Danielle Steel, as you might expect from somebody who sits behind a desk designed to look like a giant stack of her own damn books, is a total character who works 20 hours a day, sleeps in cashmere nightgowns, and is horrified at the notion of bringing a dog into the office.
This has been confirmed by an interview that just ran at Glamour. Steel has published 179 novels, and she is very much still at it, as she wants to tell anybody so gauche as to ask her if she’s retired: “Someone said to me, ‘Are you still writing?’ And I wanted to say, ‘I guess you don’t read The New York Times.’”
Her work process sounds alarmingly almost like that of a particularly relentless blogger, but upscaled dramatically in its accouterments:
She gets to her office—down the hall from her bedroom—by 8:00 A.M., where she can often be found in her cashmere nightgown. In the morning she’ll have one piece of toast and an iced decaf coffee (she gave up full-throated caffeine 25 years ago). As the day wears on, she’ll nibble on miniature bittersweet chocolate bars. “Dead or alive, rain or shine, I get to my desk and I do my work. Sometimes I’ll finish a book in the morning, and by the end of the day, I’ve started another project,” Steel says.
Unsurprisingly, like the fabulously wealthy older American she is, Steel has some rather disapproving thoughts about millennials:
She recounts a conversation with her son and his partner; both are in their twenties. Her son told her that he never works past a certain time at the office, a model of that elusive work-life balance. Steel balks. “They expect to have a nice time,” she says. “And pardon me, but I think your twenties and a good part of your thirties are about working hard so that you have a better quality of life later on. I mean, I never expected that quality of life at 25. I had three jobs at the same time, and after work I wrote. Now it’s a promise that it’s all going to be fun.”
She continued in the same vein about Amazon HQ, whose dog-friendly policies and abundant snacks absolutely APPALLED her:
Once, Steel was invited to visit Amazon headquarters. (Jeff Bezos led the tour himself.) Inside, she was scandalized. The beer! The video games! The free food! All the usual “perks” of a modern workplace. “There’s a flood of bright young people there,” she says. “But they’re telling them, ‘This is a family, this is fun, you can bring your dog to work.’ I mean, how do you focus with a dog there? I left with flea bites on my leg!”
As though Amazon hadn’t committed enough crimes against publishing, they let Danielle Steel get FLEA BITES on her LEG!
Of course, Steel is wrong—office snacks and kegs are a scam to ensure workers never leave their desks, and millennials want work-life balance, not because they’re entitled, but because it’s clear employers have no loyalty, so why run yourself ragged on their behalf? And also, her son is likely the generational exception, rather than the rule, if he’s got the ability to tell a boss to kick rocks.
But it’s just too entertaining to read Danielle Steel being exactly the larger-than-life, designer-shoe-hoarding, relentlessly typing person that you’ve always suspected her of being—in other words, a Judith Krantz character straight out of 1987. Or, for that matter, a Danielle Steel character. It’s magnificent, like a trip to the Pyramids—you knew what you were going to get, and boy, did you get it!