TV to Print: Fictional Books Get Real

TV shows and movies inspire books all the time. But the titles in this post are something a little different. They are not just translations of a show into book form. Instead, they are books that do not exist except in the fiction of a feature film or TV show until suddenly, now we too can read them.

Cover of Heat Wave by Richard Castle
The cover of Heat Wave Nathan Fillion as Castle.

My favorite example is from the TV show Castle. The show's two main characters are a mystery writer, and the police officer the author follows around to research his book series. It is a fun show, but not distinct from other crime shows, at least until the fictional character, Richard Castle, published a real book.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle was a book that maintained its authenticity to the fictional universe of the show with a book jacket that features a biography of the fictional author Castle and a picture of the actor who plays Castle instead of whoever really wrote the novel.

Author biography of TV character Richard Castle
Author biography of TV character Richard Castle

The cover referenced a previous series featuring the character Derrick Storm. In the fictional universe of the show, Storm is from Castle's first book series.But there were no REAL books about Derrick Storm. Confused readers asked for them in book stores and libraries in such great numbers that the Derrick Storm series was eventually published some four years later. The publishers were so set on keeping the book true to the fictional universe that they refused to publicize the names of the ghost writer(s) despite the desperate and wild speculation of fans.

There are now seven books in the Nikki Heat series and five in the Derrick Storm series. And while the TV show aired its last episode in 2016 at the conclusion of its 8th season, the book series continues.

Start out with the book that started it all, Heat Wave by Richard Castle.

Heat Wave

Heat Wave (eBook)

Castle (TV Show Season 1)

When the Sex in the City movie came out it in 2008 it featured a library book we first see main character, Carey Bradshaw, reading in bed. It is called The Love Letters of Great Men Volume 1 and the book does not just make a single appearance, the concept of love letters becomes integral to the plot of the movie. When "Sex in the City" fans left theaters, they went in droves to book stores and libraries looking to get their hands on the book.

At the time the movie came out, the book didn't exist, but it did when publishers discovered the demand. In fact, we now we have two books with publication dates from 2008 titled Love Letters of Great Men.

Love Letters of Great Men

Love Letters of Great Men (audiobook on CD)

Love Letters of Great Men and Women

Sex and the City: the Movie

Perhaps following in the wake of these popular books inspired by fictional shows, many others have tried to translate on-screen success into best-selling books.

The show Mad Men inspired a book of wit and wisdom from character Richard Sterling in Sterling's Gold, a short book with pithy quotes from the show. Like Richard Castle's works, it maintains the mystique of the character as the author, but the quotes are pulled straight from the show script and it fails to offer any new content the way the Nikki Heat books do.

Sterling's Gold

Mad Men (Season 1)

A more complete fiction exists in a book inspired by the TV show Parks and Recreation. It is a guide book and local history of the town of Pawnee as written by one of the characters in the show, Leslie Knope. The fiction of the book is perfectly preserved throughout including some hilarious fake advertisements towards the end. A fun book for fans of the show with new content. The façade is ruined a bit by the fact that if you go looking for it on the shelves in the library, it lives in the section with all the other books about TV shows.


Parks and Recreation (Season 1)

Has there ever been a fictional book that you wish you could read?

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