Years ago, probably 1993, I attended a romance conference in Atlanta called Moonlight and Magnolias with the fabulous Jennifer Enderlin. I don't think I have ever met a nicer group of authors. Becky Lee Weyrich was there, Sandra Chastain, Cordia Byers, I think Linda Anderson was there, Deborah Martin and others I can't remember.
Even then, writers were excited to be around Jennifer. I remember Haywood Smith, then unpublished but aspiring, was one of the organizers of the conference and had planned a dinner at an incredibly nice restaurant in a historic home, way off the beaten trail, and we got lost trying to find it. Haywood was very concerned, not simply because we were all late, but because she like everyone wanted to impress Jen! I seem to recall our either calling Haywood's very charming husband for directions or perhaps he was driving us. When Haywood's first book got published, I was so pleased for her and meant to write to her, but alas never got around to it.
It was at that conference I first met Harriet Klausner, certainly eccentric (as she would probably say herself) but extremely friendly and interesting to talk to. While Harriet definitely is unwilling to hurt acquaintances by critiquing some of the books that deserve it, her love of books is genuine. Back then, before Amazon, she reviewed for many little-known newsletters and had no recognition at all. The advent of the Internet for someone who really preferred to stay home but wanted to be involved in the industry was a godsend for her. So too was her rise to fame (and well, probably no fortune has resulted). She was very kind to me during my time as an editor at Penguin although I more or less lost touch with her subsequently. While I have no doubt she would read nearly as many books even if there were no outlet available, there is no doubt she enjoys being a player in the industry. As to whether anyone is positively influenced by her reviews, it is hard to say. Certainly, I enjoy seeing what Harriet has to say on a book and whether it replicates my own thoughts. But then everyone knows I am not a typical reader!