Bethany Campbell has been lucky enough to win a variety of honors in romance writing, including three RITA's, a Maggie, and several Romantic Times Critic's Choice Awards. She keeps them all on a shelf with two statues of cartoon characters-one of Alfred E. Newman and one of Little Lulu.
Campbell says, "Alfred's giving that famous gap-toothed grin and standing on a base with his motto: What? Me Worry? Lulu is just smiling."
Why Newman and Lulu? "Well, Alfred's there to put things in perspective. As for Lulu-I don't want to go too serious here, because Lulu was a very, very funny comic book series, just utterly delightful-but she was also a great heroine.
"Lulu wasn't a brat, and she was perpetually getting stereotyped as "only a girl," but she always broke the bonds of stereotyping-I loved it that she could always take on the whole Boys' Club-Tubby, Eddy, Iggy, and Willy-and beat them with smarts and style, rather than violence.
"The stories were always good, excellent plots and dialogue- they hold up after all these years. I've got a collection of them, and they really are still top notch."
Cartoon art is, obviously, one of Campbell's passions, but she doesn't want to be pegged as a "cartoonist" writer. Another of her enthusiasms is Shakespeare. Every year she and her husband go to the Stratford, Ontario, Shakespeare Festival, a tradition that eventually resulted in their son becoming a professor of Shakespeare.
PS-Love You Madly is Campbell's forty-second book. Its heroine is based loosely on Campbell's long-time friend, Carol S., an accomplished artist in fabrics and a very funny woman with a gift for whimsy.
She has published not only Harlequin Superromances, but traditional Romances, Temptations, Intrigues, and contributed five books to the popular Crystal Creek series. She has also written four books of romantic suspense for Bantam Books.
She and her husband, Dan, live in the Arkansas Ozarks with their collection of cartoon art. Their favorite pieces are parodies of Shakespeare from Mad Magazine and National Lampoon.
"Come up sometime and see my etchings," teases Campbell. "I mean it."
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