For those of you who watch the TV show Castle, you are probably aware that even though Richard Castle is a fictitious character, you can actually purchase his Nikki Heat books in real life. Sales figures from stores such as Barnes and Noble and Amazon illustrate just how popular his books are with Castle fans.
But let’s be honest, a fictitious character can’t write a book, which explains why one of the most frequently asked questions online is “Who writes the Richard Castle books?”
I’m pretty sure I know (spoiler: it’s not Justin Bieber).
1. The person who writes the books is female (No, it’s still not Justin). Richard Castle’s ghostwriter is a woman. I have read six of the seven Castle books, and I like them a lot. But the one thing I notice is that at least twice in each book, Castle thinks or acts like a woman. It’s nothing obvious like leaving the toilet seat down, or enjoying a corn dog just a little too much, it’s simply that, occasionally, he seems to sound an awful lot like Nikki Heat or the female medical examiner. Sometimes he just oozes estrogen.
2. The person who writes the books is probably married. The banter between Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook sometimes plays out like a married couple. It sounds too comfortable. It doesn’t depict playful dialog or the sexually charged atmosphere of two co-workers flirting with each other.
3. The person who writes the books has a very distinct “voice”. “Voice” describes the style or inflection of the writer. It’s the way someone describes scenes or creates dialog; no two writers do it exactly the same way.
For example, if I asked Stephen King and JK Rowling to write a short story about the first day of kindergarten, we could probably figure out who wrote which – we recognize the voice of our favorite authors. Of course, if the story is about a kindergarten teacher being disemboweled by a psychopathic six-year old, and buried in the school sandbox, we might have a clue as to the author’s identity.
4. Finally, this particular writer has a “tell”. In several of the books, the detectives speed off to the crime scene, but before doing so, place the portable light and siren on the roof of the squad car. Our writer likes to use the term “gumball” when referring to this light, as it slightly resembles an old-style gumball machine. This term is not very common; I believe the last time it was used was during the Starsky & Hutch era of television. I have only heard this term used in two of the Castle television episodes, and they were both written by the same author.
The person, who penned these two episodes, and the obvious ghostwriter of the Richard Castle books, is Terri E. Miller, one of the Castle writers and producers.
**UPDATE September 1, 2015** I just finished reading the sixth book, Raging Heat, which was great, but I have to say I think this book was written by someone other than Terri E. Miller. The voice on this one sounds totally different than the last five books. I guess it’s time to figure out the new author author now- maybe Terri’s husband, Castle creator, Andrew Marlowe? He’s also an amazing writer- so it could definitely be him.
Another mystery to be solved!