THE HISTORY OF THE SANTA BARBARA WRITERS CONFERENCE — 1981

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An excerpt from the Santa Barbara Writers Conference Scrapbook by Armando Nieto, Mary Conrad, and Matt Pallamary:

Judith Kranz joined the list of featured speakers in 1981, and talked about writing Scruples and Princess Daisy. Saying that she was too busy at work on a new-not-to-be-revealed-novel to prepare a speech, she entertained the afternoon audience with tips on fashion as well as how she managed to pen two successful books, and how she handled the sex scenes.

Ms. Kranz reported that she had not realized how erotic the sex scenes in Scruples appeared to the American public when she started her book tour, so she decided that there would be no four letter words in Princess Daisy.

“And I think those sex scenes were better than Scruples,” she stated. “Writers have to feel comfortable with the words, just as readers do.”

One of the more fascinating speakers that year was Barbara Goldsmith, who spent five years researching her book, Little Gloria…. Happy at Last. Ms. Goldsmith was already an accomplished writer and editor when she came across a reference in research for her Straw Man book project to the proceedings of Vanderbilt vs. Vanderbilt.

With persistence she was able to access previously sealed court documents including 80,000 pages of testimony, details, and conversations related to the case. The Politics of 1934 were the historic background for the court case, and for her book, Little Gloria… Happy at Last.

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