As the year nears to a close so does my final writing project and as always, The Ghost is on the lookout for the story that will bring him the next bestseller. I confess the next book is normally in place by now, the contracts completed, with a detailed synopsis and a file full of research papers already cluttering my desk. My research man is poised and ready and I anticipate the start of the year with relish.
So it's more than a little worrying that I still haven't found what I'm looking for as the New Year approaches rapidly. I can't imagine neglecting my lap top come January 1st, will it feel lonely and give up the will to live as my fingers remain idle for days, weeks, months at a time?
I pray to a God I don't believe in that it's just a temporary state of affairs and that the next 'jaw-dropper' is just around the corner. I like that description - 'jaw-dropper' because to be honest the last few books I have written had that effect on me when I was relayed the initial storyline by the man or woman describing the subject matter of the book. I'm into true stories these days, they make better books, better movies and TV productions and I suppose as I get older and more experienced as a writer I'm becoming a bit more particular. I've turned down four books in the last six months either because they haven't had that jaw-dropping effect on me or because I've felt they've sided more towards fiction than the truth. As a storyteller, yes of course we dress a story up and use a little poetic licence now and then but the for me, the underlying tale has to be based on solid fact and backed up with a little paper based proof.
My recent best seller 'Do The Birds Still Sing In Hell?' came in for a little criticism from the faceless sceptics in cyberspace, many of whom claimed it was a work of pure fiction. One so called journalist even stated that there was no mention of any escapes in the war records he claimed to have read. I felt they had dishonoured the name of the late, great, Horace Greasley, more or less calling him a liar so I published his MOD war records on my webpage, Facebook and Twitter which clearly detailed his escapes, named the wartime POW camps he was interned in, his lover Rosa Rauchbach and states quite categorically the help and assistance Horace and Rosa gave to the thousands of allied prisoners during WWII. Let's just say the journalist's research left a lot to be desired.
But it's not just paper proof I look for when deciding to write a book based on a true story. I look for sincerity, attention to detail and a little passion from the person who first makes contact with me and I want to make sure that however many times they relay the facts, the details never change. I like to think I'm a good judge of character; I like to think that I can tell when someone is telling the truth or lying through their teeth and if I believe them and check out their tale with a little research then I'm happy to take the project on.
I'm afraid that for this author, truth is greater than fiction and despite having written three novels in the past, I have no great desire to venture back down that route. True life stories rock my boat, true life is more screwed up than anything a person could imagine or ever dream up. Just take a look through the history books if you don't believe me..
I am fortunate that I can guarantee publication of any book I take on. Because I have had a few recent best-sellers, my publishers (and agent) take my word as gospel that the book I'm writing is the business and worthy of publication. The only thing I can't guarantee is that it will become a bestseller, that's up to the great book buying public out there. It will stand a decent chance though because I have a good agent and a good publicist and a network of people who I class as good friends who give my new publications the oxygen of publicity via the social networks we all use so much these days. I work at the promotion too, and I expect others to do the same. When I had my first book published by an obscure American publisher over ten years ago he said to me - "Okay my friend, now the real hard work starts."
He was so right.
Writing a book takes time and commitment and may I say passion and endeavour and even when we type the two greatest words in the English Language - the end - it's really just the beginning.
So, if you have a good story and it's true and you are prepared to work your backside off, then inbox me. My fees, as always, are negotiable. firstname.lastname@example.org