Lee Goldberg has posted a press release of particular interest to me at his blog:
The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is bestowing The Faust, its Grand Master Award for excellence, to author William Johnston, the writer of over a hundred tie-in novels and the most prolific practitioner of the craft, it was announced today by organization co-founders Max Allan Collins and Lee Goldberg.
I’ll be honest, I had no idea William Johnston was still alive. According to the press release he was born in 1924 and, after a stint in the Navy, kicked off his writing career in 1960 with The Marriage Cage. In 1962 he started writing tie-in novels based on medical dramas like The Nurses and Doctor Kildare. Then, in 1965, he wrote an original novel based on Get Smart. It was well-received, was followed by an additional nine Get Smart novels and made the name William Johnston nearly synonymous with the phrase TV tie-in novel. He wrote both original novels for and novelized episodes of Happy Days, The Munsters, Captain Nice, Welcome Back, Kotter, Sons and Daughters, Captain Nice, The Young Rebels and The New People (as Alex Steele). Kurt Peer’s TV Tie-Ins, 2nd Edition states that Johnston wrote a total of 64 tie-in novels.
I’ve reviewed nine of Johnston’s tie-in novels over the past nine months and I’ll probably be reviewing even more this year:
According to the press release, the Grandmaster Award “is named in honor of Frederick Faust (also known as Max Brand) and is given annually. The award recognizes a writer for their extensive and exceptional work in the tie-in field. Past honorees have been Donald Bain, Alan Dean Foster, and Keith R.A. DeCandido.” And if you’ve never heard of The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers, the group “is dedicated to enhancing the professional and public image of tie-in writers, educating people about the craft and business of tie-in writing, and to providing a forum for tie-in writers to share information, support one another, and discuss issues relating to their field.”
I don’t know if the Faust is a trophy or a certificate or what, but William Johnston is certainly deserving of the honor. Congratulations to perhaps the most popular and certainly the most productive tie-in novelist of all time.