What Ever Happened to: Barbara Dawson Smith

This cover is not clearly romance but its kinda neat, unfortunately. It's a letter and a bag of diamonds spilling on a blue background.

Gabrielle writes:

I have a “what ever happened to…” question about author Barbara
Dawson Smith
. Her last book was published in 2006, also the last time her
website was updated.

My own google-fu brings me no recent information. Maybe the readership can HABO?

Gabrielle also had many complimentary things to say about you folks here, saying you all help her feel vindicated in her love of romance (yay!). So – compliments aside, though they’re awesome – anyone know if Ms. Dawson Smith is writing under a new name? And have you read a Barbara Dawson Smith book and enjoyed it? I confess, I haven’t encountered her name before.



General Bitching...

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  1. 1

    Barbara Dawson Smith also writes as Olivia Drake, http://www.oliviadrake.com  She .released a trilogy with St. Martin’s Press:

    - Seducing the Heiress (12/09)
    – Never Trust a Rogue (9/10)
    – Scandal of the Year (3/11)

    I enjoy her writing under both names.

  2. 2
    Ros says:

    It does seem bizarre that there’s no mention of this on the Dawson Smith website.  It’s almost as if she is deliberately trying not to let her old readers find out about her new books.  Weird.

  3. 3

    I’ve read a bunch of Dawson Smiths! I hadn’t realized she’d changed names.

  4. 4
    readerdiane says:

    It does mention the connection on her website & has a link to Dawson Smith on the ABOUT tab.
    An Amazon review of the first book also mentions the connection.

  5. 5
    cecilia says:

    It’s weird that there’s nothing on the Dawson Smith site, though, mentioning the Drake site.

  6. 6

    I recall readers discussing the name change on the RT Message Boards.  I just used Google to search for Barbara Dawson Smith and it referred me to several reviews of Olivia Drake’s recent books.  The reviews also refer to the name change.  I agree that it is annoying Ms. Smith has not kept her website current, but romance readers are resourceful.  Books by both names are worth the effort to find.

  7. 7
    Emily says:

    Even stranger is that Fantastic Fiction doesn’t know that Barbara Dawson Smith and Olivia Drake are one in the same. In general, Fantastic Fiction isn’t 100% but they tend to know a lot of stuff and have mostly accurate information. This was the biggest miss on their site so far. I am wondering if the author has some reason she doesn’t want this known. I really like Fantastic Fiction and I recommend it.
    Yay compliments! I agree being vindicated is a nice feeling.

  8. 8

    I read BDS early in my romance career and liked her books, but I really, really loved A Glimpse of Heaven.

  9. 9
    Gabrielle says:

    You all are awesome!  Now I have a cart full of new discoveries and several missed backlist goodies.  I’m willing to risk some old school Regency for the sake of nostalgia.  Rec’s from her titles point me to some favorite authors, so amazon might have eventually reunited us after all.  I prefer the library and UBS but will give kindle a point for that one.  Thanks again, Kim and SB!

  10. 10
    Clau says:

    Ahhhhh that’s why I found familiar Olivia Drake’s books hahaha!! I do love Barbara Dawson Smith books. If you haven’t read one I highly recommend them, you could start with this series

    1. Romancing the Rogue (2000)
    2. Tempt Me Twice (2001)
    3. With All My Heart (2002)
    4. One Wild Night (2003)
    5. The Wedding Night (2004)

    Great all!!! Thanks for the info.

  11. 11
    trudi geniale says:

    I am happy to hear this too!  I did not realize that she was writing under a new name either and I like all of her books under both names.  What was the big secret?

  12. 12
    Rose D. says:

    Why do so many authors write under various names?

  13. 13
    kkw says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read and enjoyed Olivia Drake, so this is exciting. I find the pseudonyms difficult to keep up with, and while I am theoretically resourceful enough to track info like this down, I’m much more likely to take the out of sight out of mind approach.

    I think that authors sometimes use different names so as not to saturate the market. Apparently if you’re churning out 5 books a year, for every one of us who is thrilled and wants to be sure we’ve read all of them, there are another couple who give up trying to keep up, and just consider the name played out or something.

    I’ve also heard it posited that it has to do with exploring new styles without turning off loyal fans who want to be able to rely on what they’ve come to like. So if you got big writing regencies with only a kiss at the end, and you want to keep doing that, you might use a different name for your super-sexy paranormal series.

  14. 14
    SusanL says:

    So if you got big writing regencies with only a kiss at the end, and you want to keep doing that, you might use a different name for your super-sexy paranormal series.

    An advantage to using pennames is letting readers know what/who they are getting.  People who love Nora Roberts, but don’t like action packed futuristic stories know to avoid J. D. Robb.  I recall many readers complaining when they picked up a new Julie Garwood, only to find romantic suspense. 

    So, why don’t authors always let their readers know when they use a penname?  I’m sure if 10 authors answered that question, we would get 10 different answers.

  15. 15
    Diane says:

    I used to live in the same neighborhood as Barbara Dawson Smith in the 80s – I remember seeing her bookjackets hanging on the wall in frames when her home was open for a house tour.  IIRC, a bookseller friend told me she decided to switch from historicals to contemporaries – perhaps that was the reason for the name change?

  16. 16

    There are several reasons authors have so many names.  In some cases, publishing contracts won’t allow them to use a name at another house.  (This was a common thing with some of the authors, like Jayne Ann Krentz, who have been writing for a while.)  Or a second house asks them to write under a different name from the first house and they agree.

    In others, authors have to start over.  If their “numbers” aren’t good enough, they have to essentially come to a publishing house as a new author.  This is common, too.  And it may be someone who has quite a following, but the sales just aren’t as exciting as the publishing house would like. 

    In others, yes, they want to separate themselves from past work for other reasons (kind of like hiding all the photos of yourself as a teenager :) ), or they want to be able to write something without offending readers of other books of theirs (say you were writing erotica and traditional Regencies, for example), or they use it as a signal about different styles. 

    I don’t know what Olivia Drake’s reasons might be.

  17. 17
    Cakes says:

    Interestingly, on Barnes and Noble if you look up Olivia Drake, BDS titles come up as well.

  18. 18

    Oh, my.  I really didn’t mean to be mysterious.  Fact is, I’m just a tad lazy in regard to updating the old website!  I’ll have to do something about that—after I turn in my overdue manuscript, of course. 

    Now to the name change.  I’d always regretted using my real name because for one thing, it’s just too long on a book cover and it’s too cumbersome when autographing dozens of books at a signing.  Then when I started to receive letters from prisoners in “Cellblock C” I knew it was time to switch over to a pseudonym.  When I started writing back in the ‘80’s, there was no internet.  Now, however, it has become ridiculously easy to track down a person.  Maybe it’s my writer’s imagination, but I didn’t want to risk being stalked by an ex-con sometime in the future. 

    Hence, Olivia Drake was born … short & sweet, easy to sign, and anonymous.  My fourth book under the new name will be out in June 2012.  It’s the start of a new series that’s my take on the Cinderella story – and sorry, I’m going to be mysterious again and tell you no more! :-)

  19. 19
    willaful says:

    Well, I’m glad to know about this. Have enjoyed many of the BDS books and will look for the new OD ones.

  20. 20
    Susan says:

    Amazon has the Olivia Drake books listed under both names, ie, Scandal of the Year by Olivia Drake and Barbara Dawson Smith, so they come up easily in a search.

    It would be nice if more of the BDS titles were available as ebooks.

    And it’s great that the author herself took the time to check in.  (Too bad about the thug mail!)

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