01/02/2014 at 07:00 AM EST
Danielle Steel, the San Francisco and Paris-based "Queen of Romance" novelist who has sold 600 million books in 70 countries and 45 languages, has been awarded France's highest honor, the Legion d'honneur, say news reports.
Steel joins such other non-French culture figures as Walt Disney, Julia Child, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Alan Greenspan, Bob Dylan, Bono and novelist Philip Roth in being recognized for what the Agence France-Presse calls "service to France or work that is deemed to uphold its ideals."
Britain's The Telegraph
quotes the author, 66, as saying: "I love French literature. Colette is a special favorite of mine."
Born Danielle-Fernande Dominique Schulein-Steel in New York, Steel has been married five times. More than 20 of her books have been adapted for TV, including Daddy
She has also written non-fiction and children's books, but the couture-clad Steel is best known for her romances.
According to The New York Times
, those joining Steel in being honored by France this year include Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld, the actress Michele Morgan (who once starred with Humphrey Bogart) and the circus performer and director (and the grandson of Charlie Chaplin) James Thierrée.