Storm Lake native Janet Dailey, who gained fame by writing romance novels, died this past weekend at the age of 69 at her home in Branson, Missouri. Dailey was born in Storm Lake in 1944 and grew up in Iowa, graduating from high school in Independence. She began her writing career in 1974 while living in Council Bluffs before moving to Branson in 1978.
Dailey was not know for giving a lot of interviews, but talked with a reporter from a Missouri radio station in 1987. She owned a country music theatre and a restaurant — the Wildwood Flower — with her husband and was asked how she found the time for everything. “You make time,” she replied, “I think that’s maybe the key thing. The other things are fun things to do and I’m also fortunate where I get to do them with my husband. It’s one of those cases where we’re in business together — so you work together, but there’s always time to play together.”
Dailey wrote over 155 works including her “Americana” series of 50 novels, one set in each state. Her books sold more than 325 million copies worldwide, with her latest work, “Merry Christmas, Cowboy” published earlier this year. She was asked what made her a good writer. “Curiosity. I think God blessed me with a very fertile imagination and an endless, endless curiosity,” Dailey explained. “I’m one of those people who constantly, constantly has to know why. I probably drove my parents crazy when I was a child growing up, I always like to know they why of things.”
Dailey never expected to become a popular author and business woman too. “I swear that probably the only thing that I dreamed as a child that has happened — there’s probably only two things — number one the writing, because I did dream that I wanted to be a writer. I never dreamt I would become this successful,” Dailey said. “And the other thing I dreamed was to have horses, and now we have the Arabians. The rest — I wouldn’t even have know how to go about it. The rest would never even have occurred to me.”
With all her books, Dailey never wrote about Branson. She said she probably wouldn’t for a simple reason. “I think there is a case where you can be too personally involved where you can’t be objective and you can’t take that step back,” Dailey said. Dailey died in Branson Saturday of complications from a recent aneurysm.
(Thanks to the Missourinet and Monte Schissler of KWIX in Moberly, Missouri for this story)