Tag Archives: Publishers

Diary of a hopeful author: My top ten fantasy party people…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Do you sometimes find yourself getting lost in your own little world. God, I do. It’s a nightmare. Not where I get lost to, although sometimes…But no, I refer to the art or rather action of ‘getting lost’ in my own world that’s the nightmare.

The reason I say this is due to The Sunday Times. Not the entire paper per se, but rather its magazine. You see, Christmas is coming and what with pressie frenzy, teeth-grinding on-loop Xmas jingles in the shops and the constant requests by kids of’how many sleeps till Christmas day’, the world has gone festive crazy. And specifically, party crazy.

Now I love a party. Who doesn’t? What more opportunity do you need to prove to everyone how much your body can’t handle in drink whilst simultaneously bad-mouthing the entire cast of X Factor contestants? When I was little, parties meant people. Friends, if you will, who charged in, grabbed food and generally made a mess.

30-odd years later and things are still the same. Not necessarily the mess (actually, maybe), and certainly not the food grabbing (unless you count drunken New Year’s table tumbles), but people. People maketh a party, and, according to The Sunday Times, we should have a wish list of said people.

Now, since I am mid-book edit, I am finding that, as it is all going surprisingly well and I have now just 6 (only 6!!) chapters to complete, I have realised that I clearly need to issue myself with some procrastinating distractions. Step forward daydreaming. Yes, getting lost in my world whilst writing is coming to the forefront, and, courtesy of The Sunday Times, that world now consists of my fantasy party people.

But, since this blog’s all, you know, writery stuff, I thought I’d give my list a literary edge. And I use that word literary loosely. So here you go, my Top Ten fantasy writing party people….

10. God – he’d do, wouldn’t he? Okay, so the chances of the big fella turning up at the table I know are slim, but imagine the dirt he’d have on everyone. Not that’d he’d blag. And we couldn’t get him drunk either.

9. JK Rowling – I’d feed her, say, newts, then get talking Potter. At some point I may ask how much she’s earned. Worth a shot.

8. Stephen Fry – need I really explain?

7. Someone from a publishing house – anyone would do. Preferably an MD, then I could implore to them how just really great my latest book is.

6. A literary agent – now that’d be handy, obvs. Juliet Mushens at PFD is a sharp dressing dude. And Oliver Munsen at Blake Friedman is really lovely. For a Spurs fan.

5. Caitlin Moran – Sunday Times columnist, in case your question marking. Trouble is, I think she’s so great, I’d only sit there staring at her, get trolleyed and then beg her to be my best friend. Not pretty. See guest no.1 for help.

4. E.M. Forster – he’s the man. A legend in the novel-writing world. I mean, okay, he may be dead, but this is fantasy, right? His legend lives on.

3. Miranda Hart – okay, so a comedy actress entrant here, but she just seems so much FUN, and what’s a party without a bloody good laugh. Oh, and she’s just written her autobiography, so writing box ticked.

2. Tina Fey – for the same reasons as Miranda. And, the Fey is a comedy screenwriting LEGEND.

1. My best mate, Katrina – she clams right up in social situations, which is the ying to my verbal diarrhoea yang. So, if at said fantasy party I waffled on too much because I was star struck, she could administer a strategic dig to my ribs to silence me (see guest no.5…). And when she’s too quiet ‘cos she’s star struck/asleep, I can stamp on her foot. Ah yes, no party would be complete.

 So, what’s your fantasy top 10 writing party people? Come on, fess up.

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about cuts, communities and why we should all pull together…**


It’s Media Monday: Katy Perry to be in comic form – but who would you be?

It’s Media Monday where I post my latest views on writing & publishing news…  Writing news

Have you ever imagined yourself as a comic character? Batman? Catwoman? Dennis the Menace? Well now, like a massive POW! punch, the comic book Fame will be turning the multi-award winning singer Katy Perry into her very own comic book character. Take that, Catwoman! (not that Catwoman’s my comic character of choice or anything…)

Ms.Perry follows in a long line of celebrities that have had their lives turned into comic form by the popular biography comic series. Fame, owned by Blue Water Productions, has also over the years transformed the faces and bodies of pop tween, Justin Beiber, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins. Katy’s

Katy Perry
Katy Perry – here’s lookin’ at you, comic kid!

comic biography will hit the shelves in July 2012 via Amazon, and while it’s a natural transition for Ms.Perry whose live stage shows follow a comic theme, from her blue hair to elaborate costumes, it highlights one main point: that most of us have such ordinary lives that even a comic version of them wouldn’t make them interesting. Can you imagine it? Headline: Mum take the kids to school [picture of mum, hair like a bird’s nest, kids not even with their shoes on yet]. Yawn. Or how about: [picture: mum and dad on the sofa] dad speech bubble: “How much is it for a baby sitter? Mum: “£6 an hour”. Dad: “DVD night at home it is then.” Yup, that’s the extent of the excitement of our everyday lives. No major music shows, no appearing on TV, no celebrity parties (unless you count Barney’s On Stage Christmas Show). Instead there’s just figuring out what to make the kids for dinner and wondering how you’re going to get out of mowing the lawn at the weekend.

Still, at least when we get bored, we know have the Fame comics to brighten our average days. Because, while most of our hours and weeks are pretty humdrum, like a life painted wall to ceiling in magnolia it sometimes needs a bit of colour! And what better way to see a celebrity in a comic to jazz things up! Who needs that friday night TV dinner and a bottle of house red when you can have a celebrity life to read about! In a comic! See, things aren’t so bad, are they?

So, good luck to Fame comic, Bluewater Productions and of course the lovely Katy Perry (who does seem jolly nice). She may have kissed a girl and liked it – and now she can read about it too! Now, where’s my Catwoman mask…

So, if you were a comic character, who would you be? What would a comic say about your life? And who would publish it?

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings where I post my latest entry of my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

It’s Media Monday: Adele’s new unofficial biography is step too far…

It’s Media Monday where I post my latest views on writing & publishing news…  Image

Pop Quiz: What is a biography? Is it a) a true account of an exceptional person’s life? B) a memoir, perhaps, coined at the end of a fruitful and colourful life lived? Or is it c) an easy way to make money. Well, once upon a time, you’d be right to assume the first two, but these days things are very, very different.

Last week it was announced that the author Marco Shapiro has penned a book all about the singer, Adele. Okay, you may think, that doesn’t sound too bad, she’s an award-winning singer and she really does have a lovely voice. Well, let me tell you that the book is to be published without Adele’s blessing. That means she has played no part in it, has not contributed to any verification of facts or indeed unfacts, so to speak.  So that blows answers A and B right out of the water.

What we are witnessing with the Adele book is what has been emerging now for some time in the publishing industry, namely the money-spinning potential of the biography.  Now, look, I believe that, especially in today’s digital age, publishers need to make a profit, and biographies offer a seasonal route to do that – although in the UK sales of memoirs fell by 43%, according to The Bookseller in an article in The Telegraph. For a long time biographies have been published by the great and the good, from Tony Blair’s multi-million pound self-penned account of his time as Prime Minister, A Journey, and Barak Obama’s touching tale, Dreams of my Father, to Russell Brand’s, um, serious musings in My Booky Wooky. But what you have to remember is that these were autobiographies, penned by their authors, sanctioned, approved.

Adele – she’s got a lovely voice

The thing is, when biographies are unofficial, unsanctioned, my point is this: they are like peeping  at your neighbours through a hole in the fence – it’s just wrong. Last year’s biography book sale slump was put down to a limited niche offering, with not many titles appealing to women. But is this the way to improve sales, through sheer exploitation? Shapiro has stated that his book on Adele’s life will not contain any overt sensationalism, but then isn’t it simply a musing if it does not, and of course, who will read just some musings? But wait! For Shapiro has also let slip that the biography will reveal 21 secrets about the famous singer. Hang on a minute, forgive me, but doesn’t that seem, well, a bit sensationalist? Bare in mind that Marc Shapiro was the man who also brought you the unofficial biography of that pint-sized pop singer Justin Beiber. I rest my case.

It all boils down to the fact that unofficial biographies are the publishing equivalent of eavesdropping on a conversation, a phone-hacking version, if you will of the memoir world. And as a reader, what actual value do they have? It is hard to truly believe what is written when you know that the person they are discussing has not sanctioned anything that has been said. Of course, we do, in the UK, live in a country of free press, and celebrities cannot have control over everything that is written about them. But a whole book? Revealing intimate details about them? Any journalist going to journalist school knows that they have to trust a source, believe it, be able to justify it, stand by it. Any ‘friend’ of someone who speaks to the press or a writer and gives them intimate details for a tell-all, well, you have to question their motives. It all goes right back to biographies being money makers. But at what cost? Other than Simon Cowell seeming unfettered by his recent unofficial biography, I’d say most subjects would be mortified by such a tell-all book. And as for us readers? Well, I think we’ve got better things to spend our money on. So come on publishers! Give us some official biographies we can really enjoy, ponder on and laugh with, not some tabloid fodder that takes a mucky peek through someone’s net curtains. Now, anyone know if Adele’s got a new album out yet..?

What do you think of unofficial biographies? Justified or an intrusion on privacy?

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings where I post my latest entry of my Diary of a Hopeful Author**