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The Secret Heiress

With her "signature mix of glamour, wealth, and intrigue" (Booklist), this is New York Times bestselling author Judith Gould at her very best— as unknown forces conspire against a woman summoned into the shadows of a deadly masquerade...

Niki and Ariadne are identical twins with only their beauty in common. They were separated at birth by the schemes of a tyrannical father and reared continents apart. It is Niki who comes of age in the glittering shadow of the mad tycoon and is heiress to his empire. As cold and sharp as a cut diamond, she's accustomed to the good things in life.

Raised in obsurity, Ariadne is generous, brilliant, naive, and unaware of her bloodline... until a persuasive team of strangers offers her an opportunity as intimidating as it is irresistible— the chance to reclaim her share of the family empire. Little does she realize that she's about to plunge into a deadly game of deception orchestrated by a privileged few— and that she will find protection in the arms of a bodyguard who shows her a passion like no other.

In this new world of luxury and glamour, the kisses of a stranger can't be trusted, and the hidden truth may prove to be Ariadne's undoing.

Judith Gould Portrait Winners!

Ellie L. of Albuquerque, NM
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Sara S. of Miami, FL
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Author Portrait - Judith Gould

Judith Gould is a psuedonym for Nick Bienes and Rhea (pronounced “Ray”) Gallaher, co-authors who collaborate on writing novels that have given millions of fans a great deal of entertainment.

Chatting with Nick and Rhea...

Lee: How and when did you both realize you made a good writing team?

Nick & Rhea: We knew within a week of meeting that we would make a good writing team - and started writing together within that week.

Lee: You've worked together on several projects/novels and been extremely successful so it's hopefully safe to assume you understand each other's thought processes really well. Could you share something about how the two of you work on a novel from the very conception of an idea to typing out the last page?

Nick & Rhea: We DO share each other's thought processes very well. We always begin by bouncing ideas back and forth, usually over a long period of time. When we think we're onto something, we start outlining. After a complete story outline, sometimes chapter by chapter, we start writing. We used to pass pages back and forth, back and forth, with Nick beginning and ending the writing. Lately, Rhea has done most of the writing while Nick pursues other interests, including writing.

Lee: What's the hardest part about writing as a team? The easiest?

Nick & Rhea: The hardest part about writing as a team is definitely having to compromise, especially when you're convinced your idea is better. But, this doesn't happen often in actuality. The easiest part is that we really are on the same wavelength in a lot of ways.

Lee: Do you have a favorite place to write or can you work anywhere?

Nick & Rhea: Nick always has to write at his well-worn desk. No where else EVER. Rhea can write almost anywhere, on ships, sailboats, trains, planes, by the pool, IN the pool, in hotel rooms, at the beach, at friends' condos - you name it. Although he did once ask the owner of the Chelsea Hotel to move a table he was working at to the new apartement we were moving into. He'd gotten so much work done at it, he took it along as a good luck charm.

Lee: Who or what has influenced your writing and in what way?

Nick & Rhea: We've both been greately influenced by early Harold Robbins and to some extent early Sidney Sheldon. We both loved their multigenerational sagas with the emphasis on plot, with a lot of accompanying glamor, glory, and gold! Nick has always read a lot of popular mass market fiction and some of the classics, and Rhea has always read a lot of the classics and more esoteric and "literary" contemporary fiction. Probably, we've been influenced by it all.

Lee: Based on your writing career, what is one major accomplishment you'd most like to be remembered for?

Nick & Rhea: It would have to be SINS because it was our first published effort together. After being rejected by twenty-four publishers, it was finally picked up by NAL on the last day of the auction our agent had arranged. It made the New York Times Best-Seller list as well as a lot of others and was translated into twenty-four foreign languages. Later, it was made into an internationally acclaimed television miniseries, starring Joan Collins, Timothy Dalton, James Farentino, Giancarlo Gianinni, Capuccine, Ariel Dombasle, Regine, Steven Berkoff, and a host of others. Amazingly, nearly twenty-five years later, the novel is still selling in various parts of the world.

Lee: What do you know now, as published authors, that you wish you'd known back when you first started writing stories?

Nick & Rhea: We should have insisted on using our real names so that we could have done publicity all these years rather than hide behind Ms. Gould's skirts.

Lee: What advice do you have for aspiring writers today?

Nick & Rhea: Would-be writers of any age: stick with it. Don't give up. And see our website for other useful information!

"The ancient, sunken harbor at Epidaurus, Greece, where Nick doesn't feel he's had a vacation until he's snorkeled there."

It was in 1979 in New York City, when Nick was working on a novel in his spare time and Rhea was a free-lance medical editor, that their story actually began, and here it is, in their own words...

Every story has a fairy godmother, and this one does, too. Our fairy godmother was Lucy Gaston, a very cultured, beautiful, and sophisticated lady of advanced years who had led a life that was the stuff of novels, and who had a nose for talent and loved to surround herself with promising young people. (Several years before matching Rhea’s talent with Nick’s, Lucy had given Rhea’s childhood friend, Jack Geasland, and Bari Wood, the idea for writing TWINS, a huge bestseller which was eventually made into the film DEAD RINGERS by David Cronenberg and which starred Jeremy Irons.

Joan Collins in SINS

Putting their heads together, Nick and Rhea came up with the idea for a novel, called SINS, and Nick ditched the project he was working on. In due time, they completed an outline and the first 100 pages. Luckily, they chanced upon an agent who sold Sins to New American Library. As columnist Liz Smith would subsequently write about it in a New York Daily News column, SINS was the result of Nick and Rhea’s “applying the seats of their pants to the seats of their chairs.” SINS was a very long novel (709 printed pages) and took over two years to write. As no editor wanted to take responsibility for the cost of producing a book this size, it kept getting kicked “upstairs” — and the powers that were got very excited, decided to market it as a lead title for November of 1982, but suggested the use of an easily remembered pseudonym — preferably female. Thus was Judith Gould born...