From Beyond the Grave: Authors’ works carried on after their deaths

bitterjug_Hand_WritingV.C. Andrews: V.C. Andrews died in 1986 at the height of her work’s popularity. Her estate hired ghost writer Andrew Neiderman to continue with her work. Only 7 novels were fully written by Andrews of the around 80 novels published in her name. When her estate ran into trouble with the IRS, it was argued (successfully) that Virginia Andrews’s name was a valuable commercial asset, the value of which should be included in her gross estate. Who knew a name could be worth so much!

Tom Clancy: Tom Clancy passed away in 2013, but was already known for other authors continuing with his characters and worlds. While the book jackets may be emblazoned with Tom Clancy or Tom Clancy’s, you may notice another name in the byline at the bottom. Before his death, he had co-authors as demand outstripped his ability to produce. David Michaels is a name you’ll see on some covers, which is a pen name for Raymond Benson. Mark Greany will be carrying on the Jack Ryan series.

Robert Jordan: Robert Jordan is best known for his epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. The man behind Robert Jordan, James Oliver Rigney Jr, passed away in 2007 before the last three books in The Wheel of Time could be published. When he was diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis in 2006, Robert Jordan’s widow hand-picked Brandon Sanderson to finish his novels using notes from Jordan and plot points that had been shared with his family members.

Robert Ludlum: Robert Ludlum was a busy man. During his life published not only under his name, but under 2 pseudonyms. 2001 was the year he passed away and also the year of his last novel. He is posthumously credited with 4 more novels, publishing into 2006. Ten different co-writers and ghost authors have continued on with his work. His most popular series following character Jason Bourne, has been written by Eric Van Lustbader since 2004.

Frank Herbert: The Dune Saga is considered to be a classic in the genre of science fiction, with the titular book, Dune, being the best-selling science fiction novel of all time. Herbert passed away in 1986. Over a decade later his son, Brian Herbert, and author Kevin J. Anderson continued the Dune legacy based in part on notes left behind by Herbert. They have published 10 prequels including 2014’s Mentats of Dune along with 2 novels concluding the original series.

Emily Dickinson: Emily Dickson was a prolific writer, but few of her poems were published when she was alive. After her death in 1886, her sister Lavinia Dickinson burned most of her correspondence as promised to Dickinson. She hadn’t left instructions for about 40 notebooks and loose sheets gathered in a locked chest. In 1890, the first volume of Emily Dickinson’s poems appeared in print.

Ernest Hemingway: Ernest Hemingway’s works are considered part of classics American literature. During his life he published seven novels, six short story collections, and two non-fiction works. Hemingway’s wife found 332 works after his death, some of which were published posthumously including A Moveable Feast.

Dr. Suess: Dr. Suess, pen name for Theodor Seuss Geisel, is known for his delightfully imaginative children’s stories like Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat. Over his long career, he published over 60 books and topped many children’s bestsellers list. Five Dr. Suess books have been published since his death in 1991, the most recent being Horton and the Kwuggerbug and more Lost Stories published in 2014. Fun Fact: Geisel didn’t just do children’s books. He was also a sucessful political cartoonist during WWII,

Vince Flynn: Vince Flynn’s untimely death in 2013 could have meant an end to his popular Mitch Rapp series. Author Kyle Mills (also known for working on Robert Ludlum’s Cover-one series), will be taking over. The Survivor will be published in 2015 and there are 2 more novels in the works.

Ian Fleming: Ian Fleming brought the world the dashing, suave spy James Bond writing 14 novels about 007. Many of these were even basis for blockbuster movies. Seven other authors have written authorized Bond novels or novelizations: Kingsley Amis, Christopher Wood, John Gardner, Raymond Benson, Sebastian Faulks, Jeffery Deaver and William Boyd adding 34 more stories to Bond’s already illustrious career.

Robert B. Parker: Robert B. Parker is known as the “Dean of American Crime Fiction” and credited with influencing man popular crime authors. He died in 2010 of a heart attack while working on a novel. About a year after his passing, the Parker Estate decided to continue with his two most popular series. Jesse Stone was slated to be written by Michael Brandman. As of April 2014, it looks as if Reed Farrel Coleman will be writing about the troubled former LAPD detective. Spenser was taken over by Ace Atkins. Silent Night, a Spenser novel which was in the works at the time of Parker’s death, was finished by his literary agent, Helen Brann, and published in 2013.

In 2012, another Robert B. Parker series was revived by Robert Knott and two more Virgil Cloe and Everett Hitch books have been published.

Gertrude Chandler Warner: Gertrude Chandler Warner dreamed of being a famous author from the tender age of five. Her series about the Aldens and their mystery solving ways, “The Boxcar Children” has been a favorite among school age children for many years. Of the over 140 stories about the quartet, only 19 were written by Warner, including the namesake The Boxcar Children. Four new books were published in 2014 and there are already two slated for 2015.

Roger Hargreaves: Roger Hargreaves created his famous Mr. Men series when his son, Adam, asked him what a tickle looked like. Mr. Tickle (an orange circle with long rubbery arms) started out rocky, with Hargreaves struggling to find a publisher. The series became a great success, including a Little Miss series (written for his twin daughters) and two popular tv shows. Adam, the son whose question launched the Mr. Men empire, took over writing and illustrating the series after Hargreaves death in 1988.  In 2004 Hargreaves’s wife Christine sold the rights to the Mr. Men characters to the UK entertainment group Chorion, who then sold the rights to Sanrio, best known for Hello Kitty.  In 2010 a “lost” Mr. Men book was published. The manuscript for Mr. Nobody was found in a publisher’s drawer!


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