Life as a ghost-writer could certainly be described as feast or famine and the term regular income is something of a distant memory. December is a time to reflect and as the New Year approaches I ask myself the same question - 'Is it time to get one of those real job thingymebobs?' My heart, as always cries out no and if occasionally my head seems to be winning the argument with its calls of yes... yes... yes, I either go for a long walk in the mountains with my notebook jotting down plans and ideas as I go, or I take a trip to the nearest bar/cafe and block out the yes vote with several glasses of Rioja. It never fails ha ha. As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I love my work but detest the uncertainty of it all and it comes as no surprise that so many serious ghost-writers and indeed authors fall at the early fences as despondency and the bank manager comes a-knocking at the door.
So imagine my surprise during a catch up with my agent after the Christmas holidays as she explained that potentially, I could have seven new publications in 2015? My first reaction was that she was somewhat deluded or perhaps she'd had too much of the Christmas cheer, but no, she seemed quite sober and rather enthusiastic too as she reeled them off together with suggested dates when they would possibly go live. Talk about knock me down with a feather?
I have always been able to work on several books at a time and I can also incorporate many different genres. I am perfectly at home working on a celebrity autobiography at the same time as penning a fiction novel about a serial killer while I research the Bosnian war to make up my notes for a different book altogether. So it naturally follows that now and again several books will come together at the same time and as 2014 draws to a close, it appears that is exactly what has happened. I am also fortunate in that I can almost guarantee they will all be published, having forged good relationships with most of my publishers over the last few years and indeed, I am now in the healthy position of only accepting books that I feel will have a real impact on those who read them as well as a realistic chance to make it into the bestsellers charts.
The 2015 books are a real mismatch of topics, something to suit every taste I'm sure. In 2013 I started working with a young, very attractive UK based dominatrix who specialises in a market which involves no sexual contact of any kind, indeed she doesn't even need to remove any clothing such is the bizarre needs of her male clients. When her agent approached me, I initially said I wasn't interested, but during a fifteen minute Skype call with Jessica Black in which she disclosed the subject matter of her potential book I was completely won over. Gobsmacked might be a better choice of words. CALL ME MISTRESS is available in the Spring.
Ms Black contrasted greatly with my next task and male subject. GULF STREAM, the fictional debut from Geoff Nordass, whose highly acclaimed true account of his life in the Royal Marines entitled 'Commando' gave a great insight into what these crack serving soldiers go through before, during and after their service to Queen and Country. I was asked to read 'Commando' prior to speaking with Geoff and the agreement was a mere formality after the first half dozen chapters such was my respect for him.
It was also in 2013 I started working on a book written by a man called Kevin Lane, during his nineteen years imprisonment in UK prisons for a murder he claims he did not commit. I sat with him in HMP Hull, during several visits as he took me through various stages of his life before and after his conviction. You can read more about Mr Lane in my previous HP blog entitled 'UK's Mr Shawshank.' His book FITTED UP BUT FIGHTING BACK is currently with the lawyers at a major London publishing house.
It was in late 2013 that I met up with Felipe Albero Gomez, a 96 year old man living no more than two kilometres from my home town in southern Spain. Felipe is one of the most gentle men I have ever met and relayed his story over several months of how he fought in the Spanish Civil War and without having any choice in the matter found himself fighting against his favourite brother who just so happened to be a member of the Guardia Civil. Half way through the war Felipe switched sides and against all odds, survived. At the end of the war he could have been forgiven for thinking he would be returning home to a more sedate lifestyle. Not so. At Malaga railway station in 1940 he decided to climb aboard a different troop train on the promise of double rations and extra wages. Felipe had involuntarily joined the Spanish volunteer Blue Division and found himself en-route to the Russian front fighting for the Nazi's. Felipe's pledge to himself at the beginning of the conflict was that he didn't want to kill anyone, he wasn't that type of person he told me. THE SURVIVOR is currently with The Diane Banks Agency in London.
And so to 2014 where I was fortunate enough to meet even more great people eager to see their books in print. I worked with Paul Devlin and Simon Beighton, two guys from Benidorm who had hatched an extraordinary plot for a novel during their time together in their 'day jobs.' It was more of a teaching role than a writing role to be honest and I had great fun with Paul and Simon in the pleasant climate of the Costa Blanca as we dissected their already completed book, chapter by chapter over a few beers. At times I was harsh, perhaps over critical but by the time the book was ready I knew I had helped to create two decent writers who were no longer in need of my services. Look out for THE GENESIS CHAMBER in the summer of 2015.
Later in the year I met a man who travelled some considerable distance to meet me in person and wanted to show me a book he'd been working on for thirty years, an adventure on the high seas which takes place during the circumnavigation of Africa by the ancient Phoenicians. No one in the world knows more about the Phoenicians than Peter Ridsdale. His novel, IN VIOLET SLEEP is a masterpiece and has already been touted as a potential for entries to several big book awards. I am humbly honoured to have been a small part of it and look forward to sharing his success.
Finally, towards the end of 2014 The Ghost had the kind of break he only dreams of. A certain bestseller and potential Hollywood movie, moved karma like into my radar range. The story was different to any I had worked on, needless to say it was true and took place during the former Yugoslavia war of the 1990s. The subject, Lurata, now lives in Asia and during a lengthy first Skype call she told me the basic facts surrounding her incredible abuse at the hands of several different factions during that hugely complicated war. I spent two hours with her during that first session in which the tears flowed freely from both sides and then I contacted my good friend Steve Holmes, my researcher, and told him we had something special to work on. Thereafter I contacted my agent, then a special Hollywood contact who simply emailed me with a few words - "Wow! what a story, what a movie that would make." I have been working with Lurata for a month now, we are six chapters in and it will be finished by the end of February. I suspect it will be fast tracked to the lucky publisher, perhaps even published in 2015, though maybe thats a little optimistic. No matter, I'm sure the world will wait for this one and it will be worth it.
So there you have it, no excuses whatsoever not to make at least one Ken Scott assisted purchase in 2015. Happy reading and a happy and prosperous New Year to all HP readers and in particular those of you who take time out to read this blog.