Which author is more prolific -- EW asks how writers like Alexander McCall Smith, Joyce Carol Oates, and Nora Roberts stack up against each other

By Jennifer Reese
Updated June 13, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT
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Since Alexander McCall Smith published the first of his phenomenally popular No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books in 2002, barely a month seems to pass without a new volume — or a whole new series — from the 56-year-old Scot. Hot off the presses in June: 44 Scotland Street, a characteristically sly and eccentric portrait of Edinburgh society that was originally serialized in the city’s daily newspaper The Scotsman.

Just how prolific is this guy? A few of McCall Smith’s books were published in the U.K. pre-2002, but most of his U.S. titles are, as he puts it, ”fresh.” Says the author: ”I sit at the keyboard and go into a sort of trance, and the words appear. It is very odd!” In any case, McCall Smith stacks up favorably with other oft-published writers (even those, like James Patterson, who collaborate with others on some titles) and their U.S. output between January 2002 and the end of this year.

BOOKS PUBLISHED IN THE U.S. 2002-2005

Alexander McCall Smith

15

Joyce Carol Oates

16

James Patterson

15

Nora Roberts

23

Danielle Steel

12

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