Friday, February 17, 2012

Me and my buddy Carolyn Keene

As I ever-so-often do, I was Googling myself yesterday. (cue the chorus telling me to set up a Google Alert for my pen name)

I was actually looking for some new reviews, but instead I came across something that I think is way cooler than a review.

Diesel E-bookstore lists Codename: Dancer as one of two books in the "More From This Category" on the listing for The Secret of the Old Clock! Yes, THAT Secret of the Old in the very first Nancy Drew book EVER!

Raise your hand if you've read this one. (I should see all hands in the air...if you haven't, you should definitely do so, since it's a classic. I think it should be required reading as a young girl for all women who grow up to read or write mysteries.)

Needless to say, my jaw dropped when I saw that. Seriously? WOW! Now, I happen to think that my heroine Dani is a little hipper than Nancy and that the books would appeal to a slightly older age group, but if you write mysteries for teens, you can't really do much better than to be compared to Nancy Drew. Whoohoo!

As we all know, the author responsible for the Nancy Drew franchise is not actually any one author, but rather a number of authors ghostwriting under the pen name Carolyn Keene. Edward Stratemeyer, the founder of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, hired writers, beginning with Mildred Wirt (later Mildred Wirt Benson), to write the manuscripts for the Nancy Drew books. The writers initially were paid $125 for each book and were required by their contract to give up all rights to the work and to maintain confidentiality. Benson and Harriet Adams (Stratemeyer's daughter) are often credited as the primary writers of Nancy Drew books under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene, but many others have used the pseudonym as well.

Over the years Nancy has undergone many changes and updates. Originally she was 16 years old (although a high school graduate), then in later years her age was changed to 18. Different series over the years have included the original books ("The Nancy Drew Mystery Series"), as well as "The Nancy Drew Files," "Girl Detective," "Nancy Drew on Campus" (where she finally goes away to college and breaks up with Ned) and "Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew" (which is the chapter book version aimed at 7-year-olds).

The other day I attended the grand opening of the American Women Writers National Museum, a new museum that is opening in Washington DC to honor our nation's most distinguished women writers. As the president of Washington Romance Writers, I was asked to introduce myself and name my favorite American woman writer. I always hate that question. It's like asking you to pick your favorite child. But being a mystery writer I decided I had to go with Carolyn Keene, which elicited a sigh of agreement from many of the people in attendence.

The founder of the museum is most excited about her "50 State Project" where she features a different state each week. When I mentioned I would be blogging about the opening, she asked if I could ask my readers to nominate women writers from their states to be showcased.

So who would you nominate? Leave a comment by 9 pm EST on Sunday and you'll be entered to win an e-book copy of both The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene and Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice!


Zita said...

Since I'm from the Great White North, I'm going to nominate an Alaskan writer: Dana Stabenow. I hope that's okay and that you'll allow a Canadian to be a nominal Alaskan :-)

Kima said...

I have to go with Eileen Dreyer from Illinois. My library hosted an author event with Eileen a number of years ago and I have remained in periodic contact with her ever since. She is one of the most gracious, intelligent, and funny people I have ever met. Her books, in all genres, are always a joy to read.

Na said...

My vote would also go to "Carolyn Keene". I grew up on Nancy Drew books and love the intelligent female protagonist.