>A woman named Ida Cook (penname Mary Burchell) wrote 110 romance novels for Mills & Boon for just about the best reason I ever heard.
You gotta go to the link for the whole story, but to summarize, she and her sister, Louise, were big opera fans. They spent what little money they had on opera tickets. During their outings to the opera, they learned of the persecution of the Jews during WWII and decided to do something about it.
They started smuggling Jews and their belongings out to safety. How? They went to operas–in Germany! According to the article:
The mild-mannered spinsters became expert smugglers, regaling border guards with tales of the previous night’s performance, switching labels in fur coats, and wearing real diamonds with outfits so dowdy that customs officers would presume the jewels were paste.
Desperate both to fund their trips and to assist refugees, Ida left the Civil Service and began as a romance writer, becoming one of Mills & Boon’s most popular authors.
The sisters helped 29 people escape certain death, funded mainly by Ida’s writing. In 1965, they were honored as Righteous Gentiles by the Yad Vashem Martyrs and Heroes Remembrance Authority in Israel.
Now people, that is about the coolest reason I have ever heard to write romance.
I saw this story on the Smart Bitches blog, but the original article is below.