Riddle Me a Riddle
January 04, 2011
When is an author who has passed away still an author? He or she is if a syndicate of other authors and publishers take the original authors characters, outlines and ideas, and continue to write under the original author’s name.
At one time, I had read every one of Robert Ludlum's books, and kept up with the new ones as they came out. Then, he passed away in 2001. But, books kept coming out by Robert Ludlum, and the adventures of Jason Bourne have never quit. Two books a year are planned; one in the Bourne line and one from the Covert-One series.
Author Eric Van Lustbader and others took over the character of Jason Bourne, and kept it going. More than half of the books and films starring Ludlum's popular character have been created since Ludlum's death. The first Bourne novel appeared in 1980.
The practice of keeping an author’s characters alive is not a previously unknown occurrence. There has been a sequel to Gone with the Wind, and new books by author VC Andrews have been released long after the author's death.
If you write a book these days, publishers often want outlines of more that are related. Then, they are ready with more adventures of a popular character if your book is a hit. No publisher wants a "one-hit-wonder", and if the planning is right, an author can live just about forever.