|Cleo Virginia Andrews began writing later in life than most authors. In 1972, when she was 49, she wrote her first novel. It was not published. Between then and 1979, she wrote nine more, all complete novels and all of which were rejected by publishers, along with a handful of short stories. In 1979, however, everything changed, including her name. When her novel FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC was published to great commercial success--though it, and her subsequent work, was critically thrashed--Andrews was reportedly as surprised as anyone to find that her name was now V. C. Andrews. Apparently her publisher had decided, without consulting her, that the gender neutrality of her initials (though reversed) would deflect what they perceived would be a negative response to a female "horror" writer. With the enormous success of the book, the initials stuck. From then on, writing mostly in the evenings, Andrews wrote six more bestsellers, outselling all other horror writers, including Stephen King. When she died in 1986, she left behind several partially completed manuscripts and a notebook full of ideas for subsequent novels. Her estate hired another writer, Andrew Neiderman, to complete the unfinished books and write ones based on the notes. All of these books, starting with GARDEN OF SHADOWS, were bestsellers, and as a result, Neiderman has continued to create new novels, thus keeping the name V. C. Andrews alive.