by Lorraine Elgar
Andrew Neiderman has been the Ghostwriter of VC Andrews since her death in 1986 . Intially faced with the task of completing both the Dollangangers and Casteel Saga s , he has gone on to write 73 books under her name as well as continue writing his own novels .
Earlier this year, Lorraine Elgar of AtticSecrets spoke to Mr Neiderman on how it is being a famous ghost ….
1) How difficult is it to ghost write in the voice of someone else especially with the mixed reactions you receive from some fans ?
Most don’t seem to realize that I’ve been writing V.C. Andrews now for over 28 years. What I did was study the style, the syntax and the vocabulary first and then grasped the genre, the plots, characters and themes not only in the earlier novels, but in the plot outlines, thoughts, sketches and short, uncompleted works. With that in mind, I completed the Dollanganger series, the Casteel series and created Dawn. Most often when polled, fans point out they love Ruby and that Landry series. For that, I actually spent time in the bayou with Cajuns and thus, I believe, captured the world in which Ruby exists, as well as her twin sister. This series is in development by Warner Bros. television and was twice before developed as four-hour mini series, but both times, dropped at the last moment because of administrative changes at networks.
The challenge is not only to capture the V.C. Andrews voice, but to anticipate how she would have written as time passed. Surely, she would have kept up with recent events and drawn characters from them. So it’s a big obligation, but after driving it from just under 30 million worldwide to now over 106 million in 95 countries, I think I can modestly claim success.
2) Was it difficult to revisit the attic for the diary series and were you left any hints and plans from virginia herself ?
It’s always a challenge to pick up with another writer left off a story, but there were indications that easily led to my writing Garden of Shadows and then the Diary series. First, it’s been a worldwide best seller and many, millions in fact, are intrigued with the why behind so much of it. Cathy was a restricted first person point of view. In writing, that is limited in that you see the world ONLY from her prospective. It became a fascination over time with the questions about how her older brother really saw what was happening, how he saw her, and mostly, how he put up with who he knew was a deceitful, selfish mother at heart. Readers sometimes get uptight about minor details and lose the overall thrust of the story. The second big thing about Flowers in the Attic was how the readers reacted…some people took it so to heart they actually named their children after the children and had the story emotionally affect their own lives. So, to capture some of that, which is fascinating, we have Kristin Masterwood, who replicates how many readers reacted to Flowers in the Attic.
Now, as you probably know, one of the big surprises in the Heaven(Casteel series) was that Troy did not die…so we have precedent for Cory…his disappearance was never well explained…it was an obvious possibility..some fans, who believed Corrine or were basing their thoughts ONLY on the Lifetime film, were weirdly upset by it. I am confident most are going to really enjoy Secret Brother…it is vintage V.C. Andrews with the main character and the plot flows right out of what Corrine could have done.
3)Lastly, in regards to the movies , have you enjoyed having more input in If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday ? Can fans expect a movie of Garden of Shadows as many are desperate for it to be made.
Yes…they were very dependent upon me for details and questions as the original agent is gone and the first editor long ago left the books. New editors took a while to get into the genre; some didn’t last. The current editor is very, very good. I am unfortunately not yet at liberty to reveal what’s coming. It will be announced soon, but most fans will be very,very happy. What’s more, now other producers and networks are inquiring about the other V.C. Andrews titles…one is trying to create a series out of Daughter of Darkness…a lot of groundwork for it has been done. Some of my favorite possibles for television are Secrets in the Attic, The Runaways, and Shooting Stars. The reason is you can develop ongoing segments easily.
There’s a lot to look forward to…I can tell you that there are now six more titles coming over the next two years.
I hope these answers are what you’re looking for, and I hope we can continue to build on what is now one of the world’s longest running book franchises ever…consistently publishing two to three novels every year for now 35 years.
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PS: VISIT NEIDERMAN.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT ME AND MY NEWEST THRILLER.