Author Snapshot: D.E.Stevenson
As we know authors wax and wane in popularity. Books that eager readers once grabbed off the shelves now forlornly gather dust, or go out of print or end up in the free bin. That’s why it’s exciting when an author can rekindle interest and prove she still holds staying power forty years after her death and last book was published. The author? D.E. Stevenson. Her devotees are known as “Dessies.”
- Dorothy Emily Stevenson was a related to THE Robert Louis Stevenson.
- Educated by a governess and denied college because her father didn’t want an educated woman in the family.
- She published nearly fifty books in her career.
- At the height of her career, her books sold in the millions internationally.
- A granddaughter discovered a couple of manuscripts in the attic in 2011 and they were immediately snapped up and published.
- Being Scottish, most of her plots center around Scotland and England, with WWI and WWII’s affect on its people often being a main theme.
- Her books gave clear insights into the lives of those who called the countryside their home.
- Adept at characterization, her books often overflowed and intermingled with one another.
- Died in 1973, yet beginning in 2009, her books are slowing being reissued.
A snippet from a BBC article
Members of Stevenson’s family are amazed by her enduring popularity. Her daughter, Rosemary Swallow, remembers how her mother worked.
“She would sit down on the sofa, put her legs up and light a cigarette,” she said.
“She had a special writing board, a wooden board covered in green baize and she would just carry on writing whatever was going on around her.
“She was very, very good at character writing. There’s no rude sex or anything like that, just a good yarn with a beginning, a middle and an end.”
On a personal note:
I discovered her books about twenty years ago when working at a public library. A friend and co-worker knew I preferred “gentle” reads and suggested Stevenson. I read everything the library owned, and even ventured into the scary overflow storage basement to retrieve forgotten copies.
Currently I’m on a mission to read all her titles. The writing is solid, with its intriguing plots involving mysteries, light romance, and brilliant characterization. When I’m feeling a bit lost due to stress from a long week, I find myself again by reading a Stevenson novel.