"I want a house with six bedrooms," demanded author E.L James on our first phone conversation. I didn't think this would be hard to find, until I realized she meant it literally. She would need six rooms, romantically decorated and equipped with at least a queen size bed. "It puts me in a writing mood," she said. James was a new client, but I knew exactly how to handle her.
I am a realtor for authors. It's a thankful job, and I make quite a bit of money. But it is, without a doubt, a tougher job than any other realtor. Authors are very demanding, and as artists, they have what I can only describe as "unique" requests.
The one I remember most was Stephen King. I worked on finding him a house for more than a year. His demands were impossible to meet. When I asked how many rooms he wanted in his home, he assertively said "I mustn't know!" I didn't quite understand him, until he explained to me that he doesn't want to know exactly how many rooms his house would have, in order to be surprised. "The element of surprise is the most important thing," a principle he applied to writing as well as house-shopping. His plan was to put himself in the same situation as his characters -- a man walking into a mansion, not knowing what it holds inside. Every room was a mystery. He could live there for weeks, and still be surprised when stumbling into something new. I'll just say finding a house with trap doors wasn't easy. But at least, after that, I was fully prepared to find a secret chamber-filled home for Dan Brown.
Another well remembered client was Robin Sharma. After his success, Sharma contacted me with a request for the lavished home he always dreamed of. Since owing his success to a book about a man who "gave it all up", he insisted on a home that would look modest from the outside, to avoid contempt from his readers. I told him "Robin, just buy a house in Canada. No one would judge you. It's Canada."
My latest client was probably the most famous one. As far as authors go, this one is pretty much a rock star nowadays. I'm talking, of course, about George R.R. Martin. Right now this man has the entire world waiting impatiently for a single word of his next book. Being a fan myself, I decided to come prepared, in order to get him settled in, writing again as fast as possible.
I came to our meeting after finding the perfect fit. It was a massive English-styled home. Five bedrooms, hardwood floors. Even an underground dungeon. With a giant golden gate, the only thing missing in this mansion was a moat.
I showed Martin the house, proud of my accomplishment. He took one look at it and said, "Do my books seem biographical to you?" He left me to find him a more modest house, and urged me to keep the fantasy to fantasies. I guess I should have known better than to try and guess what this writer wanted. If there's one thing he's good at is surprising you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I just got a message from a new client. "Robert Galbraith"? I don't recognize this. Finally, a beginner author who wouldn't have extreme demands.
NOTE: This piece is fictional. All quotations are fabrications for the purpose of satire.