I watched live television coverage of the multicar accident for an entire day before recognizing my father's Chevy pickup pinned between two semi trucks. A news reporter at the time, I narrowly avoided being assigned to cover the collision that killed my father.
It is a truth widely known fact that if you're fortunate enough to have written and published a book and lucky enough to have people talk about it, comments will run the gamut from good to bad, with many shades of mediocre in between.
One time I got a package containing a tattered copy of my book along with a handwritten note. To a writer, this is like going up to a stranger and telling them that a) they could use some plastic surgery, and b) you'd like to perform it yourself.
My Chinese uncle had a favorite proverb: "Great misfortune disguises great good fortune." With the imminent publication of my new novel, The Spy Lover, I reflect on that proverb, and the events that occurred before the book was finally published.
Celebrity entertainers and politicians have no problem getting their memoirs published. So a book partly about celebrity entertainers and politicians should have had no problem getting published, right?
Consider the facts of life in this age of bottom-line, 'pull' publishing in which publishers rarely support new authors, except via personal introduction by insiders. If you have a publishing ambition, consider these realities.
I know the miracles that can happen from publishing a book that you really believe in, but I also know how fickle the industry can be, and so I'm eager to share with you what we all had to learn the hard way.