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Can fame be bad for an author?

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As much as many writers yearn to make a name for themselves, writing a blockbuster is not always a happy experience. Just ask "The Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown.

"As soon as 'The Da Vinci Code' was published and had become a runaway success, I found myself in a firestorm of controversy," Brown wrote while defending himself in a copyright infringement case filed (unsuccessfully) against him in London. "I had never experienced this kind of media attention, and it was very difficult at times (especially the criticism from Christians). Often at my book signings, I found myself interrogated publicly by an angry Christian scholar who quizzed me on details of Bible history from the novel."

According to a consideration of Brown's fame by Iowa's Telegraph Herald Online, "Brown has lamented that he can no longer fly on commercial planes because of autograph seekers and expressed shock at the vehemence of the questions he faced while promoting the book."

Before "The Da Vinci Code," which has now sold more than 80 million copies, the thrillers Brown wrote were relatively obscure titles.

The days of low-selling books appear to be behind Brown. Even his previous titles (such as "Angels and Demons") have become topsellers and his new book, "Lost Symbol," expected out this fall, is already a bestseller. Doubleday, Brown's publisher, has announced a first printing of five million copies.

Fame puts a writer like Brown in a completely different category, Darden Pyron, told the Telegraph Herald. (Pyron is the author of a biography of Margaret Mitchell, who, as the author of "Gone With the Wind," learned a great deal about what it meant to be a celebrity author – although she never published another book after her 1937 blockbuster.)

"You simply become somebody else. You become a public figure, a talisman, and that can be hard on a writer," says Pryon.


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