V.C. Andrews Biography
Best selling gothic novelist Cleo Virginia Andrews was born on June 6, 1923 in Rochester, New York to parents William Henry Andrews and Lillian Lilnora Parker. (source: 1930 Federal Census)
V. C. Andrews, as she was better known to her fans, wrote the infamous novel Flowers in the Attic. This shocking tale of four children locked in the attic of one of the most wealthy families in Virginia by their estranged religious grandmother for four horrifying years instantly became a best seller in 1979. Ms. Andrews was world renowned for her ability to tell shocking stories. This shock factor is what has kept her fans loyal to her and her ghostwriter for the last two decades.
Many critics have claimed that her writing style was eccentric, not to mention the fact that they believed her novels to be immoral. In 1983 Flowers in the Attic was banned from all schools because of its offensive passages concerning incest and for its explicit sexual content. However, Ms. Andrews thrived on the novel's controversy. It's controversy only encouraged and inspired her to write more edgy novels such as My Sweet Audrina and Flowers sequel Petals in the Wind.
Because Andrews was always pushing the envelope, she earned many awards for her writing. In 1984 she was named "Professional Woman of the Year" by the city of Norfolk, Virginia. However, she earned an even greater achievement when in 1986 the American Booksellers Association named her "The Number One Best selling Author of Popular Horror and Occult Paperbacks" beating out Stephen King.
As thrilling as her life became, it was not always that way. When Andrews was only a teenager, she suffered from severe back injuries which where the result of a fall in a school stair well. Although her family attempted to correct her back injury through experimental surgery, their attempts only failed. However, not only did they fail but the surgery left Andrews with arthritis and confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. Andrews' mother, Lillian Andrews, was very over protective of her and tried to keep her indoors and away from the cruel outside world. However, Andrews was young, strong, and determined to reach her dreams and would not allow herself to be shunned from the world.
One of those dreams was to be a painter. Painting was her first love and she was very talented at it. Andrews soon became a very successful fashion illustrator, portrait painter, and commercial artist. Selfless as she was Andrews used her success painting to help to financially support her family.
V. C. Andrews began her writing career much later in her life at the age of 48. Although she was an avid reader of all the classics, she became bored of their predictability and decided to write her own stories. In 1972 she wrote her first novel The Gods of the Green Mountains which was a science fiction/fantasy story never to be published. Nine novels and twenty short stories followed from 1972-1979. Only one of the short fiction stories entitled I Slept with My Uncle on My Wedding Night, was published. Finally, Andrews submitted for publication a novel entitled The Obsessed. This novel was returned to Ms. Andrews with the suggestion that she spice up the content more and it would be considered for publication. Later the novel's name was changed from The Obsessed to Flowers in the Attic which became a number one best seller in only two weeks. The next year the novel's sequel Petals on the Wind was published and remained on the New York Times Best sellers List for nineteen weeks. Because of this sequel's success, Flowers also returned to the best seller's list. These two novels sold more than seven million copies in only two years.
The novels that followed If There Be Thorns (1981), Seeds of Yesterday (1984), Heaven, (1985), and Dark Angel (1986) all instantly became best sellers. However, one novel Andrews wrote in 1982 entitled My Sweet Audrina, a break from the Dollanganger series, topped all sales figures from her previous novels prior to that year and was considered her most successful novel.
Andrews lived to see her cult classic Flowers in the Attic turned into a movie. Ms. Andrews played the small role of a window-washing maid which for filled her lifelong fantasy of becoming an actress. However, the movie was not released until 1987, a year after her death so Andrews never knew her fan's reaction to it.
After her death, two more of her novels where published: Garden of Shadows (prequel to Flowers) and Fallen Hearts (third novel in the Casteel series). These two were the last novels that Andrews physically wrote. Because Andrews told the Washington Post that she had 63 synopses for other stories, after her death her family declared that more of Andrews' stories would be published in the future. The family hired a mysterious ghostwriter to continue Andrews' legacy. The ghostwriter's identity was held secret from Andrews' fans for years. However, the ghostwriter was finally unmasked as Andrew Neiderman best known for his novel The Devil's Advocate published in 1990 and adapted into a movie released in 1997. Since the unfortunate death of V. C. Andrews, Neiderman has appeased her fan's by keeping her stories alive. At the time of her death, V. C. Andrews had over twenty four-million books in print and her estate was worth more than eight million dollars. VC died on December 19, 1986 in Portsmouth Virginia of breast cancer at the age of 62.