I expect you are familiar with Sue Grafton’s Alphabet detective books that began with A is for Alibi and was to conclude with Z is for Zero. Unfortunately, Grafton died recently and according to her family Y is for Yesterday (Penguin Press) is the end of the series and there will be no more.
Grafton apparently told her family that she would never allow a ghostwriter to write in her name. She also refused to sell film or TV rights to her books although there have been a couple of movies made in Japan.
So, this begs some questions of the rest of us who write.
What if we become wildly successful and our books are in demand for film or TV. What if we are unable to complete a series? What would we do?
Agatha Christie’s family have allowed ghostwriters to dabble in Hercule Poirot stories although the author wrote the death stories of both Miss Marple and Poirot and intended that to be the end of it.
Let’s prepare ourselves by thinking about these questions:
1. Would I want a ghostwriter to take over my story/stories?
2. Would I make this binding in my will?
3. Do I trust my heirs to follow my wishes?
4. Will I leave notes about my next books so that a ghostwriter can follow up?
5. Do I keep those thoughts in my head to protect myself and my books?
6. Do I want a film/TV writer to recreate their version of my story/stories?
7. Am I depriving my public of what they want to see?
8. Is that important to me?
9. Do I want to leave my family my books as their inheritance to do as they will?
10. Is any of this my business or is it up to those who come after me?
As for me … I have no idea yet what I would do. But we do need to discuss this with our families, legal advisors, and whomever else comes to mind. Don’t you think?