Ghost who writes


When we were following up on Leslie’s nomination of V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in The Attic in our Shoebox On The Motorway genre (by the way, Leslie, a huge piece of lemon meringue pie is on its way to you by Aussie Wombat Post)  we were amazed to learn that many of the books published under the Andrews name were in fact written by Andew Neiderman. (Well, at least he’s called Andrew). Did you know that? Andrews died in 1986. 60 books have been published since her death:

This made us think about writers who have stables. James Patterson is read by millions. How many of his readers know that the books are written by a stable of ghostwriters? Does anyone care? Should they?

Other big names that crop up here are Tom Clancy, William Shatner, Robert Ludlum and Isaac Asimov. Did Kingsley Amis contribute to The Man With The Golden Gun after Fleming’s death? Did you know “Nancy Drew” was a stable of writers? And check out our post on Jennie Erdal and Naim Attallah here:

Erdal wrote nine books of interviews and two novels in Attallah’s name before eventually outing  him in her own book called Ghosting.

We even hear that ghostwriting is rampant in hiphop and rap music! What next? Ghostwriting of protest songs?

Here’s a nice article by someone who describes herself as “a literary collaborator”:

Gert’s never thought of this as a career move, but there are distinct possibilities. Give us a week or so and we think we can turn our hand to anything. Offers, please.

Would you care if you knew that the latest book by your favourite author wasn’t actually written by him/her?″





5 thoughts on “Ghost who writes

  1. Funny you mention James Patterson. I met someone the other day who had a well worn paperback by Patterson in her hand. I’ve never read him. I asked how she liked the book and she said that while she loved some of his others, this one wasn’t very good. I mentioned how Patterson is a brand and that other people write the books (ie–this MIGHT be an explanation as to why you don’t like THIS one) and I just got a blank look.

    BTW, I came across a far more glamourous way of saying ghostwriter in Claudia Piñiero’s Betty Boo: escritora fantasma.

    And yes I would care…

    In Pascal Garnier’s Boxes, the writer (who’s losing his marbles) writes these chain of children’s books and he hates his characters.

    1. Yes, I care too, though probably lots of people dontt. . It’s all about the product.

      In our post a couple of years ago about Andrew O’Hagan being hired to ghostwrite Julian Assange’s autobiography, we mentioned a French film that would amuse you, called Trahisons et Mensonges, about a ghost writer who specialises in vapid celebrities who’s hired to write the autobio of the captain of the French football team. He assumes he’ll be just another boof head and is horrified to find he fancies himself as an intellectual and wants a book that combines Sartre, Joyce, Hemingway, etc etc etc.
      Your story about Boxes reminds me of a Wodehouse story about Bertie getting accidentally engaged to a woman who writes sickly sweet romances and finding that his mind is being being taken over by images of rose-covered cottages and syrupy thoughts.

  2. I’m waiting for that lemon meringue pie with great anticipation, ladies.
    I think something is lost in the writing when you have a stable of ghost writers. I remember reading one of Asimov’s books about the spirit leaving the body at the moment of death. I read it so long ago but it was one book that I found immensely interesting. The thought that this might have been the product of a stable of writers is disappointing
    Collaboration in music seems to work better but a book should have the mind set of the author.

    1. Yes, we do seem to want that, don’t we? The comparison with music ins interesting, but still I think you wouldn’t like it if you thought something by a composer you liked wasn’t really by him after all, but by someone hired to write like him. It reduces the artistic process to a recipe.

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