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Born on June 6, 1924 in Portsmouth, Va., Virginia Cleo ("V. C.") Andrews was one of three children of William Henry and Lillian Lilnora. Andrews worked as a commercial fashion and portrait artist for a time. However, after her father's death in the late 1960s and the family's subsequent move to Manchester, Mo, she began what she described as "closet" writing. It was her publisher's decision to use the initials V. C. rather than her full name. This was done for the purpose of neutralizing her gender so as to sell to adult male audiences; the common belief was that men did not like to read books by women writers. Andrews eventually became a full-time writer. Her first novel was a science fiction fantasy entitled The Gods of the Green Mountains, published in 1972. In 1980, she published the bestseller Flowers in the Attic, followed by Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows; all of which comprise the Dollanganger Series. Andrews died of breast cancer on December 19, 1986, in Virginia Beach, Virginia. After her death, her family hired a ghost writer, Andrew Neiderman, to finish the manuscripts she had started. He would complete the next two novels, Garden of Shadows and Fallen Hearts, and they were published soon after. These two novels are considered the last to bear the "V. C. Andrews" name and to be almost completely written by Andrews herself. She left a legacy of books that have been sold worldwide and translated into 13 foreign languages. (Bowker Author Biography) V.C. Andrews' novels have sold more than eighty-five million copies and have been translated into sixteen foreign languages. All 38 of V.C. Andrews' novels have hit the New York Times bestseller list. (Publisher Provided)
— biography from Blumen der Nacht
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Cleo Virginia (she later reversed her names) Andrews was the youngest of three children. She grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia and excelled in school -- she skipped both the third and the sixth grades. As a teenager, she had a serious accident, falling down the stairs at school and suffering severe hip and back injuries, and later arthritis, that caused her to spend most of her life on crutches or in a wheelchair.
After graduation from high school, she completing a four-year correspondence art course while living at home. Following the death of her father, Andrews and her mother moved first to Missouri and then to Arizona to be near her brothers. Andrews helped to support her family through her successful career as a commercial artist, portrait painter, and fashion illustrator.

She originally kept her writing a secret. She sold three Gothic romances under a pseudonym and without an agent, and before that she wrote stories for pulp confession magazines. In 1975, she completed a manuscript for a novel she titled The Obsessed. The novel was returned to her with the suggestion that she "spice it up" and expand the story. In interviews, Andrews claims to have made the revisions in a single night, re-submitting the book as Flowers in the Attic. This novel, published in 1979, was an instant and hugely popular success, reaching the top of the bestseller lists in only two weeks. The publisher assigned her the pen name of V.C. Andrews to mask her gender from readers. Every year after that until her death from breast cancer, Andrews published a new novel, each one earning her larger advances and a wider audience -- making her one of the most popular authors of all time.
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