“La la laaaa..” (that’s the noise I make when I’m trying to stay calm and ‘cheery’). Yet another celebrity has published a novel – this time it’s Ulrike Jonsson – with the uninspiringly named ‘The Importance of Being Myrtle’.
Now I haven’t read it, so I cannot comment on how bad – or good – it is (please, if you have read it, let me know what you thought), although I must admit to a sly chuckle when I read this review in The Guardian.
I’m not saying that all celebrity novels are rubbish. My friend, for example, has raved about Dawn French’s ‘A Tiny Bit Marvellous’ and I’m in the queue to borrow it.
But it’s just rather galling – don’t you think – that, for many celebrities, churning out a novel is just something they ‘do’, (Perfume endorsement? Check. Clothing label? Check. Movie and record deal? Check, check. Or should that be, cheque, cheque) – while for the rest of us mere mortals, it’s a life-long dream and just getting someone to read our work would be a major achievement.
“And what about writing a book now?” their agent probably suggests, with one eye on his cut. “Better make that a kid’s book,” he might well add. “They’re easier. You don’t wanna spend too much time on the thing and anyway, there’s money in kids’ books. Just look at that JK Rowling guy.”
Writing a novel is hard work – and getting it published is even harder. I’m not saying that Ms Jonsson didn’t put the hours in – and at least it wasn’t ghost-written – but it’s a hell of a lot easier to burn the midnight oil when you’re certain that what you’re writing is going to be published.
Katie Price, by the way (aka Jordan and one of the UK’s ‘top writers’), has a stash of best-selling adult and children’s books to her name. How does she do it? (And this could be where we’re all going wrong). Apparently, she thinks up the plot, leaving the actual writing to ‘an assistant’. Of course!
“I’m not going to lie,” Katie pouts. “I don’t sit there with a typewriter, of course I don’t.’ Why not? Oh yes – she doesn’t have the time. Fair enough.
Celebrities make it all look so easy! No wonder I have strange conversations like this with people from the tennis club:
“How’s your writing going?”
(me) “Er..OK, you know. But I still need to get a job and – ”
“You should write a novel!”
(me) “Well, yes – but I still have to earn some money while I’m – ”
“Get whatisname to support you for six months! That’s what all these writers do! Look at JK Rowling!”
Yes, celebrities definitely get the sanitised version of author-dom. They don’t have to tout their books around agents and publishers; they don’t have a shameful pile of unpublished works under the bed and, let’s face it, they wouldn’t know a rejection slip if it hit them in the tiara.