For most mere mortals, the idea of becoming a best-selling author is nothing less than Olympian, a combination of achievement and luck akin to planting your flag on Mount Everest with a winning lottery ticket in your parka.
How then can we even begin to comprehend Palm Springs’ Andrew Neiderman? The 74-year-old Brooklyn native is not just one best-selling author; he is two.
The saga of this extremely successful split personality began nearly 30 years ago with the death of writer V.C. Andrews, whose gothic horror debut, Flowers in the Attic, vaulted her into the best-selling ranks in 1979.
At the time of Andrews’ death, Neiderman had already written 18 novels of his own, including the best-selling Pin, about an orphaned brother and sister and their infatuation with a medical mannequin left behind by their deceased physician father. If it sounds vaguely like a V.C. Andrews plot, then it should come as no surprise that an agent (who, coincidentally, represented both writers) suggested to Neiderman that he finish the third, fourth, and fifth installments of Andrews’ proposed five-part Casteel series.
“It was a challenge, to say the least,” laughs the former high school teacher, whose accent, even after 27 years in the desert, still retains a trace of his native borough. “At first I would work on two computers. I would work on one computer as Andrew Neiderman. Then I’d turn around and face the other one and be V.C. Andrews.”
Eventually, Neiderman was able to inhabit his V.C. Andrews incarnation without resorting to such machinations. In fact, it might be argued that he has outshone his creator. The original V.C. Andrews wrote 10 novels, including My Sweet Audrina. V.C. II (Neiderman) has penned 75 … and shows no signs of slowing down.
“I try to write a novel about every four months,” he says nonchalantly of the time it takes for most of us to get around to having the car washed.
Neiderman hasn’t done too badly as himself. He’s published 46 novels of his own, including best-seller The Devil’s Advocate, which was made into a 1997 film directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves. To date, he has published a total of 117 novels under his name and in the V.C. Andrews series. The latter franchise accounts for more than 106 million copies sold in 24 languages in 95 countries. In the next six months, he’ll see the publication of two V.C. Andrews books and two of his own, including Lost in His Eyes and Judgement Day, the prequel to The Devil’s Advocate.
When Neiderman isn’t busy at his (now solitary) computer, he’s busy working out of his condo in Brentwood on a number of V.C. Andrews film adaptations. There’s also the stage adaptation of Flowers in the Attic debuting in New Orleans, as well as a Dutch stage adaptation of The Devil’s Advocate being prepared in the Netherlands that has him tempted to fly over for opening night.
Despite a schedule that would exhaust not just two writers but a half dozen, Neiderman insists that he lives “a stressless life in the desert.” He writes every morning until he gets hungry enough for lunch, breaks for a bit, and then goes back to work until mid-afternoon. Then he has a relaxing workout in his home gym.
Having just celebrated 50 years of marital bliss last year, Neiderman also offers wisdom on how to be a successful husband: “I used to write at night, but I don’t anymore.”