There is something about an author’s name that attracts readers to a book. Perhaps that is why make authors choose to go with pen names, rather than their given names. Another reason is that they want to mask their identity so that people do not form judgement or stifle works of writings with preconceived notions.
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Born Sidney Schechtel, his name was changed to Sidney Sheldon later on. This eventually led to a wider audience reach. His books are famous for portraying strong female leads at a time when this was not a prevalent idea in the society. One could say that Sheldon was simply writing about what he wished the society would be. Others would argue that these books served as a kind of look-see into the future, i.e., the present for us.
Among so many other authors of his time, his novels stood out for several reasons – they were all thrilling and fast-paced to read – event the romantic ones. His Master of the Game novel was of the romantic genre but also had suspense and adventure elements interlaced into the plot. This novel catapulted straight to the number 1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller List and stayed there for a long four weeks. This was unheard of in 1982- the year it was released. This made each and every one of his novels unputdownable. Furthermore, most authors write a few books before the hit the right jackpot. But for Sheldon, right from his first novel, he had kept his readers captivated.
Way back in 1970, the first novel of Sidney Sheldon was released called The Naked Face. Many called it a bold name for a first novel. This book put him on the map among mystery writes and even earned him the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best First Novel.
Most of his books are based on strong female leads that inspire as much as they are awe-inspiring. He was quoted as saying “I like to write about women who are talented and capable, but most important, retain their femininity. Women have tremendous power — their femininity, because men can't do without it.”
Sidney Sheldon came out with his autobiographical memoirs in 2005 and he named it The Other Side of Me. This book really does show the darker traumas in his life – his struggle with suicidal thoughts and being diagnosed as manic depressive. It also shows many aspects of his illustrious life which included excerpts from the Hollywood behind the scenes, to his time as pilot in the United States Army Air Corps and about writing libretto for Broadway shows.
His last novel was of the crime genre and was called The Sky is Falling. It was an almost perfect novel, which had numerous page-turning devices. Most of the chapters end in cliffhangers which make you want to race along the pages.
Sidney Sheldon books are those that make you want to settle with a nice hot cuppa, perched on a comfortable chair and not just read, but live the book.
By Mathuram Murugaiyan