I had a discussion with an aspiring writer about another writer, and I don't think she used correctly the term GHOSTWRITER, so I came here for clarifications.

As far as I know, a ghostwriter's name does NOT appear on the book and he/ she has no rights on that book. The rights and the name belong to the one who ordered the book written and paid the ghostwriter.

If the above is true, then the subject of our discussion is NOT a ghostwriter, but a full novelist, as I believe. Still, I came to check with you.

This writer is writing contemporary or historical novels inspired from real people's lives, but they are novels, not biographies, and the characters aren't very known celebrities (e.g. a 20th century translator and minor diplomat certainly isn't a celebrity, even if his name is on some novels at "translated by"). Sometimes are simple people, not celebrities at all. The novels are documented/ researched with personal/ family photos and journals and discussions with the descendants or the people who know the characters' story, but the author's name on the book is the writer's, not the family's who tells the story seed to the writer.

So... is it really ghostwriting or not? In my aspiring writer friend's opinion, since there is a real person behind the character, and a real documentation with journals and photos, it's mere ghostwriting. In my opinion, it isn't, because the writer uses her name, owns the book rights (even if she invites the character's family in the presidium at the launching events), isn't paid by the family and uses her imagination in connecting the dots and building an actual novel from... a life or an ancestry tree.