Danielle Steel

A world-renowned author who began life in Paris but later moved to New York. Particularly popular with women readers, Steel continues to produce a prolific amount of work.

Although Danielle Steel was born in New York on 14 August 1947, she spent her formative years living in Paris. She decided to make the journey back to New York after she had finished her education.

One of her first jobs in New York was for the pioneering PR firm, Supergirls Ltd. She was involved in creating PR campaigns and hosting parties for clients.

Her first novel was published in 1973. During a spell working in advertising, Steel started publishing poems in women's magazines.

Her first best seller, 'The Promise', was published in 1978. Since then she has written at a furious pace, and has enjoyed huge success, with 57 bestsellers.

Especially popular with women, she has a loyal following of fans who enjoy the accessibility of her novels, and are hooked by their epic and romantic quality. Often set in exotic locations, the reader follows the protagonists on their voyage of self-discovery. Her stories have also proved popular material for film and television adaptation.

In fact, 21 of her novels have been adapted for TV, with the most successful being 'Jewels' in 1992 as this won two Golden Globe nominations. It was a four-hour miniseries starring Anthony Andrews.

Other adaptations include 'Now and Forever' (1983), 'Crossings' (1986), 'Fine Things' (1990), 'Daddy' (1991), 'Danielle Steel's Heartbeat' (1993), 'A Perfect Stranger' (1994) and 'Family Album' (1994). The most recent adaptation was 'The Ring' with Rupert Penry-Jones in 1996.

She has continued to write poetry, releasing a collection, 'Love: Poems By Danielle Steel', in 1984. She often uses one of her poems as an introduction to a novel.

She has also written a series of books for children, 'Max and Martha', and has published non-fiction books including 'Having a Baby' and numerous articles in magazines. 'Max and Martha' is a series of ten books aimed at helping young people with problems, such as a new stepfather and the loss of a loved one. As well as this, she has written four 'Freddie' novels about real-life events in a child's life such as visiting the doctor.

In terms of non-fiction, her most popular book was 'His Bright Life', which told the story of the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina, which was released in 1998. He had committed suicide in 1997 as a result of bipolar disorder. Steel used the proceeds of this book to establish the Nick Traina Foundation, which she still runs, to fund organisations treating mental health disorders.

Her 84th best selling novel 'Betrayal' was released in hardcover in March 2012, while her 87th book 'Friends Forever' was published in July 2012. Other recent best sellers by Steel include 'Hotel Velodrome', 'Happy Birthday' and '44 Charles Street' from 2011, while 'Legacy', Family Ties' and 'Big Girl' were released in 2010.

In 2009, she published popular tomes 'Southern Lights', 'Matters of the Heart' and 'One Day At A Time'. She has also written the best sellers 'A Good Woman', 'Rogue', 'Honor Thyself' and 'Amazing Grace'.

Away from her writing, she once owned an art gallery dedicated to emerging contemporary artists and now guest curates for an art gallery in San Francisco. As well as the Nichols Traina Foundation, she has established a charity to assist the homeless and has won numerous awards for her work with ill and abused children.

The writer has raised nine children of her own and has been married five times with her most recent partnership being to Silicon Valley financier Tom Perkins between 1997 and 2002.

She continues to write at an incredible pace and her popularity worldwide continues unabated.