Finally, a true bodice ripper historical series for us to enjoy! Great news! Bertrice Small’s epic erotic romance, Skye O’Malley, is coming soon to your TV!
Major News About Bertrice Small
Sweet Savage Flame has some exciting breaking news to report! It’s very unusual for an old-school romance blog like ours to divulge or discuss any current events. But today, we are! First Outlander, then Bridgerton, and now: The Late Queen of Erotic Romance’s magnum opus bodice ripper is coming to the screen!
Bertrice Small’s story of Skye O’Malley and her six husbands—and numerous lovers—will be coming to your homes as a major TV series!
Tom Small, son of Bertrice and her husband George, posted a video on Facebook on Sunday, March 19, stating the official news. After five years of trying to find someone he could trust to treat his mother’s intellectual property with respect, all parties involved have come to an agreement.
This news is not just a possibility; it’s a done deal. Small has already signed the papers of a contract to bring the incomparable heroine’s life story to a new audience.
Bodice Ripper Skye O’Malley Series To Air on Apple Plus+
Tom Small stated he signed the rights of the 12 books in the O’Malley family saga over to a trusted source. That source negotiated a deal with ApplePlus + to bring the tale of Skye O’Malley–and her lusty relatives and descendants–to home audiences.
Tom is thankful to all the fans who have been anxious to see this happen. He also thanks ApplePlus+ and (even, LOL) the folks at Penguin, the publishers who had held the rights to her books for years.
Bertrice would undoubtedly be proud and delighted with her son’s endeavors. His determination and diligent efforts to make one of her dearest wishes come true would make any mother proud.
Bertrice Small’s Legacy and the Skye O’Malley Series
Bertrice Small passed away on February 24, 2015. Her husband, George, predeceased her by three years. Tom Small was their only child. Since Bertrice’s death, her son has maintained a Facebook account devoted to keeping the memory of his mother and her books alive.
Bertrice Small, nee Williams, was born in New York City in 1937 and lived most of her life on Long Island, in the town of Southold. Since her first book, 1978’s The Kadin, Small consistently produced erotic romances starring impossibly beautiful heroines who experienced multiple romantic adventures.
Small was a pioneer not only in the romance genre but also in erotic romance. Her novels were far more sexual than the average book of the early days of the modern romance era. However, they were not anywhere near as explicit as modern erotic romances.
Her historical romance romps were heavy on purple prose. That was the style of the era, after all. Small knew how to master the language, and master it she did!
She wrote 61 books and sold millions worldwide.
Past Attempts to Produce Bodice Ripper Romance Movies Failed
Many years ago, Bertrice Small had been in talks with several people in the film and television industries to adapt her books to the screen. As these talks always came to nothing, Small was convinced there was no future for her books as shows or movies.
“David Bowie was the secret producer and a young Catherine Zeta Jones was being bandied around to Skye, but that all fell through. And it kind of discouraged my mom. And when I’d bring it up in the future ‘Why don’t we try again? You should try again.’
“‘Nah Hollywood doesn’t want it that.’ I could tell she was dejected.”–Tom Small
Tom encouraged her to try again, but the process disillusioned Small. The industry didn’t want anything to do with her kind of novels, and she didn’t have the stomach to try again.
We’ve previously mentioned that in the early 1980s, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss had been in talks with several Hollywood producers to have Shanna—arguably her finest book—into a film. Shanna sold 3 million copies and spent almost a year on The NY Times bestseller list.
Watch Tom Small’s Announcement: Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley Is Coming to Apple Plus+!
Ultimately, Woodiwiss was told that romantic epic films weren’t profitable enough to justify their existence. Audiences wanted to see historical sagas about wars and battles, not love stories.
If the most prominent romance writer of her day couldn’t convince Hollywood, how would others fare? It seemed as if the romance genre was to be shut out of the industry altogether.
That wasn’t necessarily the case, however, as television channels like CBS and Cinemax would adapt romances into movies or even miniseries throughout the years. Admittedly, these were typically small-scale and low-budget flicks that catered to a niche audience.
The Modern Era of Television Series Loves Romance Novels
In the 21st century, the successes of the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey movies proved that adaptations indeed could be profitable. As television supplanted cinema as the hot spot for viewing entertainment, networks and production companies came looking for romance novels to transform into series.
Sweet Savage Flame is especially excited by the news. We are thrilled that romance novels are getting the love and recognition from the entertainment industry they have always deserved.
However, there has been a noticeable absence of bodice rippers. These books did much heavy lifting for the romance genre in its early days. Many outsiders have viewed our beloved ‘rippers with disdain. (And some insiders, too!)
It’s been a long time coming, but we’re glad to hear this news and pass it on to you. Finally, after years of being ignored, romance novels are getting their well-deserved mainstream appreciation!
As for news on Small’s final and unpublished book, Serena, Tom Small is still in the works to have it released. When that happens, we will let you know.