Wed 14 Sep 2011
In the course of my internet boogling this week, I ran across a link to this list of the 20 Most Prolific Authors And Writers In Literary History. As I perused it my brain came to a screeching halt – okay that’s not so unusual. But this list is of some darned unusual folks. And keep in mind that it’s the duck lady calling someone strange.
The info is doubtless dated a bit by now, but even if some other folks have managed the mind-bending feat of scampering onto this list, it in no way diminishes the “wow” factor of the achievement of these authors. By all the faeries on the Isle of Skye, take a look at the numbers.
The most prolific author remains a lady who passed away in 1973 – Mary Faulkner of South Africa. I’m guessing that between 1903 and 1973 there must not have been a lot of TV in South Africa. No, I know what it was. The internet wasn’t sapping everyone’s attention. Then again, people were still writing on typewriters. Hmm. However she managed it, Mrs. Faulkner wrote 904 books. Yes. You read that right – 904 books.
She wrote under a bunch of pen names including Kathleen Lindsay. Her romances include “There is No Tomorrow,” “Wind of Desire,” and “Harvest of Deceit.” I’m wondering if I checked one of hers out from my local library as a teenager. I found a book there that I flat out adored and it was shelved near Johanna Lindsay’s work. Years later, before I’d ever written a word, I was looking for that book and emailed Ms. Johanna Lindsay because I thought it was one of hers. She replied and said that based on my description it sounded very interesting but that it wasn’t hers. She suggested that I write it myself.
Some years later I proceeded to write a number of books – but I haven’t made 20 yet so Ms. Faulkner’s record sure looks safe from me. But I’ve never written one based on my faint memories of that earlier book by someone that I’m sure I read somewhere. Of course, by the time I emailed Ms. Johanna Lindsay I’d read more romance novels that you could shake a stick at and I’d already started mulling over how I’d write one of my own. So Johanna was right on track to suggest that I write it myself – she likely suspected that the plot I recited didn’t belong to anyone else.
Now, I’m wondering if my mystery book might have been one of Ms. Faulkner’s. They don’t seem to be widely available a’tall. And the truly aggravating part is that when I see them sold somewhere, the stores don’t include a description of the book. Why on earth wouldn’t they describe the book? I’m not buying a pig from anyone’s poke – including the most prolific writer in history.
A man named Lauran (Paine) wrote 850 books. Another, Prentiss Ingram, wrote over 600 books, mostly dime novels. He wrote a bunch of Buffalo Bill stuff and sometimes wrote a 35,000 word book overnight. Okay, 35K is a darned short book, even in today’s ebook age, but it’s still a heck of an achievement.
There’s no way on God’s little green planet that I’d even touch the last author on the list – L.T. Meade who wrote 258 children’s books. I could give it a shot, but I’m not sure that there’s enough coffee in the galaxy to fuel the effort, and I’m positive the Graham budget wouldn’t stretch to funding bionic fingers.
But I’m surely quacking full of admiration for all of the authors who were energetic enough and imaginative enough to make this list.
……maybe if I mainlined the coffee…….