed the writing program in undergraduate colleges, taught in the writing and English departments, and criminal justice departments.

Sandra Brown is a prolific writer who has had more than 60 books on the New York Times bestsellers list. She has been honored with many awards for her outstanding works of fiction.

Who is She?

Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown

Sandra Brown was born in Waco, Texas, and grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. She was an English major at Texas Christian University, but she didn't graduate. She left school to marry Michael Brown, a former television news anchor who was making award-winning documentaries.

Brown got her start in television reporting the weather in Tyler, Texas, but soon was on to bigger things. She became a reporter in the Dallas area for the station's version of PM Magazine.

Brown began her writing career on a dare from her husband, and she hasn't stopped. She has published thriller and romance novels under several pen names, including Rachel Ryan (a combination of her children's first names), Laura Jordan, and Erin St. Claire.

Literary Accomplishments

Brown's writing career took off when her first book, Love's Encore, was published in 1981 under the name Rachel Ryan. Once she was successful as a romance novelist, she began to write using her own name, and since then, she has published over 70 books. Almost 80 million copies of her books are in print and can be read in 34 languages.

Brown has been honored many times for her literary accomplishments. She was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by Texas Christian University. In 2007, she was given the Texas Medal of Arts Award for Literature and the Romance Writers of America's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, she was recognized by the International Thriller Writer's Association with its top award, The Thriller Master. She also has served as the president of the Mystery Writers of America.

Additionally, Brown has made it a point to give back. In 2011, she and four other authors traveled with a USO tour to Afghanistan to meet service men and women. That tour gave her the idea for her book Deadline. She and her husband also started a scholarship program at TCU to help aspiring students of fiction.

Books Worth Noting

In 1988, Brown made the move from pure romance to romance thrillers; Slow Heat in Heaven is considered her first novel in this genre.

A reissue of her 1989 book A Whole New Light hit the shelves in 1992, and it reminded readers of what there is to love about Brown's romance novels. As a writer, she knows how to create characters who are likable, and she understands what it means to fall in love.

In 1994, her book French Silk was adapted for a television movie. Actress Susan Lucci, known for the soap opera All My Children, and Shari Belafonte played the leading roles.

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