A few years ago a mystery novel, The Calling, was published under the name Inger Ash Wolfe and there was a lot of speculation about who the author really was - and last Friday Canadian novelist Michael Redhill outed himself, so to speak:


There's also an interview with him here:


The part of this that seems like it might be interesting for the kind of discussions we're having here these days is this (from the first link above):

At the same time, the technology of reading was changing, too. I'm not even going to talk about all the hand-held computers or the Internet. But by 2010, it became evident that Inger couldn't carry on in her happy aerie. If she wanted to keep going, someone needed to speak for her, and seeing as she was nonexistent, I got the job.





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I recall the hype.  Somehow, the novels didn't reach me.  I wonder why.  Were they really worth all the hoopla?  And what did they prove?  That the majority of book buyers want books by women?  With female characters? Preferably middle-aged and overweight?

And what ended the charade?  Was it the e-book revolution?  That doesn't make sense.  Inger can publish through Amazon just like everyone else.


Inger?  Must be the Scandinavian thing, too.  How to succeed by design. The Dan Brown thing.


Sorry.  Feeling snarky today.

No, no, I'm snarky, too, it's understandable. The Inger thing always seemed far too calculated to me, too. Some people now seem disappointed that the writer is a man. I guess it depends on what you had invested in the books to begin with.

My guess is that the publisher told him he'd have to get online and promote the books because they aren't doing much promotion anymore. Sure, he can publish through Amazon but someone still has to do some promotion.


Yes, you're probably right.  Sales have slowed down drastically, so we drop another publicity bomb.

I'm writing my new mystery series as a woman, but unlike Inger Ash Wolfe, I wasn't smart enough to keep it a secret.

Just curious, Grant, why are you doing that?

Hey John: I would like to say that it's a calculated business decision with big dividends, but it just happened to be the voice that spoke most clearly to me as a writer. Angel With A Bullet is written in first-person-female perspective through the eyes of wisecracking, alternative newspaper reporter Dixie Flynn. I felt going with a feminine sounding pen name was the right move so that it's not immediately transparent that the books are written by a male. The pen name is M.C. Grant - so we're not trying too hard to hide it. The series will be published in the U.S., Canada and the UK by Midnight Ink. Angel With A Bullet launches on Sept. 8.

On that note, if you see initial-initial-last name, do you assume it's a woman? Unless it's C.S. Lewis, I do. I believe this is a tradition going back to the time when it wasn't considered "womanly" to write.

Anyone else think the same way when they see initials?

Yes. Female authors used initials to make it seem that they were male, but it became so common that now it tends to imply female.

Arrgh!  You're probably right.  I did it because I didn't want my books (with a a male protagonist) to be labeled "female fiction".  This can be particularly bad for historical fiction. (I wonder why P.D. James did it.) 

In spite of the fact that I kept my identity strictly secret (writing genderless descriptions of the author and refusing to allow pictures to be used), the secret got out within the first year.  I was "outed" by a librarian!

I'm afraid I don't like much of the fiction produced by women these days.  There are notable exceptions, but by and large female authors write incredibly light and fluffy stuff with minimal research. They also see the world only through female eyes.  I don't need that sort of perspective.

The downside is that more women buy books than men.  You'd think they'd learn about quality.


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