Danielle Steele's Answered Prayers
Danielle Steel (born Danielle Fernandes Schuelein-Steel on August 14, 1947 in New York City, New York) is one of the best-selling authors in the history of the United States. Best known for her romance novels, as of 2005, Steel has sold more than 530 million copies of her books. One or more of her novels have been on the New York Times bestseller list for over 390 consecutive weeks and twenty-one of them have been adapted for television. Steel started writing stories as a child, and by her late teens had begun writing poetry. A graduate of the Lycée Français de New York, class of 1965, she went on to study at New York University and in Europe. At age nineteen she completed her first novel and was first published after years of frustration in 1973.
In addition to her novels for adults, Steel has written the "Max and Martha" series of books for young readers. She has also written the "Freddie" books, four of them, about real-life situations in children's lives, like a visit to the doctor and the first night away from home. Steel has published a book of poetry and has also written two nonfiction books, Having a Baby, and His Bright Light, the latter about the life and death of her son Nicholas Traina. As a result of her own dysfunctional family, Steel maintains a strong interest in the well-being of children, and has raised nine of her own. She has been married five times, and is currently single. Her husbands to date are Claude-Eric Lazard, Danny Zugelder, William Toth, John Traina, and Tom Perkins. She was first married at age eighteen and had one daughter. This was followed by a brief second marriage to a convicted rapist and she soon found herself pregnant out of wedlock with her second child by the heroin addicted William Toth. She married him shortly before giving birth to their son whom she named Nicholas, but they divorced soon after. She married for the fourth time to John Traina, who already had two sons of his own. Traina subsequently adopted Nick and gave him his family name. With John Traina, Steel gave birth to four daughters and a son, but that marriage also ended in divorce. Her fifth marriage to the Silicon Valley financier Tom Perkins lasted less than two years, ending in 1999.
For her lifetime contribution to world culture, in 2002 the French government decorated Danielle Steel as a "Chevalier" of the distinguished Order of Arts and Letters. Danielle Steel has a home in Pacific Heights, San Francisco, California and in 2003 opened an art gallery in the city to exhibit the paintings and sculptures of emerging artists. She also maintains a residence in France where she spends several months of each year. She is of German Jewish and Portuguese heritage.