Nora Roberts' happily-ever-after life

Author Nora Roberts
CBS News

(CBS News) Nora Roberts is an author who never can be counted out. The stories she's written fill many a bookstore shelf. And, as Rita Braver is about to show us, they've found a place on TV screens as well:

"You know, not everything's life and death . . . sometimes it's just fun."

And there's plenty of romantic fun to be had - not only in "Angels Fall," the TV movie based on the novel by Nora Roberts, but in all of her books.

"I think love matters most - it's the most powerful emotion that we have," Roberts said. "And I like writing books that celebrate that between two really interesting strong people."

Interesting and strong, a description that fits Nora Roberts herself. She's one of the top-selling authors in the world, with more than 400 million books in print and legions of devoted fans who can't seem to get enough of her strong, independent heroines.

"They always seem to have an interesting career," said Britteny Devicq. "They can take care of themselves or they get through adversity."

In fact, Roberts is credited with being one of the first romance writers to steer away from young, helpless and hapless women. "Yeah, an orphan virgin raised by an aunt and was a secretary of the hero who's the richest man in the free world, which can be a really fun story - what's wrong with that?" Roberts said. "But you don't want to tell that every time."

And she doesn't just write pure romance. In 1995 she created a science fiction detective series using the pseudonym J.D. Robb, to make it clear that this a departure from her usual fare:

"I had this idea for the main character of Eve Dallas, a homicide lieutenant in the near future with a very dark past, a difficult woman," she said.

But no matter what name she's writing under, her heroes and heroines are bound to be fabulous looking.

"Why do I want to write about ugly people? You know, it's my book - they can all be pretty."

"I think we have to say this: You write great sex scenes," said Braver.

"Oh, I hope so," replied Roberts. "Again, if you're writing a relationship book and you don't write a good sex scene then it's kind of disappointing, isn't it? You want these characters to have fabulous sex. And either very romantic sex, or fun sex, or hot sex, whatever fits those two characters in that situation or that time."

"Do people always ask you if these experiences come from your own life?"

"Oh, yeah, all the time. And I say, 'Oh yeah. I've had all the great sex, with many, many different men. And I've solved crimes. I've committed them. You know I've traveled in space. I've, you know, climbed mountains. Done it all!"

She's done it all - all the writing, that is - from her home in rural Maryland, where she's lived since 1972.

"It's my place - I recognized it immediately, when there was nothing here, that this is where I want to be. It's where I want to raise my children."

She was a young mom, marooned here during a snowstorm in 1979, when she decided to start writing.

"Two children - two boys - for days," Roberts said. "And I thought, I'm going insane. Murder/suicide could happen. That's how far gone I was, And I said, I'm going to write one of these stories down that was always playing around in my head just for fun, just for something to do for sanity. And the minute I started that was it. In a notebook with a pencil."

But publishers were not immediately impressed; she was rejected many times.

"You still kept at it?" asked Braver.

"Oh yeah. I wanted it. I really wanted it."