Son’s Orthodontics Needs Led to Dad’s Softcore Writing Career

It all started in 1968

In this coming Sunday’ New York Times Magazine, author Chris Offutt gives readers a taste of his forthcoming memoir about his father’s long and unorthodox writing career. If the article is any indication, the memoir is going to be a keeper.

Off the top, Offutt explains that to finance the cost of his braces, dad Andrew Jefferson Offutt V got into writing pornographic novels. In the end, from a home base in Taylorsville, Kentucky, pops would for this very profitable endeavor use 17 different pseudonyms:

My father’s first published novel was Bondage Babes, released by Greenleaf under the name Alan Marshall in 1968. His pay was $600. The plot was a clever conceit. Someone had murdered a model for a bondage shoot, and the model’s sister was investigating the crime by posing as a model herself, which allowed for softcore descriptions of restrained women. Greenleaf published his next novel, Sex Toy, a book Dad referred to as “sensitive,” under the name J. X. Williams, followed by three other books under three other names.

His primary pseudonym, John Cleve, first appeared on Slave of the Sudan, an imitation of Victorian pornography so precisely executed that the editor suspected my father of plagiarism. Dad found this extremely flattering.

Another one of dad’s pseudonyms was inspired by two of his favorite Cincinnati Reds. Offutt Sr. passed away in April, 2013. Read-bookmark the full piece here.

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