Sunday, March 06, 2011

TSS: The mysterious identity of author Aaron Fletcher

In this era of the internet, it seems that as readers we have unparalleled access to the lives of our favourite authors. If the author so desires, all their readers can know exactly what they had for dinner on Tuesday, or all about their kids, and what they like to do in their spare time.

Obviously every author is different in terms of what they want to share, as are we all online. For example, whilst I don't mention my son often on my blog or on Twitter, when I do I choose not to name him. It wouldn't take a lot of investigation on anyones part to find out his name, but I don't put it out there for every one to see.

It seems to be generally accepted that having a web presence of some sort is crucial for authors. The depth of involvement can vary between authors. Some may choose just to have a website (regularly updated and current is best), or may choose to blog either as an individual or as part of a group blog (if you are going to blog though, please blog. There is no point in having a blog linked to your website that has only been updated once in the last year and which has no mention of the book that has just been released), perhaps a Facebook page,or a Twitter account. Then there may be forums, guest posting and interviews on other people's blogs - the list is endless.

Even for those authors who choose not to have an online presence, it is usually possible to find out basic information about them from publisher's website or profile on other sites.


So when you come across an author that you can find absolutely nothing about, it comes as something as a surprise. And then that reaction morphs into frustration as you read more and more of their books and you still don't know the most basic information like nationality, and are they still alive, and facts like that.

Aaron Fletcher is one of these authors!
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I started reading Aaron Fletcher's Outback saga last year as part of a group over at Goodreads who enjoy reading big, juicy historical sagas, and since then I have read four books in the series: Outback, Outback Station, Walk About and Wallaby Track. I now have just one more to read and that is Outback Legacy and then I will be done, as far as I know anyway. There are other books out there, but no more that are part of this series.

The Outback Saga books are set in colonial Australia and feature larger than life character who become hugely successful despite the harsh environs of Outback Australia, or maybe in some cases because of them. There's lots of talk about sheep farming in particular. There were certain aspects of the first book that I didn't liked (most particularly the way that Aboriginal communication and family bonds were portrayed) but other than that they are very readable books filled with drama, danger, love and triumph. 

As an Australian, reading a series of books about Australia, I wanted to know what was Aaron Fletcher's background. Is he an Australian because if he is the books count for the Aussie Author Reading Challenge I am participating in, has he worked on a sheep station, how did he do his research. I'm not saying that any of those things need to be true but I wanted to know if that was his background of not.

This series was originally published in the early 90s, but they were all republished only three or four years ago, so I do think it is a bit odd that there is no information about him at all that we have been able to find and believe me there have been a number of us looking for information.

I did wonder if maybe this was an agency author name rather than a writer's actual name, mainly because in some ways the later books did feel as though they were written differently, but I don't have anything to back that up. The only possible piece of information we have been able to find relates to the fact that Aaron Fletcher may have been part of a group of writers who wrote under the name Dana Fuller Ross, and that is a mention on a Facebook fan page so may or may not be true. Other than that - nothing, nada, zilch.

Would it bother you if you couldn't find out anything at all to do with an author. Is there is any such thing as too much information. Do you know something about Aaron Fletcher?

25 comments:

  1. Maddening, isn't it in this day of instant information and there's nothing out there.

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    Replies
    1. Quite a conumdrum. But reading 'Outback' I see the author wrote 'the sheep needed to be sheared'
      A rural based Australian would say 'the sheep needed shearing, or to be shorn'...and I surmise a New Zealander would share our vernacular.
      This leads me to the conclusion (following 'his' first book 'Fronteer Fires') that Aaron Fletcher is American, or just maybe a Canadian.

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  2. I'm not sure if it would bother me...but it's weird that there's no information out there! Have you emailed the publisher?

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  3. Interesting! I'm not a fan of pen names, they do make the author feel less "real" to me (although I don't need to know what he/she ate for breakfast; if a pen name is used, I wonder what can be trusted).

    Like you, I try to limit the info I put on my blog (in regard to my family, anyway), but do know that it wouldn't take much for someone to find details. Hmmm, maybe I should use a pen name :)

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  4. I only have an issue if the publisher is not being up front about it. It doesn't worry me that we don't who Aaron is. But I would be a bit annoyed if it was a cadre of writers and we weren't informed of that.

    I suppose it also depends whats being written too.

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  5. I like to know at least basic information...and if the writer pens his novels under a pseudonym.

    On my website, I state that outright. I write under a pen name, but I also give my "real" name.

    I try to update the website regularly, and I blog obsessively (too much perhaps? LOL).

    Intriguing series of questions. Now my curiosity is piqued.

    Here's MY SUNDAY SALON POST

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  6. I actually very rarely look authors up. I just look books up. I am not sure why that is... I just have never been curious, I suppose. I do sometimes have moments where I want to know something, but generally it is not something that concerns me too much. Not knowing anything would be weird, though...

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  7. That's really odd, especially when you can find almost anything now on the internets. I think I'm more about the books than the authors though but I'd probably be a little suspicious if I couldn't find anything about an author at all.

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  8. Hi, I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award. For details please visit
    http://anglersrest.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-lovely-blog-award.html

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  9. This list at Fantastic Fiction seems to suggest he may be American Marg - lots of American setting novels but a smattering of other countries too. Published 25 novels 1977? to 1996
    However, according to National Library, the books were at times published locally. e.g. ICEPICK was published in NSW 1975 as were some of the others. Local printing seems to point to an Australian author.

    Good Reads says aka James Reasoner and then looking for him on Fantastic Fiction points definitely to an American author

    Thanks for a lovely puzzle!

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  10. From Facebook: Dana Fuller Ross is the pseudonym of James Reasoner, Noel B. Gerson, Aaron Fletcher and Amanda Crowe, best known for there Western historical fiction. They have written a number of series, including the Holt Series, the Wagons West Series, the Wagons West Trilogy and the Wagons West Empire Trilogy. Ross has also written a book based on the Walker, Texas Ranger.

    Whatever that might all mean

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  11. It doesn't bother me that I can find nothing about an author. I've always been content to enjoy the books and chose to read more by that author based on my loved of the work.

    Actually, once I wished I hadn't learned more about the writer. The books he wrote were excellent, but when I met him, he irritated me. I thought he was condescending and rather full of himself. Totally a personality thing that didn't come through his writing.

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  12. That is just rather weird that you can't find out anything about him. I like to know a little about an author that I love, so this kind of thing would drive me crazy. I wonder if you will ever learn any more info?

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  13. I never author stalked before, at least not that I can remember. I don't think if I found something out about an anuthor, it would affect what I thought of their work. Unless it was something shocking, like being a murderer or something.

    Not surprised you couldn't find any info. Some people are just supre private in today's techno age.

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  14. Oh that's all very mysterious! I wonder who Aaron Fletcher really is?!

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  15. Yeah, it's weird when you can't find anything about an author, isn't it? Like Book Gatherer, now I want to know who he is.

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  16. Aaron Fletcher and Kenneth Roberts are my favorite authors...Aaron first. Many years ago, I found his obituary on the Internet. I believe he was a Kiwi. Never could find out anything else though...yes, very strange that the Outback and New Zealand Series never made it to the movies...very strange. Even his original obit is gone.

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  17. I read Outback in 1978, so it's been around a while. Still have the paperback from then. Just returned from Australia and plan to reread it, and was looking for info on Fletcher when I found your blog. Interesting to see that the book is still available. It certainly made an impression on me when I read it.

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  18. I read the last in the Outback series - "Outback Legacy" - just a few months ago. The first chapter was hard going as it was packed with tons of exposition. After that, I was hooked like a hadn't been in years. What a fantastic read! It's such a captivating story. The characters are so rich and well-developed and the story is a constant page-turner with Fletcher juggling a lot of subplots and characters.
    I've since been looking for the rest in the series and trying to find info about this great author. There is no info. None. This blog page is the most I have been able to find out.

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  19. Just re-read old favorite, Outback for the 4th?- 5th? time - going on for the series, which I've had maybe 20 yrs. The last time I wasn't even on the internet, so over 6 yrs. (In my 80s - resisted a long time). So, trying to find out something about one of my favorite authors, and zilch! Would really like to know. At least I see other books listed. Will check some out!

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  20. i am reading the series again too.
    probably for the 3rd of 4th time.
    I LOVE IT
    Its funny how the first book was written in 1978 when i was only 6.
    To me its seems like an endless story
    like
    THE WIZARD OF OZ
    THE SOUND OF MUSIC
    CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

    These are been passed down from generation to generation.
    If only these wonderful books where brought out in movie form i think they too would go down in history.

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  21. I've enjoyed all the Aaron Fletcher reads and wondered how he learned so much about early Australia. His characters and settings,happenings, fascinated me. I looked him up but he hid from his readers! His books are republished. We all enjoy reading them because his books are so alive! And he is still hiding from his fans!

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  22. Glad im im not the only one who likes these books! Im a big reader but these books are just amazing, especially walkabout. The Kerrick and Garrity families are epic, really cant understand why there has never been a film made!

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  23. Interesting discussion as I've always had the same problem with finding no information on Aaron. I read several of his books before I did a search on him and was convinced he was a she. I couldn't believe some of the insights he had on his female characters. No man could understand that! Then I found "his" picture on the internet and that was the end of my insights. Now this discussion brings the Aaron's gender into question again. So is Aaron a woman?

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  24. From: James Reasoner Re: Aaron Fletcher
    Ken, No, [I'm not Aaron Fletcher] Aaron Fletcher is a totally different guy, and that's his real name, as far as I know. We both wrote under the name Dana Fuller Ross at different times. He wrote #17 - 24 of the Wagons West series, and I wrote the two Wagons West prequel trilogies, The Frontier Trilogy and The Empire Trilogy. I think Fletcher has written under a few other names, too, but I don't recall them at the moment. And of course he's published a number of books under his own name.
    Ken (KennethBrock@shaw.ca)

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