Home Creative writing For Andrew Neiderman, the ‘Flowers in the Attic’ legacy continues to bloom

For Andrew Neiderman, the ‘Flowers in the Attic’ legacy continues to bloom


This year is bound to be a turning point for best-selling novelist Andrew Neiderman – literally and figuratively.

For starters, the Palm Springs resident who became the ghostwriter of famed scribe VC Andrews (“Flowers in the Attic,” “Petals on the Wind”) after his death in 1986, will be releasing her long-awaited biography. “The Woman Beyond the Attic: The VC Andrews Story” comes out February 1. It’s already generating buzz and racking up pre-orders.

Then, in March, “Becoming My Sister” hits the market. Locals may be intrigued by Andrews’ story for the simple fact that Coachella Valley is one of the characters – the story revolves around two sisters who endure love, rivalry and a stunning disappearance in the middle. luxury in Palm Springs, especially The Movie Colony neighborhood.

“The mother of the girls in the book is obsessed with famous people who partied in the house,” Neiderman said. “She treats the house and the artifacts as religious icons and is more involved in it all than she is with her two daughters. As in all VC Andrews novels, the challenges of familial love are explored, especially the sibling rivalry. I really hope readers feel the place and emotionally connect with the characters.”

That should be enough to keep a prolific author busy on the publicity front, but alas, Hollywood is beckoning.

To that end, “Dawn,” the bestselling book in the Cutler series, is making its way to the screen. The five-part dark family book series Neiderman wrote in the 1990s under the moniker Andrews begins production this year.

Andrew Neiderman has published 156 novels, a mix of his own novels and those under the aegis of VC Andrews.

Then there’s Lifetime’s “Flowers in the Attic: The Origin,” a prequel TV series to Andrews’ classic — it’s based entirely on VC Andrews’ first novel Neiderman wrote, “Garden of Shadows.” Jemima Rooper and Max Irons headline the release, playing Olivia Winfield and Malcolm Foxworth, the grandparents of Cathy and Chris Dollanganger, the protagonists of “Flowers.” Kelsey Grammer, Harry Hamlin, Paul Wesley, Kate Mulgrew and Hannah Dodd round out the big cast.

The series explores, among other things, how the character of Olivia goes from a fairy tale existence to one that finds her transforming into the most shocking version of herself, ultimately leading her to lock up her little ones. children in the attic.

“We have wonderful actors,” Neiderman says of the production, which was filmed in Romania. “Kelsey Grammer flew in to play Malcolm Foxworth’s father, and it looks good. I saw the eight hours without the music and the final cut. But I can see it was shot very well. I’m excited about this.

“And,” the author quickly adds, “I can’t reveal it right now, but there will be a huge announcement either at the end of this month or early next month. I mean, when I say “huge” is going to be one of the biggest entertainment stories of the season, if not the last two years.”

The plot thickens. Which makes the release of Andrews’ biography even more timely and heartfelt.

“At the time of his death, VC Andrews had sold around 25 million books and was so well known,” Neiderman said. “But nobody really knew about his life, and that’s why I wrote the biography – finally.”

At the time of his death, VC Andrews had sold around 25 million books.

The book celebrates the woman who took readers around the world to the heights of a secluded attic while illuminating what lies deep within the shadows of the human psyche. Family photos, personal letters, and even a partial manuscript of an unpublished novel the author has written also fill the tome.

Other major reveals from the biography are tightly sealed until publication, but the following should spark interest:

  • The truth about Andrew’s disability. Was it caused by an accident, negligent medical care, or aggravated chronic bone spurs condition?
  • Andrews’ complicated physical disability forced her into a wheelchair and attracted a lot of attention. However, it was breast cancer that took her life prematurely at age 63.
  • The real reason Andrews has permanently backed out of any press interviews.
  • The author’s unique creative process. She sometimes mounted a mirror behind her typewriter and watched herself as she wrote. All to “project better” – essentially to imbibe elements of his own life into his indelible characters and unforgettable stories.

“One thing that people don’t realize is that VC Andrews didn’t publish until he was 55,” Neiderman said. “It’s an incredible feat, because 55? Their first book? Most people give up long before that.

Audiences may not have understood how Andrews’ disability really affected her, either.

“She didn’t just have medical procedures that made her life difficult,” Neiderman said. “She’s been very isolated for most of those 55 years. It wasn’t until ‘Flowers in the Attic’ was released and became a phenomenon that the door opened and she walked out – literally. Because even with the name, readers didn’t know it was a woman. They didn’t think women could write books about terror back then.

The famous author was born Cleo Virginia Andrews and also went by Virginia C. Andrews. As Neiderman explains in the biography, she has always been intrigued by family relationships, and this has carried over to her work.

“She was interested in why people who love each other hurt each other – what is the reason?” he says. “Why is there all this tension in family life where it should be easiest? Strangers should be harder than family, but in VC Andrews’ family, well, they had become strangers.”

Neiderman’s evolution in the Andrews universe began by chance. The two authors shared the same agent.

“I was publishing a lot of thrillers which at the time were called horror or terror or just thrillers,” he says. “Novels like ‘Pin’, which was made into a feature film, and eventually ‘The Devil’s Advocate’.”

The latter featured Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino and Charlize Theron on screen.

“But I was in a more graphic and physically violent environment than VC Andrews (creatively),” Neiderman says. “I had several things going for me. I was a teacher and I taught creative writing, so I was very familiar with style variables. The other thing was being a high school teacher, I had a familiarity variable with adolescent issues, especially young women, and so I sort of identified with that.

Still, it must have been daunting to step into Andrews’ shoes.

“It was,” Neiderman says with concrete certainty. However, 36 years after he began his tenure, more than 100 Andrews novels now exist, totaling 107 million copies in book sales worldwide with translations into 25 foreign languages. Collectively, Neiderman has published 156 novels, a mix of his own novels and those under Andrews’ aegis.

Few could have predicted such profound success. However, one tidbit from Andrews leaves room for speculation: the author felt she had the ability to see the future and was convinced she was good at ESP.

Did his “spiritual” affinity reinforce his writing success?

“I think that’s true for most successful writers,” Neiderman says. “You have to have a sense of the future. You have to be able to predict, once you’ve created a character, where that character is going to go. You have to have a sense of destiny. Otherwise, you’re just sitting there on your own. ask, but if you have it in your head and can envision it, your vision is part of the ‘psychic’ part.

“VC Andrews saw so much in the world around her and then kind of predicted, through the things she wrote, what could happen or what would happen – and what will happen,” adds- he. “I think people will be thrilled to learn more about ‘Flowers in the Attic’, how her life was woven into it, where she was born and how she produced it. Some writers ended after a book, but it was her fate that this original title would overshadow everything. But I really think she enjoyed it.

Andrew Neiderman will be featured in an online event for authors on Friday, February 4. For more details, visit www.crowdcast.io/e/vcandrews/register.

Greg Archer writes about agents of change, chance, and the entertainment industry. Her work has appeared in USA Today Network, Palm Springs Life, Huffington Post, The Advocate and other outlets. Her memoir, “Grace Revealed”, chronicles her Polish family’s odyssey during World War II. gregarcher.com.