Born Cleo Virginia Andrews, V.C. Andrews was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. She was the youngest child and only daughter of the Andrews family. As a teenager, Andrews suffered a fall from a school stairwell, resulting in severe back injuries. The subsequent surgery to correct these injuries resulted in Andrews’s suffering from crippling arthritis that required her to use crutches and a wheelchair for much of her life. However, Andrews, who had always shown promise as an artist, was able to complete a four-year correspondence course from her home and soon became a successful commercial artist, illustrator, and portrait painter.
Later in life, Andrews turned to writing. Her first novel, titled Gods of Green Mountain, was a science fiction effort that remained unpublished during her lifetime but was released as an e-book in 2004. In 1975, Andrews completed a manuscript for a novel she called The Obsessed. The novel was returned with the suggestion that she “spice up” and expand the story. In later interviews, Andrews claims to have made the necessary revisions in a single night, re-submitting the changes as Flowers in the Attic. The novel, published in 1979, was an instant popular success, reaching the top of the bestseller lists in only two weeks. Every year thereafter until her death, Andrews published a new novel, each publication earning Andrews larger advances and a growing popular readership.
“I think I tell a whopping good story. And I don’t drift away from it a great deal into descriptive material”, she stated in Faces of Fear in 1985. “When I read, if a book doesn’t hold my interest about what’s going to happen next, I put it down and don’t finish it. So I’m not going to let anybody put one of my books down and not finish it. My stuff is a very fast read.”
Andrews died of breast cancer on December 19, 1986, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After her death, her family hired a ghost writer Andrew Neiderman, to finish the manuscripts she had started. He would complete the next two novels, Garden of Shadows and Fallen Hearts, and they were published soon after. These two novels are considered the last to bear the “V.C. Andrews” name and to be almost completely written by Andrews herself.
I have just recently re-read the Dollenganger series by Andrews. It is a very compelling story and almost unbelievable. It blows my mind that something like this – hiding children in the attic in order to gain a fortune – could ever happen. Andrews writes such compelling stories that you don’t really want to know what happens next but you can’t put the book down.
Have you ready any books by V.C. Andrews? Which one (or series) was your favorite?
- Yesssss: Lifetime Is Making ‘Flowers in the Attic’ Movie (jezebel.com)