The Literary Saloon, whom God preserve, gives us a link to a story in the Yorkshire Post about a man who has written (and had published) some 325 books.
His name is Charles Whiting, and I thought I hadn't heard of him until I was three quarters of the way through the article, and then the pen-name Leo Kessler appears. Well, I've heard of him all right. Though you probably won't have, because you're not as old as me, and you probably don't poke your nose into as many dark corners of the book trade as I do.
The Kessler books are interesting in that they are novels about the second world war written from the German point of view. And they normally feature the average squaddie -- or grunt, I think is the American term -- in other words, soldiers of the very lowest rank. The covers usually feature a storm-trooper in uniform. And the bibliography of Kessler novels is far too long to count. The series began in 1974 and the latest one appeared in 2004.
All in all, Whiting is precisely the kind of fiction writer that I admire most. Have I ever read him? Not knowingly. But that's not the point. Here is a man who writes six days a week, and has done for decades. He knows how to do the job. He is a professional. And I know of no higher compliment.
Whiting never gets interviewed in the Guardian or shortlisted for the Booker. The Times Lit Supp is never going to review him. And he didn't take an MFA. But he has learnt the hard way how to communicate with readers, and he obviously has battalions of fans. And I venture to suggest that he makes most literary fancypants self-obsessives look like the rank amateurs that they are.