Emma Darcy, Australia’s most successful romance author, was really Wendy Brennan and Frank Brennan, a popular husband-and-wife writing team for Harlequin/ Mills & Boon.
A Wife and Husband Duo
Emma Darcy began her career as the duo of Wendy and Frank Brennan, a husband-and-wife writing team from Australia.
Wendy was born in 1940 in Dorrigo, New South Wales, Australia. She had various careers, such as teaching. Wendy was reputed to be the first woman computer programmer in the southern hemisphere.
Later, she met and fell in love with Frank Brennan, a pharmacist and businessman. In 1964, she and Frank were married, and Wendy left work to focus on her family.
Wendy and Frank Brennan’s life journey took as many twists and turns as the characters in their stories. They were both avid readers who decided to put their skills to work.
Wendy had no inclination to write until she read an awful book in the library and decided she could do better. Although she had no writing experience, she decided to try her hand at writing a novel out of curiosity. Brennan persevered and wrote a political thriller that was rejected by Michael Joseph in London.
Undeterred, she looked for an easier genre to start with. This led her to the world of Mills & Boon novels. The books proved trickier to write than she had initially thought. To make sure she understood the basics of this genre, Brennan went through over a hundred Mills & Boon books to take notes on structure, narrative, and phrasing.
After co-writing three books as Emma Darcy with her husband Frank, they sent it off to legendary Mills & Boon editor Jacqui Bianchi who spotted their potential. Bianchi signed up the couple but required them to rewrite their first manuscript before publication.
Together, Frank and Wendy wrote 45 romance novels. As a couple, they were able to add uniquely male and female perspectives to their romances.
Wendy Writing Alone
Brennan was an active advocate for the romance genre. For example, in 1993, for the Emma Darcy pseudonym’s 10th anniversary, Frank and Wendy Brennan created the “Emma Darcy Award Contest” to encourage authors to finish their manuscripts.
Later on, in 1995, Wendy published a guide on writing romance, The Secrets of Successful Romance Writing.
Sydney Morning Herald would eventually write:
“[Darcy] advised aspiring authors to borrow from the literary techniques of Dostoevsky and Hemingway before reminding them: ‘To write great category romance at its best takes a commitment, minus the recognition and applause.'”Sydney Morning Herald
And coming full circle, Brennan finally published some mystery novels. In 2002, her first crime novel, Who Killed Angelique?, won the Ned Kelly Award for “Best First Novel.
Her follow-up Who Killed Bianca? was a finalist for the Ned Kelly Award for “Best Novel” in 2003.
Legacy and Death
Wendy Brennan was the older sister of another Harlequin Present author, Miranda Lee, whom she encouraged to write.
At the end of her career, Emma Darcy was Australia’s best-selling author whose international popularity resulted in over 71 million copies sold worldwide.
Darcy’s last book published with Harlequin was the 2013 Presents, His Most Exquisite Conquest.
Ultimately, Wendy Brennan passed away on December 21, 2020, at the age of 80. She was survived by her 5 grandchildren and 3 adult sons, and her sister, author Miranda Lee.
Lee passed away in 2022.
Emma Darcy Backlist
|BOOK TITLE||CATEGORY||PUB DATE|
|Tangle of Torment||HP-680||Apr-1984|
|Don’t Play Games||HP-823||Oct-1985|
|Song of a Wren||HP-864||Mar-1986|
|Point of Impact||HP-882||May-1986|
|Man in the Park||HP-903||Aug-1986|
|A World Apart||HP-921||Oct-1986|
|The Impossible Woman||HP-935||Dec-1986|
|Woman of Honour||HP-960||Mar-1987|
|Don’t Ask Me Now||HP-984||Jun-1987|
|The Unpredictable Man||HP-999||Aug-1987|
|The Wrong Mirror||HP-1020||Oct-1987|
|The One That Got Away||HP-1033||Dec-1987|
|Strike at the Heart||HP-1048||Feb-1988|
|The Positive Approach||HP-1080||Jun-1988|
|Mistress of Pillatoro||HP-1103||Sep-1988|
|Whirlpool of Passion||HR-2941||Nov-1988|
|A Priceless Love||HP-1177||Jun-1989|
|The Aloha Bride||HP-1199||Sep-1989|
|The Falcon’s Mistress||HP-1232||Jan-1990|
|The Power and the Passion||HP-1272||Jun-1990|
|The Ultimate Choice||HP-1288||Aug-1990|
|Pattern of Deceit||HR-3085||Nov-1990|
|Too Strong to Deny||HP-1335||Feb-1991|
|Bride of Diamonds||HP-1367||Jun-1991|
|The Colour of Desire||HP-1385||Aug-1991|
|Ride the Storm||HP-1401||Oct-1991|
|To Tame a Wild Heart||HP-1455||May-1992|
|The Seduction of Keira||HP-1472||Jul-1992|
|The Velvet Tiger||HP-1496||Oct-1992|
|Heart of the Outback||HP-1519||Jan-1993|
|An Impossible Dream||HP-1536||Mar-1993|
|The Upstairs Lover||HP-1555||May-1993|
|No Risks, No Prizes||HP-1570||Jul-1993|
|A Very Stylish Affair||HP-1579||Aug-1993|
|The Last Grand Passion||HP-1592||Oct-1993|
|The Sheikh’s Revenge||HP-1604||Nov-1993|
|The Shining of Love||HP-1632||Mar-1994|
|A Wedding to Remember||HP-1659||Jun-1994|
|In Need of a Wife||HP-1679||Sep-1994|
|Burning With Passion||HP-1721||Feb-1995|
|The Fatherhood Affair||HP-1745||Jun-1995|
|Climax of Passion||HP-1771||Oct-1995|
|Last Stop Marriage||HP-1785||Jan-1996|
|Mischief and Marriage||HP-1815||Jun-1996|
|The Father of Her Child||HP-1833||Sep-1996|
|Their Wedding Day||HP-1848||Nov-1996|
|Seducing the Enemy||HP-1906||Sep-1997|
|The Secrets Within||Oct-1997|
|The Sheikh’s Seduction||HP-1953||May-1998|
|Inherited: One Nanny||HP-1972||Aug-1998|
|The Marriage Decider||HP-2020||Apr-1999|
|The Secret Mistress||HP-2038||Jul-1999|
|Having Leo’s Child||HP-2050||Sep-1999|
|A Marriage Betrayed||HP-2069||Dec-1999|
|Bride of His Choice||HP-2080||Jan-2000|
|The Cattle King’s Mistress||HP-2110||Jun-2000|
|The Playboy King’s Wife||HP-2116||Jul-2000|
|The Pleasure King’s Bride||HP-2122||Aug-2000|
|Who Killed Angelique?||Jan-2001|
|The Marriage Risk||HP-2157||Feb-2001|
|The Sweetest Revenge||HP-2176||May-2001|
|The Hot-Blooded Groom||HP-2195||Aug-2001|
|Claiming His Mistress||HP-2206||Oct-2001|
|Who Killed Bianca?||Jan-2002|
|Mistress to a Tycoon||Mar-2002|
|The Arranged Marriage||HP-2253||Jun-2002|
|The Bridal Bargain||HP-2259||Jul-2002|
|The Honeymoon Contract||HP-2265||Aug-2002|
|Honey Moon Contract||Jan-2003|
|Who Killed Camilla?||Jan-2003|
|The Blind-Date Bride||HP-2308||Mar-2003|
|The Billionaire Bridegroom||HP-2319||May-2003|
|The Bedroom Surrender||HP-2356||Nov-2003|
|His Boardroom Mistress||HP-2380||Mar-2004|
|The Outback Marriage Ransom||HP-2391||May-2004|
|The Outback Wedding Takeover||HP-2403||Jul-2004|
|The Outback Bridal Rescue||HP-2427||Nov-2004|
|His Bought Mistress||HP-2439||Jan-2005|
|The Italian’s Stolen Bride||HP-2469||Jun-2005|
|The Ramirez Bride||HP-2487||Sep-2005|
|Traded to the Sheikh||HP-2530||Apr-2006|
|The Secret Baby Revenge||HP-2550||Jul-2006|
|The Playboy Boss’s Chosen Bride||HP-2572||Oct-2006|
|The Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage||HP-2627||May-2007|
|The Billionaire’s Captive Bride||HP-2676||Nov-2007|
|Bought For Revenge, Bedded For Pleasure||HP-2731||Jun-2008|
|Ruthlessly Bedded By The Italian Billionaire||HP-2771||Nov-2008|
|Ruthless Billionaire, Forbidden Baby||HP-2844||Aug-2009|
|The Master Player||HP-2878||Dec-2009|
|The Billionaire’s Housekeeper Mistress||HP-2942||Sep-2010|
|Hidden Mistress, Public Wife (aka Wife in Public)||HP-2977||Mar-2011|
|The Costarella Conquest||HP-3017||Oct-2011|
|An Offer She Can’t Refuse||HP-3048||Mar-2012|
|The Incorrigible Playboy||HP-3110||Jan-2013|
|His Most Exquisite Conquest||HP-3153||Jul-2013|
Jimmy Fallon (From Late Night with Jimmy Fallon]:
[Editor’s Note]: I found this Emma Darcy-relevant clip on the Internet Archive. I can see why Jimmy Fallon’s tanking in the ratings:
Now, before we start, I just want you all to know that every book that I’m about to show you is 100% real. These are actual books. you can see them on Amazon. Check them out at your local library. They are real. all right.
Let’s see what’s on my “do not read list.”
The first book is a romance novel. Yeah. This is called “Ruthlessly Bedded by the Italian Billionaire,” by Emma Darcy. [laughter]
That’s not a title. that is describing what happens. [light laughter] It’s giving away the ending. You’re not gonna want to read this. Like three pages in, when the Italian billionaire shows up, you’re like, “I know. you’re gonna be bedded by this dude, and it’s gonna be ruthless.” [light laughter]
Saving you time.Late Night with Jimmy Fallon