Re: RARA-AVIS: Michael Collins, Mark Sadler, William Arden, etc

From: Dennis Lynds (
Date: 12 May 2005


The publishing world of 1967 was vastly diffferent. Publishers did not want we who wrote many series to use the same name for all of them. They had not yet decided that an author could be a brand name in genres. They certainly did not want a mainstream author to use his own name if he entered the genre field, witness Gore Vidal, C. Day Lewis and others.

I was writing mainstream under Dennis Lynds so Ray Bond at Dodd Mead wanted a pen-name for the Fortune books. I chose Michael Collins in honor of the Irish revolutionary. It was a big mistake, the name is extremely common in Ireland so there are many Michael Collinses who wrote books.

When I decided to do a second series for Dodd Mead featuring an industrial spy named Kane Jackson, I needed a new name and got it off the milk truck that delivered to our door.

Then I sold a third series to Random House, about a PI who worked for a big-time Madison Avenue firm, Paul Shaw, and they did not want any Dodd Mead names, so Mark Sadler was born, primarily because it had the ring of

Next Random wanted a second series, so for the Buena Costa County books I came up with John Crowe---I wanted it to sound "Western," have the ring of an Indian name.

Finally, I sold a series idea to Bobbs-Merrill, and decided on Carl Dekker in honor of the Elizabethan playwright Thomas Dekker. But that series never got off the ground and died after one book.

Of course, the different names did serve to identify different protagonists as well.

Also there were times I would have multiple stories in the same nagazine and they always wanted pen-names for that situation, which is why I invented a handful of one-shot names such as John Douglas and Sheila McErlean (my wife at the time's name)

My biggest mistake was not using Dennis Lynds for the Fortune books, if I had it would have lessened the confusion.

Sometimes the publisher would copyright the peudonymous books in my real name, so the reader could check there, but they didn't always do it.

I'm glad you liked both the Collins and Sadler series. Have you tried the William Arden and John Crowe?

Hope you enjoy UPTOWN DOWNTOWN, but remember that it's a mainstream novel, and semi-autobiographical. The title wasn't my choice. I called it MAN WITH GUITAR.

That clear up anything?

With luck, PontBlank is going to reissue many of my books under the name of Dennis Lynds writing as . . .


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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 12 May 2005 EDT