What started out as a vague idea about a Father’s Day reading list and books written by famous fathers has led me to wondering about sons who have followed in the footsteps of their literary fathers. A quick search of the Internet provided a short list with the majority of those appearing on it being a surprise to me. Alexandre Dumas? Certainly, I’m familiar with The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, and The Man in the Iron Mask. When it comes to Camille, however, it wasn’t until moments ago that I knew that was written by the novelist’s son (bearing the same name).
Looking at current authors, Stephen King is an obvious choice. He has been around for years, since the sale of his first book (Carrie) in 1973. Decades later, he’s is taking up a significant amount of shelf space in your local library, and he is still going strong and his next novel (The Institute) is due out in September.
King’s son wrote “under cover” for a while, using the pseudonym of Joe Hill to establish his work in the horror genre without being linked to his famous dad. Heart-Shaped Box, Hill’s first novel, debuted in 2007, and since then, he has published dozens of novellas and several more novels including NOS4A2 which is due to become a TV series from AMC.
Jonathan Kellerman is another literary dad who has been practicing his craft for years. His first novel, When the Bough Breaks, came out in 1985 and won the Edgar Allan Poe and Anthony Boucher Awards for Best First Novel. In the years since, Kellerman has released, on average, one book each year.
Jesse Kellerman was seven years old at the time When the Bough Breaks was published. Now an adult, he has co-authored four books with his famous father, penned award-winning plays, and written five solo novels as well.
While I was surprised to find some of these father-son connections, I have no doubt there are more out there. Every father who reads his child a bedtime or spins a yarn to enchant his young listener is helping to create a reader or hopefully another writer to delight future generations.
To all the fathers out there lucky enough to have sons or daughters willing to follow in their footsteps, Happy Father’s Day!
Jackie Zataweski is the director of the Nottoway County Library in Crewe, Virginia. She is a frequent contributor to This Awful-Awesome Life.