Writing books is hard work. Okay, sometimes reading books is hard work, too, but creating a story out of thin air, and adding believable characters, a plot arc, and relatable themes to it is downright impossible, not to mention getting the thing published. That’s why it’s remarkable when someone who isn’t even a real person authors a book. You’re making us living, human writers look bad, you fictional jerks!
Okay, so fictional people don’t actually write books, or rather, they can’t, on account of how they don’t exist. But publishing a book by a TV, movie, or literary character can work as a marketing tactic, an inside joke for fans of an existing property, or it can add an extra level of fun or irony to a project, blurring the lines between fake and not-fake. Here then are some books that were published under the names of some famous and famously not-real individuals.
Murder, She Wrote has been off the air now for more than two decades, but its 12-year-run was so successful that there’s a nice cottage industry of delectable little mystery novels ostensibly written by Jessica Fletcher. Portrayed by Angela Lansbury, she was a successful author who wrote murder books when she wasn’t solving actual murder mysteries (and getting ideas for more books) in her quaint Maine hometown of Cabot Cove. Apart from the opening credits, viewers rarely saw Jessica Fletcher actually writing, what with the time-consuming nature of sleuthing, but she was apparently hard at work because 50 Murder, She Wrote-branded books (which are security blankets that read like long-form episodes of Murder, She Wrote) have been published, written by a handful of talented mystery writers. Read More.
At the center of the TV Land show Younger is Broadway legend Sutton Foster as Liza Miller, a woman in her early 40s who pretends to be a woman in her 20s so she can land a job as a PR assistant at a youth-obsessed publishing company. Eventually, she gets the chance to edit Marriage Vacation, a salacious, tell-all by Pauline Turner-Brooks, ex-wife of the company boss, Charles…whom Liza happens to be having a fling with. Liza needing to make a good book that pleases the writer without upsetting her boss raises all kinds of ethical and professional quandaries, and now Younger fans can actually read the long-talked about book, which provides both backstory to several Younger characters as well as many subtle and obvious references to the show, which, amusingly…is based on a novel by Pamela Redmond Satran. Read More.