ABC Daytime Jilts Carly Phillips

Fans from all walks of life have been devastated by the April 14 cancellation of ALL MY CHILDREN and ONE LIFE TO LIVE — and New York Times best-selling romance author Carly Phillips is among them!

"I am a dedicated ABC soap opera fan dating back 35-plus years," Phillips tells Soap Opera Weekly. "I've been through the older ones that are long gone, but I could always count on AMC, OLTL and GH."

Phillips has written more than 25 novels, including Harlequin's March release Hot Item, and this September's release from Berkley, Serendipity.

She credits soap operas with helping her writing process, saying their influence "has been profound. For example, people know I have a writing connection to Kelly Ripa, who chose The Bachelor as the first romance ever on a nationally televised book club.

"What many people don't realize is that I had watched Kelly since her Hayley Vaughan days on AMC. I thought her character was so well-defined and fleshed out — strong yet vulnerable. There are so many positive things daytime TV offers to people; women in particular. Not just the fantasy escape — which romance novels also offer — but the trials and tribulations of real problems and issues, and how a well-written character overcomes them. I've learned from it as a writer. I will miss these shows and characters and feel their loss deeply.

"I just don't know what I am going to do with my afternoons; how I will write without them in the background," admits Phillips. "'Devastated' doesn't begin to describe how I feel. And betrayed."

Phillips acknowledges that she is far from the only person to feel so strongly — and that ABC Daytime fans are just the latest group to suffer the loss. "For years, soap fans have stood by while other people's favorite soap operas were canceled. It's a pity we didn't do more than think, 'There but for the grace of God go I,' because now, as ABC soap opera fans, we are in that same position," she sighs. "AMC and OLTL gone with one fell swoop? Short-sighted is putting it mildly!

"We hear all the time that ratings drive network decisions. However, what about those of us who record and watch later? Those who watch on SOAPnet later at night or on the weekends? There is legacy in soap operas," asserts Phillips. "There are people whose lives and incomes are intertwined with the medium. There are other occupations that thrive on soaps: magazines and romance writers like myself. I don't know what I will do with my afternoon hours, but I can tell you I will not watch ABC," stresses Phillips. "I won't watch anything the network puts on as a replacement. There are things in life that cannot be replaced. Soaps are one of them."