Beyond the Signature
BY CHRIS WILSON // NOV. 15, 2012 //
Many of today’s popular novelists are well known for either one particular work or series. But that does not mean that their writing is limited to just those works.
Take J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. In addition to the seven novels, which make up the main storyline, she has also written several books that complement and expand upon those novels.
These supplementary works were done mainly for charity groups. The first instance of this was with two written versions of two books mentioned in the novels, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Throughout the Ages. The sales for the books were donated to the British charity organization Comic Relief, founded in 1985 by comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia.
Rowling later wrote a written version of the Tales of Beedle the Bard from the last novel, one copy of which was auctioned for the Children’s High Level Group to help mentally disabled children in poor countries.
Recently, however, Rowling wrote beyond teen fantasy with The Casual Vacancy, an adult novel focusing on the election of a new Parish Councilor in a suburban town and the exposing of the candidate’s dark secrets online by their children. The book was the fastest-selling book in the United Kingdom and had topped one million copies within three weeks of its publishing.
Another example of authors writing beyond their most well known works is Daniel Handler, best known by his pen name Lemony Snicket, author of the Series of Unfortunate Events.
As he wrote the series, he included a fictionalized version of himself that acts as the narrator. His current series of books, All the Wrong Questions, is a four-part story of the character of Snicket during his training in the V.F.D. organization that played a large supporting role in the Series of Unfortunate Events. While technically a semi-prequel to his signature work, Snicket will be writing this series to be geared to young adults as opposed to children.
Many authors can use different approaches to the kinds of writing that they do. Some may stick to one series and constantly expand upon it, while others could move on to different stories. Whatever the choice, they continue to peak our literary curiosity and spark our imagination.