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Romance novelist ‘Jessica Blair’ is an 89-year-old man

9 February 2013

From Today News:

British author Jessica Blair released the 22nd book in her popular series of romance novels on Thursday, but the most surprising thing about the book might be the writer’s true identity: Jessica Blair is actually 89-year-old Bill Spence.

The grandfather and prolific writer is making headlines this week after the release of “In the Silence of the Snow,” written under the female pseudonym he has used on nearly two dozen books since 1992

. . . .

“Well when I first wrote the first Jessica Blair novel, ‘The Red Shawl’, it was submitted under my own name,” he told a podcast on the U.K.’s Southside Broadcasting at the time. “The publishers said ‘We like this book but we would like to publish it under a female name. Would you mind if we published it under Jessica Blair?’ Well, you don’t say no to publishers.”

Spence said he never minded his publisher’s decision, and agreed it was good for the success of the books. “The chief character is a woman, and ladies buy more books and read more books than men do,” he told Southside. “So it was a marketing ploy, really.”

In order to come across as a convincing female author, Spence said he often double-checked his work with the women in his family.

Link to the rest at Today News and thanks to Eric for the tip.

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Romance

15 Comments to “Romance novelist ‘Jessica Blair’ is an 89-year-old man”

  1. I think this happens more often then we think. Men tend to be more authors of thrillers and crime, while women are more likely authors of romance and young adult.

    I’m not saying I agree with this type of stereotyping but I think the pen name or real name we decide to put on our books comes down to how we want to branding ourselves and the books.

  2. Wish he were my grandpa. 🙂

  3. Titles and author names do seem to go together. When I write “The Cattle Drive Murders” I might want to do it as “Bull MacStrong” or something, but if I pen something like “Spank Me Till I Whimper”, I might be better served to publish as “Buffy Jennifer” or the equivalent… 🙂

  4. Thomas Elmer Huff (b. January 8, 1938 in Tarrant County, Texas, USA – d. January 16, 1990 in Fort Worth, Texas, USA) was a best-selling American author of 23 gothic and romance novels as T. E. Huff and Tom E. Huff and under the female pen names Edwina Marlow, Beatrice Parker, Katherine St. Clair, and Jennifer Wilde.

  5. Good for him! I’m sorry he had to hide his gender, but I understand the world was the way it was. Now that he’s “out of the closet”, maybe that will have a good impact, and pave the way for other men to write romance.

    Personally, I find a man writing romance to be…..rather appealing. 🙂

  6. Hey, good for him!

  7. Love it! Romance authors are a much more diverse group of people than their pen names suggest.

  8. I’m always amazed that authors write under several pen names and still make it big. Everyone says that branding is important for an author but if you keep changing your pen name (as mentioned in the comment above), how does that work for your brand?

    But using a nice female name when writing romance certainly makes sense…

  9. O’Donnell, the guy behind the Modesty Blaise comics, also was a successful Gothic historical romance writer as “Madeleine Brent.”

    • You beat me too it. I was about to bring up Peter O’Donnell. As a Teenager, I loved his Madeleine Brent novels.

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