Janet Anne Haradon Dailey (born May 21, 1944 in Storm Lake, Iowa) is an American author of numerous romance novels as Janet Dailey (her married name). Her novels have been translated into nineteen languages and have sold over 300 million copies worldwide.
Janet Anne Haradon was born on May 21, 1944 in Storm Lake, Iowa. Dailey always wanted to be a writer and loved books. Her three elder sisters often read to her when she was good. By the age of four, she had her own library card. She graduated in 1962 from Jefferson High School in nearby Independence, Iowa. She attended secretarial firm owned by her future husband, Bill Dailey, who was fifteen years her senior. The two continued to work together, often spending 17 hours a day, seven days a week at work.
In 1974, after asserting yet again that she could write a better romance novel than those she had read, Dailey's husband challenged her to prove it. She sold her first manuscript to Harlequin, becoming their first American author.
American writers had never written for category romances, and Harlequin was unwilling to gamble that readers would embrace the American cheese themes or American settings, and rejected other American authors, such as Nora Roberts, because they "already had their American writer."
Dailey "provide[d]...[the] first look at heroines, heroes and courtships that take place in America, with American sensibilities, assumptions, history, and most of all, settings." She introduced the Western romance, romance novels set in the American West. The Western romance focused on the female, who was often marginalized in traditional Western novels. Because her novels were set in contemporary times, there is little frontier, but the novels recreate that feeling by introducing "physical confrontation of the elements" and focusing on the "primary nature of the pursuit" by a man and woman "unconstrained by any society's expectations of them." Many of the themes in her novels were groundbreaking for the genre. Her heroines, unlike most, lost their virginity. Others fell in love with poor or unattractive heroes.
She wrote a total of 57 novels for Harlequin. Among these novels were 50 in the "Janet Dailey Americana Series," in which every state in the United States was represented. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized her for this achievement of setting a novel in every state. By 1998, her Harlequin novels had sold a combined 80 million copies. Dailey was also one of the early writers for the Silhouette lines, for which she wrote 12 titles.
During her most prolific years, Dailey set a goal of writing 15 pages per day. Her day began at 4 a.m. On good days, she would meet her quota in 8 to 10 hours; other days would require 12 to 14 hours of work. When she met her goal, Dailey would often stop writing, even if she was in the middle of a sentence. The unfinished thoughts provided her an incentive to begin writing again the next day. Some of her early novels for Harlequin took only eight days to write.
In 1979, Dailey became the first romance author to transition from writing category romances to writing single-title romance novels. Her first mass market romance novel, Touch the Wind, reached the New York Times Best Seller List. Her subsequent books have also been New York Times Bestsellers. There are currently over 325 million copies of her books in print, with translations in 19 languages for 98 countries.
Her novel Foxfire Light was made into a movie.
Dailey began offering The Janet Dailey Award in 1993. This $5000 annual award was given to an author whose romance novel best addressed a social issue.
Dailey was sued in 1997 by fellow novelist Nora Roberts, who accused Dailey of copying her work for over seven years. The practice came to light after a reader read Roberts' Sweet Revenge and Dailey's Notorious back-to-back; she noticed several similarities and posted the comparable passages on the internet. Calling the plagiarism "mind rape," Roberts sued Dailey. Dailey acknowledged the theft and blamed it on a psychological disorder. She admitted that both Aspen Gold and Notorious lifted heavily from Roberts's work. Both of those novels were subsequently pulled from print. In April 1998 Dailey settled the case. Although terms were not released, Roberts had previously indicated that any settlement funds should be donated to the Literacy Volunteers of America.
In 2001, Dailey returned to publishing with a four-book deal with Kensington Books. The contract called for two books in the Calder series Dailey has written about a ranching family in Montana, and two books with holiday themes. Kensington expanded their relationship with Dailey in 2002, when she contracted for three more hardcover novels about the Calder family and an additional mass market original novel. At the same time, they purchased the reprint rights to 50 of her previously published romances.