Fans of the popular V.C. Andrews Dollanganger stories have been getting their fix from recent Lifetime movie adaptations of the 1980s book series, but they probably never thought they’d see another new “Flowers in the Attic” book, as it’s been 27 years since the last one. Well, the craze is far from over, as longtime V.C. Andrews ghostwriter Andrew Neiderman has announced plans to release two more novels in the best-selling series.
The Dollanganger books, which began with “Flowers in the Attic” in 1979, told the tale of Cathy, Christopher, Carrie and Cory Dollanganger, four siblings forced to live in an attic while their mother attempted to win back her father’s heart … and money. That first book sold over 40 million copies in 95 countries and 24 languages, gaining hype for its passages about incest and spawning four sequels: “Petals on the Wind” (1980), “If There Be Thorns” (1981), “Seeds of Yesterday” (1984) and “Garden of Shadows” (1986).
Andrew Neiderman, who took over writing for V.C. Andrews after her death in 1986, revealed exclusively to International Business Times that the sixth installment of the Dollanganger series, "Christopher's Diary," will be broken up into two volumes: “Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth,” to be released this November, and an as-yet-untitled follow-up, in February 2015.
The addition of two novels to the Dollanganger franchise is definitely coming at a good time. Neiderman initially had two other V.C. Andrews novels ready to publish in November 2014 and February 2015, but the big spike in interest since the Lifetime adaptation of “Flowers in the Attic” lead the publishers to push “Christopher’s Diary” ahead.
“It came to me to write ‘Flowers in the Attic’ from another perspective,” Neiderman told IBT in a phone interview. “However it’s much, much more than that.”
“Christopher’s Diary” picks up many years later in Charlottesville, Va., where the horrific events at Foxworth Hall have become nothing but legends and stories to scare the local kids. Around Halloween the newspapers write up scary stories, and some even “claim to have seen or heard the ghost of a little boy crying for his lost brother and sisters.”
“Apparently nobody knows the truth,” Neiderman explained of his chilling new gothic novel. “So it becomes legendary.”
Readers will meet Kristin Masterwood, a 16-year-old whose deceased mother was a distant relative of Malcolm Foxworth. When Kristin’s father is hired by the Charlottesville bank to evaluate the remains of the once grand Foxworth Hall, Kristin tags along and is there when her father discovers a metal box buried in the ruble. Initially believing the box to hold some sort of treasure like money or jewelry, Kristin’s father is disappointed to find an old leather-bound book inside. But the book ends up being treasure to Kristin. Upon reading it, Kristin discovers the book is Christopher Dollanganger’s diary, and that it reveals the shocking truth about what really happened in the attic at Foxworth Hall.
Going against her father’s wishes, Kristin begins to read Christopher’s diary. The book has a “mystical, eerie effect on her,” leading her to become obsessed with the eldest Dollanganger’s perspective on the events that occurred in “Flowers in the Attic,” and having the story “insinuate itself on her life.”
“The key to the story is how the diary affects her and her relationship with her boyfriend, friends and everything else,” Neiderman explained. “And it becomes weird. What happens is the boyfriend discovers the diary … and he decides they should read it together, aloud, up in her attic, and try to get the feel of what it was like. So we have this whole recapture of ‘Flowers in the Attic.’”
However, the V.C. Andrews ghostwriter wanted to make it clear that despite the connection to “Flowers in the Attic,” “Christopher’s Diary” is its own tale.
“'Christopher’s Diary’ is definitely not a rewrite of ‘Flowers in the Attic,’” he said. “You have Christopher’s viewpoint of what happens in there; the events are there, but really the ‘A’ story is Kristin Masterwood. It’s really her story and how the diary affects her, and the thing that makes it unique is how the diary affects the character in the story, [like] ‘Flowers in the Attic’ affected the readership that it had. Those reactions – which are really weird if you read some of them – is kind of what happens to her. She becomes obsessed with it. It takes over her life.”
The story in “Christopher’s Diary” must have consumed Neiderman as well, because it became so big that it turned into two volumes.
“I just got the cover art,” he revealed. “It’s fantastic.”
V.C. Andrews’ Dollanganger series made headlines in January when Lifetime’s remake of the 1979 “Flowers in the Attic” book (and 1987 movie) premiered to over 6.1 million viewers. The Lifetime adaptation helped the novel return to the best-seller list, and lead the network to pick up the second third and fourth books in the series – “Petals on the Wind,” “If There Be Thorns” and “Seeds of Yesterday.”
The rise in popularity has also brought the spotlight to author Andrew Neiderman, who has published over 70 novels as the only ghostwriter for V.C. Andrews since her death in 1986. Besides taking over the V.C. Andrews franchise, Neiderman also publishes stories under his own name, his most famous being 1990s “The Devil’s Advocate.” Currently Neiderman is working on "Judgement Day," a prequel to "The Devil's Advocate" which will be released in spring 2015, and a new book called “The Terrorist’s Holiday,” which will be released this fall.
Andrew Neiderman’s next V.C. Andrews novel, “Christopher’s Diary: Secrets of Foxworth,” will be released in November 2014. Fans can get their Dollanganger fix when Lifetime brings the second installment, “Petals on the Wind,” to the small screen on May 26.