Author teams and pen names – if the story’s good, does it matter? Not to me!

The book I’m reading and enjoying right now, A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd, was written by a mother and son team (Charles and Caroline Todd). I recently read another excellent book, Blue Monday by Nicci French. That’s a husband and wife team, Nicci Gerard and Sean French. Last year I read an engrossing YA story, Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, written by a father and son. The Shustermans don’t combine their names, so it’s plain to the reader that it’s written by two people. That got me thinking. If a story is good, does it matter if it’s a collaborative effort? Do you feel tricked when the book has one author name but it’s really two people?

What about pseudonyms? Did you know that romance writer Nora Roberts also writes a police series as J. D. Robb? Using a different name is nothing new. Benjamin Franklin used many different pen names, including Martha Careful and Silence Dogood. And of course there are the Brontё sisters, AKA the Bells, Charlotte as Currer, Emily as Ellis and Ann as Acton. In fact, the more you look for authors who have used pseudonyms, the more you find. Take a look at this List of pen names on Wikipedia and you will see how many.

It doesn’t matter to me if a book is written by two people, even when they combine their names so it looks like one author wrote it. If the story is good, it’s good and the reader benefits. And it’s kind of like being in on a secret if you know.

Think about great shows and how many writers they have. Does that make the show less entertaining? Definitely not! That applies to music too. Great bands are great because they collaborate.

So I know that I don’t care if a story is written by one or a couple writers. But what do you think? Does it matter to you? Can you add to this list?

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