Saturday, 28 December 2013

SERIAL KILLERS and CELEBRITIES

I have already committed two murders, and I'm now contemplating a third. Is that enough to make me into a serial killer?

My first murder happened in Cornwall - in my book for 9-12 year olds, "TWICE TIMES DANGER".I'm making no confession, because anything I say might be used in  evidence against me, and would anyway be a spoiler.

Curiously, my second murder takes place in Cornwall too (what is it about Cornwall that incites such violence?) This one takes place in my Young Adult novel, "SIRIUS RISING", which no one has yet had the courage to take on, so I may do it myself in the New Year. If I do, it will be my first purely self-published novel as opposed to re-issuing my currently out of print work as ebooks, but I first have to find the courage and expertise to do it, both of which are sadly lacking since I lost my fantastic husband, David, back in March.

And my third murder? Ah, the third. It's going to happen in France, and the victim won't even suspect anything's happened until... This one's an adult novel, called, "THE RECURRENCE OF RED", and I need a brilliant cover image for it (any reasonably priced recommendations would be gratefully received). It's been one of those 'nearly made it but not quite right for our list' manuscripts, and has been evolving for a long time, edited, re-written... if you write, you'll almost certainly have been there and done that. Maybe I should give up on it, but I can't quite let it go, so maybe, one day, it will find life as an ebook.  First, though, I need to confer with my private group of expert assassins in order to polish the details of my perfect homicide.

As for the 'celebrities' in this post? In recent months, and for obvious reasons, I've become a bit obsessed with permanence and impermanence. Life itself isn't permanent - true, of course, but hard to accept. Very soon, I'll be donating David's beloved telescope to a designated 'Space School', which, if you didn't already know (and I didn't) is a state school offering A-level courses in Astronomy. Recently I confirmed his entry into the Book of Remembrance at the crematorium. I've done these two things because I want his name to live on, but why should it matter to be remembered and celebrated? One of my favourite Medieval painters is nameless.

So why are so many of us obsessed with celebrity? Why do people post so-called 'reviews', frequently semi-literate and misinformed, of our books on Amazon? Because it means that what they've written is 'out there', whether it's meaningful or not. And why does the publishing industry rely so heavily at present on the front of 'celebrity' names? Why would anyone want to read a book written by a ghost writer, but purporting to be by a well-known footballer, performer, or - in the case of Katie Price, so-called children's author - simply the owner of surgically enhanced breasts?

If you're a footballer, I want to watch you score goals. I don't expect you to be a professional writer, and in your own field, I admire what you do (and when ghosts are involved in collaborative biographies of talented people in other fields, of course, it's totally different.) But I want to buy books written by real authors I enjoy for their writing - I don't want to invest time or money on fakes. Many years ago, I encountered, in a publisher's office, the first top secret editions of a children's book called: THE LITTLE HELICOPTER. Under normal circumstances, this submission would have bounced back to its author rather quickly, but as the author was a sub-royal... "Is it any good?" I asked. Replies were (shall we say?) muted.

Which leads me by circuitous route to Christmas, which will be over by the time this blog comes out. I hope you've all had a wonderful one, or at least a not too awful one. I will be spending mine in Cornwall, so if you hear of yet another lurid Cornish murder...





4 comments:

Chris Longmuir said...

Great post Enid. I use Avalon Graphics for my covers. Cathy Helms who is Avalon Graphics does great covers and they are not as expensive as other cover designers.

Andrew Crofts said...

May I just put in a word or two in defence of us ghosts who sometimes write on behalf of celebrities?

One of the best reasons for being a ghost is to be able to spend time in other worlds, thinking about other things than writing and reading, seeing the world through the eyes of others.

People who are "celebrated" are usually interesting even if their professions are not to the tastes of more literary people.

In the great wide world more people are interested in the goings-on of the Beckhams, the Kardashians and the Katie Prices of this world than they are in us scribes who tend to lead quieter, gentler, more internalised lives.

Once upon a time the public glorified kings and warriors, now they glorify singers, footballers and models. I would contend that all of them have lives which are equally interesting to visit, observe and read about.

I prefer not to think that I write "fake" books, I prefer to think that I write on a wide variety of subjects, including the world of "celebrity". I may, of course, be kidding myself.

Enid Richemont said...

Hi Andrew,

There's a difference between writing ABOUT a celeb, and pretending a book has been written BY a celeb, which suggests that, as well as doing the thing they're best known for, they can knock off a novel/biography or whatever, on the side. I'm not comfortable with that, especially in the case of Katie Price who is surely a disastrous role model for young girls.

If the books stated something like: 'as told to...' and then named and credited the ghost writer, it would be more honest, and I don't think it would lose readers. It's when the whole thing is fake...

Andrew Crofts said...

Thanks for your kind reply, Enid. I guess that as a full-time ghost I will just have to resign myself to the fact that in some people's eyes my work will always be fake and dishonest. I assume speechwriters are not acknowledged at the end of speeches are in the same position.