If writing your first novel is hard, writing your second is harder still!
The Huffington Post recently ran an interesting article on ‘One-hit-wonder authors’ – famous authors who only ever wrote one book. The authors included in the article are:
- Anna Sewell – Black Beauty
- Boris Pasternak – Dr Zhivago
- Cyrill Connolly – The Rock Pool
- Emily Bronte – Wuthering Heights
- Harper Lee – To Kill a Mocking Bird
- JD Salinger – Catcher in the Rye
- John Okada – No-No Boy
- Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Grey
- Sylvia Plath – The Bell Jar
All classics, I’m sure you’ll agree. Bronte and Plath did not live long enough to publish another book; the others perhaps felt they had reached the pinnacle and had no desire or need to climb another mountain. When you’ve written an excellent book that has been critically acclaimed, I imagine the pressure you feel in writing another is immense – think, for example, of the scrutiny with which critics would regard a new series of novels by JK Rowling.
At the other end of the spectrum from these one-book-only authors you have the really prolific writers. Enid Blyton, for example, wrote 800 books, and the romance authors Barbara Cartland, Kathleen Lindsay and Ursula Bloom have a total of 2,147 books between them. The prize for the most books, it seems, goes to Spanish romance writer María del Socorro Tellado López (Corin Tellado), who published more than 4,000 novels.
I’m neither a once-only nor a knock-out-hundreds kind of author. I couldn’t stop at just one, I think, because I love to write. And I’d dearly love one day to have a bookshelf in my home devoted to my own titles. But for now, Burning Embers will do for me.