In my recent retrospective on Quag Keep, I repeated a rumor I'd heard from several people, some of them from friend-of-a-friend sources connected to TSR, that Lorraine Williams at one point considered selling off or outright killing TSR's RPG division and focusing the company on its line of RPG-derived novels. Although the rumor always struck me as nonsensical, and indeed the people who told it to me felt so as well, Williams had a not wholly undeserved reputation of being hostile to RPGs, so I simply took it at face value.
Recently, though, Mike Breault, an editor at TSR from 1985 to 1989, appeared at the Knights & Knaves Alehouse to clear up what he says are a lot of misconceptions about TSR during his tenure there. He's also discussed his recollections of Lorraine Williams, which gave me the opportunity to ask him directly about the rumor I'd heard from multiple sources. Mr Breault said that, to his knowledge, the rumor "sounds pretty illogical on the face of it," adding that "AD&D was about the only things making decent money for TSR" at the time, since "Book publishing is a really low-margin business."
So, while Mr Breault doesn't outright deny the possibility that there was some truth in the rumor, the fact remains that it's just a rumor and an implausible one at that. Consequently, I'll refrain from repeating it in the future until I should come across corroborating evidence of its truth. I'm no fan of Mrs Williams nor of the direction TSR took under her, but I think it's important that the woman be judged fairly according to facts rather than on mere rumor. For what it's worth, I feel the same way about Gary Gygax and Brian Blume, so I hope no one will begrudge me for retracting my earlier statement. In the end, truth is far more important than scoring rhetorical points.