Jennifer Wilde, Beatrice Parker, and Edwina Marlow were all one woman–or rather, one man. His real name was Thomas Elmer Huff or Tom Huff.
Thomas Elmer Huff (January 8, 1938 – January 16, 1990)
Mr. Jennifer Wilde
Thomas Elmer Huff was best known for the thick, histoircal romances he wrote using the pseudonym Jennifer Wilde.
(Incidentally, that was the best nom de plume in romance besides Christina Savage–who was also a man. Actually two: Frank Schaeffer & Kerry Newcomb.)
Thomas Elmer Huff
Huff was born on January 8, 1938 in Tarrant, Texas, USA. He graduated from Poly High School and from Texas Wesleyan College in 1960.
For several years, he was a popular English teacher at R.L. Paschal High School, remembered as a spinner of first-person yarns and a resolutely independent soul.
“He got peeved at the principal one day,” recalls history teacher Zelma Rhodes, “and he up and quit.”
Single, he lived quietly in a plain, two-story brick home with his mother, Beatrice, in Fort Worth, Texas. To preserved his identity, he made himself as elusive and reclusive as possible during years.
Career As a Romance Writer
Long a dabbler at writing, Tom researched laboriously and wrote and rewrites with his typewriter in a tidy workroom. Published since 1968, during the first nine years he wrote under the female pseudonyms Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, T. E. Huff, and Katherine St. Clair.
“You just work like hell and maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll make it,” he said “I had to turn out three gothics a year to make a living.”
He also explained the use of female identities: “There’s a certain mystique about this stuff, you see,” he says earnestly “If those women who buy my books ever get the idea that a man has written them, it could put a block in their minds.”
In 1976, when he began writing historical romance novels, he created his most famous female pseudonym Jennifer Wilde. His first release, Love’s Tender Fury, had 41 printings in its first five years and sold more than 2.5 million copies, and his second historical romance, Dare to Love, spent 11 weeks on the New York Times paperback bestseller list.
His historical romances were noted for being written in first-person, from the heroine’s perspective. Many of his books also featured multiple male protagonists, and “the man who first captures the heroine’s heart isn’t always the one who ends up with it.”
The “Real” Tom E. Huff
Curiously, about his romance novels he said “aren’t the real Tom E. Huff. I don’t take the genre seriously-but I take my work seriously. My goal has been to reach a point where I can write what I want to. The Jennifer Wilde thing will be over with,” he sighs, adding as if in pain, “I don’t relate to her at all.”
In 1980, he wrote a novel as Tom E. Huff, but he continued writing as Jennifer Wilde, and his previous novels were reedited in many cases under this pseudonym.
Huff earned a Career Achievement Award in 1987-1988 from Romantic Times. He died suddenly of a massive heart failure on January 16, 1990 in Fort Worth, where he was buried.
(SOURCE: Open Library)
Sweet Savage Flame on Jennifer Wilde/Thomas Elmer Huff
Historical Romance Review: Angel in Scarlet ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 Stars)