Educated in both France and New York, Danielle Steel began publishing in 1981 after a successful career in public relations and advertising. Her ensuing string of bestsellers earned her a mention in the "Guiness Book of World Records" for the 390 consecutive weeks during which at least one of her books could be found on the New York Times Bestseller List. Steel writes mostly contemporary romances with recurring themes of family, trust, and the search for true love. Steel has been married numerous times and has had a total of nine children. After her son Nick died of a drug overdose, Steel wrote "His Bright Light" (1998), a non-fiction account of his promising life and tragic death. In addition to having served as the National Chairperson for the American Library Association, she has acted as spokesperson for both the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the American Humane Association. Steel spends part of each year at her Napa Valley ranch across the road from Francis Ford Coppola's estate. Her numerous pets have included a Vietnamese potbellied pig called Coco, named after Steel's favorite fashion designer, Coco Chanel.