Joan Sweeney, Former 'LAT' Editor and Romance Novelist, Dies at 68

By: (AP) Joan Sweeney, a former editor at the Los Angeles Times who later wrote Regency romance novels under the pseudonym Marlene Suson, has died. She was 68.

Sweeney, who died Saturday at her home in Manhattan Beach, had long suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, the Times reported.

She turned out 17 novels over the years for Avon and Fawcett, selling as many as 100,000 copies each. Set in the stratified society of early 19th century England, her books were especially popular in Britain and known for their meticulously researched descriptions of the era's clothing, customs, and mores.

She was often as amused as others by the racy covers of such works as "Devil's Bargain," "Midnight Bride," and "The Lily and the Hawk."

"I chose Regency romances," she once said, "because I could have fun with it."

Born in Montana and educated at the University of Washington, Sweeney worked for magazines in New York City as well as United Press International in Los Angeles before joining the Times in 1971. She covered breaking news and later served as assistant metropolitan editor in charge of weekend coverage.

After helping cover the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, she left the newspaper to write full time in 1984.

Sweeney is survived by a sister. A memorial service was pending.


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