10 Famous Ghost-Writing Collaborations


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We are all used to the headlines being filled with weekly scandals of the sex, drugs and rock and roll lifestyles of our beloved celebrities, however there seems to be another scandal that has surfaced over the last few years, and that is the use of Ghost writing.  Last year, Gwyneth Paltrow was outed as having used a ghost writer for her cook book, and although this was strongly denied, which lead many to wonder what other ghost writing collaborations are out there that we may not have necessarily realized upon our first read.

What is a ghost writer?

A ghost-writer is an individual who writes articles, stories, reports, books or other texts that are officially credited to an entirely different individual.  Celebrities, politicians, executives and writers often use ghost-writers to assist in their work, however this is not commonly known in the public arena, particularly when it comes to writers.

Here we will outline 10 famous ghost writing collaborations that you may or may not have been aware of.

VC Andrews and Andrew Neiderman – Garden of Shadows

VC Andrews wrote a number of bestselling hits including Flowers in the attic and Petals in the wind, however after her death her estate hired Andrew Neiderman, a high school English teacher, to continue the saga that VC Andrews had so brilliantly thought up.

Carolyn Keene and Many

The name Carolyn Keene is a collective pseudonym for a number of different ghost writers who collaborated to create the Nancy Drew series.  It was Edward Stratemeyer who initially thought up the plot line for Nancy’s narrative, however he hired ghost writer Mildred Bensoin to help construct the early volumes of the series, a job which was then handed down to a number of different writers throughout the Nancy Drew history.

Ian Fleming and Kingsley Amis

Ian Fleming is well known in the literary world, being most famous for creating secret service agent James Bond, however when he passed away in 64, English novelist Kingsley Amis was called upon to help with the unfinished story of “The man with the golden gun”.  It is said that Amis’ suggestions were never used, but there are also rumours that a lot of his own ideas were put into the work.  Amis was then later commissioned to write Colonel Sun under the pseudonym of Robert Markham.

HP Lovecraft and Harry Houdini

HP Lovecraft spent much of his career working with ghost writers, however “under the pyramids” was one of his most famous collaborations, as it was with the world famous Houdini.  This was a fictionalized account of a real life Houdini experience.

Francine Pascal and Many

Many will remember the popular blonde twins Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield from Pascals Sweet Valley High series, however many are unaware that ghost-writers were used to author many of the books in the series.

RL Stine and Many

Goosebumps will feature as a huge part of most of our childhoods, with RL Stine being regarded as the Stephen King of children’s literature, however it was not RL Stine alone that created his spooky series, but was the collaboration of many that churned out the popular childhood chillers.

George Lucas and Alan Dean Foster

Star Wars Episode IV: A new hope, although credited to George Lucas, was in fact penned by its real author Alan Dean Foster who has contributed to many of the works within the Star Wars novel series.

Evangeline Adams and Aleister Crowley

Much of Evangeline Adams work was ghost-written by famed occultist Aleister Crowley, including the popular Astrology: Your place in the sun.

William Shatner and Ron Goulart

William Shatner began to develop a future based series with his rough concepts eventually turned into the sci fi book series TekWar, which was ghost written by Ron Goulart.  Both Shatner and Goulart ended up with their own concepts in the book, however it was Shatner that took the credit.

Harper Lee and Truman Capote

The notion that to “kill a mockingbird” was ghost-written is still in question to this day, but there was a rumor suggesting that Lee’s childhood friend Capote was the inspiration for the book, and Capote mentored Lee, and an old paper quoted the father of Capote stating that it was in fact his son that wrote the story.  To this day the truth is still unknown about a potential ghost writers influence.

Hi, my name is Teena and I am a keen writer, specializing in Ghost writing.  I love to help others find their creative voice in writing with professionalghost.org.

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3 thoughts on “10 Famous Ghost-Writing Collaborations

  1. Additionally, publishers use ghostwriters to write new books for established series where the ‘author’ is a pseudonym . For example, the purported authors of the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mysteries, ” Carolyn Keene ” and ” Franklin W. Dixon “, respectively, are actually pseudonyms for a series of ghostwriters who write books in the same style using a template of basic information about the book’s characters and their fictional universe (names, dates, speech patterns), and about the tone and style that are expected in the book. (For more information, see the articles on pseudonyms or pen names .) In addition, ghostwriters are often given copies of several of the previous books in the series to help them match the style.

  2. The process of collaboration will depend on timeframe, mutual prior experience, size and type of project. For example, you may already have your book mapped out into chapters. Perhaps you’ve written a rough introduction and bio for your memoirs. A ghost can edit your almost completed manuscript to clean it up for publication. Agree at the start how much time, effort and writing skill you have to offer to the project. Interview a few potential ghostwriters. Just like a good interior decorator or therapist, it takes time to find someone comfortable to work with.

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