Earlier this month I was interviewed by Peggy Stanton for Famous Five Plus, and it was lovely meeting her again. However, in her summing up she said, and I quote “Inviting you here to my little chat studio was a great choice as it fits perfectly into my New Year’s resolution which is to brush shoulders with the rich and famous this year.” D’you know, I had to go back and read that twice. Was that me she was referring to? Or had she included someone else in the interview?
Once I got over the shock of learning I was rich and famous, at least in Peggy’s eyes, I started to think about it. Was I rich? Was I famous? Well, let’s break it down into its individual parts.
I started out thinking I wasn’t really rich at all, certainly not in monetary terms. You know, the folding crinkly stuff we keep in our wallets and purses, and the jingly stuff that usually takes up space in our pockets. My needs are simple, but there never seems to be quite enough of it. And even if I was rich, in monetary terms, it certainly wouldn’t be through my writing. It’s a sad thing, but most writers don’t even make the minimum wage, unless, of course, your name is J K Rowling, or Stephen King, or even Ian Rankin. Most writers would earn more stacking supermarket shelves or sweeping the streets. A note to readers, will you please bear that in mind when you are looking for us to offer our books free, or for less than the price of a cup of coffee. We do like to eat now and then!
But riches do not only consist of money. And I am rich in family, friends, colleagues, readers, and all those other generous writers I have never met, but who offer their advice and friendship willingly. I suppose I’m also rich in experience because I’ve lived quite a few years now, and all that experience is useful when I’m writing my books. And I’m also rich in job terms because I’m working at what I enjoy most – writing. Many people do not get the opportunity to do that, and spend their lives in jobs they hate.
As for fame. I’m not really famous, not like the writers whose names populate the book store windows, and the most easily accessible shelves. Their books are piled up in stacks, you’ve got to look for mine, either in the crime section, or alpabetically in the fiction section. That is, if the book store stocks them at all. It’s more than likely they will have to be specially ordered. Fortunately, buying an ebook is easier. All you have to do is search for the author's name in any online bookstore.
However, when I think about it, I did have my moment of fame, although that was way back on 2009. That was when I won the Dundee International Book Prize for Dead Wood. Alas, fame is fleeting, and now my name is mainly known throughout my fan base, as well as locally.
But would I really want to be famous? Ducking and diving to escape the paparazzi. Unable to go anywhere without being recognized. Not really. Although I do love it when my readers take time out to talk to me, wherever that is, and in whatever form.
So, am I filthy rich and famous. Somehow or other I don’t think so. But I’m happy the way I am.