Thursday, February 07, 2013

What is it about the Blairs?

In the UK we had, until recently, a well known writer of what the trade thinks of as 'women's fiction'. The author's name was Emma Blair.

For at least the last decade I've been aware that Emma Blair was actually a man. Can't remember where I picked this up, but I do remember having a phone conversation with his editor, several years ago, in which I asked if it would upset her if I referred to her author's true gender in print. No, she said, it wouldn't, as the fact was fairly widely known. Anyway, I have to report, courtesy of Wikipedia, that our author died of diabetes in 2011.

To take a look-see at what Emma Blair produced over a period of 30 years, go to our old reliable friend Fantastic Fiction. There you will see that Emma was undeniably a bloke, true name Iain. And he was a real Scot, where they tend to spell simple Ian in various different ways.

Just how big a seller Iain/Emma was I don't know, but steady and respectable I would say. And he was successful enough to be nominated for the Romantic Novel of the Year title in 1998.

Anyway, it turns out that there's another bloke who also writes women's fiction, this time under the name Jessica Blair. This author, however, isn't a real Blair. His name is Bill Spence, and the Daily Mail 'unmasked' him yesterday. Since 1993 Bill has written 22 romantic novels, the latest of which, Silence of the Snow, is just out.

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