|In Memory of Nancy Richards-Akers|
Writers aren't what they write.
The death of romance novelist Nancy Richards-Akers at the hands of her husband June 5 once again hammered that point home. Instead of living the happily-ever-after portrayed in her novels, Richards-Akers became the third romance novelist killed by a disturbed husband since 1996.
Writers aren't what their critics imagine them to be.
When a woman is murdered in the sight of her children, as happened to Richards-Akers, casual acquaintances and total strangers develop an agenda. Early media reports of Richards-Akers' death drew heavily on comments by her husband's friends and relatives. Their quotes suggested the murder victim somehow asked for her death by (select up to three): pursuing a career, belittling her husband, leaving her husband, taking up with another man or writing "trashy" books.
Later articles and editorials did much to correct this lop-sided view and restored a little of the dignity the survivors on both sides of the family need to rebuild their lives. The only people who knew what really happened died the night of June 5. But the bottom line is no one deserves to be murdered, and no child deserves to watch one parent kill the other.
Writers write what they want to be.
Like artists in any medium, writers create what they conceive to be beautiful. In her books, Nancy Richards-Akers created a world of strong, caring people whose love builds a safe harbor in a sea of turmoil. By giving form to her desires, Richards-Akers gave her readers hope that love could accomplish miracles.
In a universe of random motion and disinterested disaster, hope changes the odds. A person with hope will strive to better their condition. Maybe that person won't reach his or her goal, but no one stands a chance if they don't try.
Nancy Richards-Akers never reached her goal, but her heroines did. And her readers will.
Jean Marie Ward
Editor's note: We were recently contacted by an individual identified as a source close to the family. That individual has advised us that published accounts of the unfortunate incident are not accurate, because the children did not witness their mother's death.