V.C. Andrews

Novelist V.C. Andrews is best known for her Dollanganger series: Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday and Garden of Shadows.


V.C. Andrews was born on June 6, 1923, in Portsmouth, Virginia. In 1979, she published Flowers in the Attic, the first installment of her Dollanganger series. She went on to write three sequels. In 1985, Andrews published the first novel of her Casteel series, Heaven. Its sequel hit the stands the following year. After Andrews died—on December 19, 1986, in Virginia Beach—writer Andrew Neiderman completed both series.

Early Life

The youngest of William Henry and Lillian Lilnora Andrews's three children, novelist V.C. Andrews was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, on June 6, 1923. While the writer was growing up, her father worked as a die maker and her mother as a phone operator. Thirsting for a more adventurous life, the young Andrews spent much of her free time escaping into the world of books.

As a teen, Andrews attended Portsmouth's Woodrow Wilson High School, where she developed a passion for art and theater. In her young adulthood, she developed rheumatoid arthritis, which later confined her to a wheel chair. Following her completion of a four-year art correspondence course, Andrews spent several years working as a successful commercial artist, portraitist and fashion illustrator.

Writing Career

Despite Andrews's artwork being featured in several galleries, she found her career path unfulfilling, so she began to write on the side, averaging 30-40 pages a night. Increasingly drawn toward the fictional worlds that she had inhabited as child, in 1979, Andrews published Flowers in the Attic, the first book in what would come to be known as her Dollanganger series. Though critics gave the book harsh reviews, it was an immediate mainstream success, reaching the top of best-seller list just two weeks after its release.

Andrews went on to write three sequels in rapid succession: Petals on the Wind (1980), If There Be Thorns (1981) and Seeds of Yesterday (1984). All were quick hits with readers, who couldn't seem to get enough of the greed, incest and neglect taking place behind closed doors at the Dollanganger family estate. Between If There Be Thorns and Seeds of Yesterday, Andrews wrote the stand-alone novel My Sweet Audrina (1982).

In 1985, Andrews published the first novel of her Casteel series, Heaven. Its first sequel, Dark Angel, hit the stands the following year.

Death and Posthumous Publication

Andrews died of breast cancer on December 19, 1986, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In 1987, writer Andrew Neiderman completed and published Garden of Shadows, the final book in the Dollanganger series, under V.C. Andrews's name. Based on V.C. Andrews's notes and outlines, Neiderman also penned the last three books of the Casteel series, Fallen Hearts (1988), Gates of Paradise (1989) and Web of Dreams (1990), under the same pseudonym. Neiderman likewise wrote—and attributed to Andrews—several additional book series.

In addition to these novels, two self-titled movie adaptations based on V.C. Andrews's Flowers in the Attic were released posthumously. In 1987, New World Pictures and Fries Entertainment released a silver-screen version; in 2014, Lifetime Pictures released a television-movie version starring Heather Graham and Ellen Burstyn.

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