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Five Bestselling Author Handoffs and Collaborations

By Beth Clark • January 31, 2019

Did you know that Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series, also wrote book #6 in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams? Or that David Foster Wallace's editor finished writing The Pale King? True story. Turns out, there have been other hand-offs and collaborations, so here are five of the best and the stories behind them.

And Another Thing…

And Another Thing… is the continuation of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, who passed away in 2001. At the time of his death, there were five books in the series, which was already a two-fer bonus since Adams originally intended it to be a trilogy. (We're thankful he kept going!) And Another Thing… is what happens when an author who's been a fan of another author since he was a kid gets permission from that (now late) author's widow (Jane Belson)...and nails it. Arthur, Zaphod, and Marvin live on!

Turns out, Colfer is just one of many esteemed authors who've played a part in continuing Adams' legacy, most through the Douglas Adams Memorial Lecture series. Lecturers have included Neil Gaiman, Dr. Adam Rutherford, Roger Highfield, Clive Anderson, Simon Singh, and even Dr. Richard Leakey.

The Pale King

When author David Foster Wallace died, the novel he was working on, The Pale King, was unfinished. In an unusual post-humous collaboration that worked extraordinarily well, his editor of 15 years, Michael Pietsch, finished writing Wallace's novel, and it went on to become not only a bestseller, but a Pulitzer Prize finalist. And the beauty of it is that but it's a deeply compelling and satisfying novel, hilarious and fearless and as original as anything Wallace ever undertook. It grapples directly with ultimate questions of life's meaning and of the value of work and society through characters imagined with the interior force and generosity that were Wallace's unique gifts. Along the way it suggests a new idea of heroism and commands infinite respect for one of the most daring writers of our time.

Collaborations Between Authors

Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
If you've read Good Omens and seen the trailer for the Prime Video adaptation starring David Tennant, Michael Sheen, and Jon Hamm set to be released in 2019, then you know just how incredibly well Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett did on collaborating. Their tale of The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies written in 1655, the armies of Good and Evil, Divine Plan, Rapture, and the misplaced Antichrist had some divine intervention of its own going on.

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
When Rachel Cohn and David Levithan collaborated to write their bestselling novel, Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, which also became a hit movie, they did it with only three rules, no outline, swapped chapters as they went, and each of them took one POV character. That takes some serious trust and compatibility. The rules? The story had to take place in New York City, all in one night, to two kids from New Jersey, and neither author could contradict anything that happened in the other persons chapters. To say they #nailedit would be an understatement!

Which is why they did it again with Dash & Lily's Book of Dares using essentially the same format, only this time, the book's characters also write back and forth to each other and hand a book off when their turn is finished. It starts when Lily leaves a red notebook of dares on a bookstore shelf, with a note that says, “I've left some clues for you. If you want them, turn the page. If you don't, put the book back on the shelf, please.” Dash finds it and it leads to a whirlwind romance of shared dares, dreams, and desires all over New Yok City. Clearly, Cohn and Levithan collaborate well and have rockin' writing chemisty.

Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
If asked, most young women would probably readily admit that the last person they'd want to collaborate with on a writing a book would be their mothers. But it works beautifully for Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha van Leer, who've now written two bestselling YA books together, titled Between the Lines (Book #1 in the Between the Lines Series) and Off the Page (Book #2 in the Between the Lines Series).

This list certainly gave us some fun titles to add to our ThriftBooks Carts (yep, we shop here too) and our #TBR stacks, so hopefully it sparked some excitement for you too. Let us know if we missed any authors who should be included here in the comments below!

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Bibliophiles | Comedy | SciFi | Fantasy | YA
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