Anne Weale

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The House On Flamingo Cay by Anne Weale

Biography

Anne Weale's writing career began in 1955. She authored nearly 90 novels, published primarily by Harlequin and Mills & Boon, but also wrote single title romance. Anne Weale, whose real name was Jay Blakeney, passed away on October 24, 2007.

Blakeney/Weale was a trained journalist who retired from reporting when her fiction income -- a combination of amounts earned as a Mills & Boon author and writing for magazines such as Woman's Illustrated, which serialized the work of authors -- exceed 1,000 pounds a year (Note 2). The author, who sold her first work to the publisher in 1955 at the age of 24, was a full-time fiction writer before she was thirty.

Her last novel, published in 2002 was The Man From Madrid. Weale was also a founding member of the The Romantic Novelists' Association. Weale continued to innovate even in the age of the Internet. She wrote a regular website review column for The Bookseller from 1998 to 2004, a UK publication, before starting her own blog Bookworm on the Net. Her final post is an apology for the lack of posts due to technology problems. She was working on her autobiography 88 Heroes...1 Mr. Right at the time of her death.

Writing Career

Weale, built on the legacy of authors such as Rosalind Brett (Lilian Warren), who emphasized intense sexual tension in her work. Her first book, Winter Is Past, was a story that notably captures the passion felt by the characters while never slipping into overtly sexual writing. Although Blakeney/Weale believed her writing was tame compared to younger authors, she actually maintained her position as an author who pushed the boundaries of sexuality in her work throughout her Mills & Boon career. In fact, the author treated readers to what is believed to be the first oral sex scene in her M&B title Antigua Kiss, published in 1982. Weale also wrote a masturbation scene in her novel Ecstasy, published in 1983. (Note 1)

The author was well-known for her strong settings, information she often gained from her travels. Her blog identifies her location as "mainly Europe," although she lived in England. The novels comprising the "Longwarden" series - Flora, All My Worldly Goods and Time & Chance - were among the favorites of Weale.

Many of the editorial policies in place in today's Category titles find their roots in the practices developed by Mills & Boon. For example, the use of proper names, including brand names, was carefully vetted by Joan Bryant. Blakeney/Weale learned firsthand of the dangers of using real names when a co-worker complained to the publisher about the use of his name for one of her characters in her debut novel Winter Is Past. Blakeney/Weale, though pleading innocence, eventually changed the character name and stated publicly that there was no connection between the fictional character and the real man. Interestingly, the man in question was more concerned with being "teased" about appearing in the novel than with the novel's content. (Note 3)

She wrote twenty books for Harlequin Presents, mainly during the 1980s before moving to the Tender line. Writing for the Harlequin Romance imprint, she published 42 novels. Weale also wrote under the name Andrea Blake.

Jane Holland, daughter of Charlotte Lamb, noted that her mother and Weale maintained a prodigious correspondence:

Charlotte Lamb and Anne Weale were both compulsive letter-writers, and after the invention of the fax machine (though before email became popular) they would fax each other sharp, witty, and incredibly detailed multi-page letters on a daily basis. Indeed, it was not unusual for them to send and receive these lengthy faxes several times in a single morning, knocking a topic like romance editing, the latest bestsellers, cover images for a new book, or even some hot publishing gossip back and forth like a couple of top-notch literary tennis players! I'm sure if my mother had lived to see the widespread use of email, their daily correspondence would have taken on new and even more epic proportions!
  • Note 1 - McAleer, Joseph. Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon (Oxford University Press, 1999), 288.
  • Note 2 - ------. Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon (Oxford University Press, 1999), 228.
  • Note 3 - ------. Passion's Fortune: The Story of Mills & Boon (Oxford University Press, 1999), 223.

Books

On The Web

Articles/Interviews/Remembrances