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She comes from the sun-kissed Southwest, where she grew up in a sprawling, gracious hacienda. The conversation and the lifestyle were genteel, an intellectual reflection of her educator parents.
She also comes from the gritty Midwest, from a constantly-changing hometown and household where dinner guests were likely to be murderers, drug offenders and parolees. Those guests provided a panorama of real-life characters that jump-started the imagination of a budding author.
She is Nicole Foster and she does not have a split personality. Then again, perhaps she does. Nicole Foster is the pen name of romance writing partners Danette Fertig-Thompson and Annette Chartier-Warren.
Danette and Annette met over a fifteen years ago when both were toiling as journalists for a St. Louis newspaper group. Their backgrounds were so different that a friendship seemed far-fetched, much less a partnership.
Annette grew up in Albuquerque with her horses and interests in European travel, skiing, Southwestern architecture and art. Both her parents were teachers, so it was hardly shocking when Annette enrolled in the University of New Mexico to study English.
When a career move brought her to St. Louis, the outdoors-loving Annette found herself and her two small children imprisoned by the unrelenting Midwestern winters.
She began free-lancing stories for the local newspaper, which was edited by her future partner, Danette Fertig-Thompson. Danette, ironically, was a native of the West also, but moved to Missouri at age 3 when her parole officer father was transferred.
For the next 12 years, her family moved from one small Missouri town to another. The only thing that remained the same was her father’s work and the Runyonesque cast of societal castoffs he often invited into their home.
At 17, Danette began working for the newspaper. After she earned a degree in journalism, her eye and ear for a flamboyant character or line were honed further by years of feature writing.
Hometown profiles were good training for a writer learning her craft, but it hardly compared to the colorful, character-filled, gypsy-like life she had led as a child.
Danette longed to create those complex characters and relocate them to exotic locales, such as those visited by her new correspondent, Annette.
Annette had seen the world: Danette had met enough characters to inspire dozens of novels. Romance novels are principally people and places, so between them Annette and Danette had each category covered and they began writing together.
While continuing to work as journalists, and juggling the daily challenges of maintaining busy households and raising five children between them, Danette and Annette, (thanks to their very understanding and supportive husbands!) managed to build their romance writing career together.
Writing as Danette Chartier and Annette Daniels for Zebra Books, and now as Nicole Foster for Harlequin Historicals, Danette and Annette’s strong, determined heroines and irresistible heroes have yielded worldwide sales with translations into several languages ranging from Italian to Chinese.
In their spare time (hah!) they share gourmet recipes, entertain family and friends from around the globe, complain about the latest exercise tape they’re sharing, plan fantasy get-away vacations that frequently don’t materialize, and carve out precious time to enjoy their husbands and children.
The years have brought them equal rewards in friendship and success. But when these soul sisters get down to the business of writing, their different personalities, backgrounds and experiences melt together to make Nicole Foster twice the novelist she otherwise would be.
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