Danielle Steel (b. Danielle Fernandes Dominique Schuelein-Steel August 14, 1947) is an American writer and novelist. She is currently the bestselling author in the world, and the fourth bestselling author of all time. Steel has sold a total of over 800 million copies of her books.
Steel is the only child of John Schulein-Steel and Norma da Camara Stone dos Reis. Steel spent most of her early childhood living in France. When her parents divorced, Steel moved to New York City with her father. Steel began writing stories as a young girl, and by her teens she started writing poetry.
Steel’s first bestselling novel, The Promise, was released in 1978. Since then, she’s written 57 bestsellers. Recent bestsellers include Big Girl, Family Ties, Legacy, Happy Birthday, Hotel Velodrome and 44 Charles Street.
Danielle Steel has written several non-fiction works. Her most popular non-fiction title was His Bright Life, the story of her son Nicholas Traina. Nicholas Traina suffered from bipolar disorder, and committed suicide in 1997. Steel used the book proceeds to develop the Nick Traina Foundation, which funds organizations that specialize in treating mental health disorders.
Steel has also formed a charity for the homeless and has received numerous awards for her support of abused children. She has raised nine children.
As an avid art collector, Steel once owned and curated an art gallery dedicated to contemporary artists. She now serves as a guest curator for a San Francisco art gallery.
At the age of 18, Danielle Steel married banker Claude-Eric Lazard. While attending New York University, she began writing her first manuscript. Steel would graduate from the Lycée Français de New York in 1963. She also attended Parsons School of Design briefly, where she studied fashion design and literature design. Steel later moved to San Francisco, where she worked as a copywriter for Grey Advertising.
After returning to New York, she secured freelance work with the public relations agency Supergirls. A magazine client encouraged Steel to focus on writing a book.
Danielle Steel produces several books each year, often working on five projects at the same time. All of Steel’s novels have been bestsellers. Her formula is generally consistent, focusing on rich families experiencing a crisis, challenged by dark elements such as fraud, jail, suicide and blackmail.
Steel’s novels often explore the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Steel examines life issues such as death, family crises, illness and strained romantic relationships. Despite mediocre critical reception, Steel has delved into serious topics such as divorce, suicide, war, incest and the Holocaust. According to book critics, Steel’s later heroines have grown to be stronger and more authoritative.
Danielle Steel has published poetry and children’s fiction as well. She wrote a series of children’s books, Max and Martha, and published non-fiction books and articles in numerous magazines. Her book series, Having a Baby, helps young people with life problems, such as the introduction to stepparents and the loss of family members and friends. Steel has written four “Freddie” books that detail real-life events in a young person’s life such as visiting the doctor.
Steel’s novels have been translated into nearly 30 languages. Television movies based on her novels have aired in 22 countries. The 1992 film adaptation of Jewels, a four-hour miniseries starring Anthony Andrews, received two Golden Globe nominations. Other adaptations include Now and Forever, Crossings, Fine Things, Daddy, Danielle Steel’s Heartbeat, A Perfect Stranger, Family Album and The Ring.
To avoid comparisons to her previous work, Danielle Steel does not compose sequels. For the majority of her career, Steel’s books were released with an initial printing of 1 million copies. The decline in book sales has resulted in a slight printing reduction in recent years.