Sunday, August 17, 2008

Debut Author - at 93!

I remember Yusof Martin saying not so long ago that we always seem to be enamored with and encouraging of, the young writers when there are often folks who come to writing (much!) older, and who are just as much in need or support and a platform for their work.

I know this as well because of the several "senior citizens" (some in their 70's, one in her 80's) who have taken my creative writing course. They have a lifetime's experience to draw on and now in retirement, the time to really concentrate on developing their skills.

I was very moved, therefore, this week to read about 93-year old Lorna Page who has just had her debut novel published. A Dangerous Weakness is a "feminist thriller" and apparently quite raunchy.

What does seem fishy is the rest of the story. We're told that the money from the huge advance has allowed her to buy a big country house and she plans to invite her friends from the care home to move in with her.

But as Victoria Strauss points out on the Writers Beware Blog, this really doesn't make sense as her publisher, Author House, is a self-publishing company - one that charges authors a fee! Strauss points to some scarily sloppy journalism in the British press, as the original press release became distorted and the distortions got passed on. (The story also appeared in the Telegraph, and the Daily Mirror among others.)

Maybe the "ahhhhh" factor was just too great to resist? Who cares about accuracy when the cockles of our hearts are being warmed?!

But sadly, things cannot be true just because you want them to be. Page herself responds in the comments :
Glad to know some people understand what reporters can do to a perfectly average story about a grandmother who writes novels. Here are the facts; I wrote A Dangerous Weakness on the backs of envelopes and scraps of paper, and put them away in a suitcase which my daughter-in-law found about 8 months ago, and encouraged me to publish a book. It would all still be on scraps of paper if she hadn't found it. That's it. But, through it all, I think it is a good book. In fact, now I'm working on my second. The really wonderful part of my story is my son who left his home in America to come back to England to take care of me when I needed a little help.
The press have a fair bit of egg to wipe from their faces. But as they say, all publicity is good publicity, and I hope all this gives the novel a boost.

We need role models like Lorna Page, don't you think?

(Pic from the Telegraph.)


Allan Koay said...

Hi! I'm Allan.

bibliobibuli said...

hi Allan. this is a good post for a journalist to land on!

Kak Teh said...

hahaha - there's hope for me yet!

Satima Flavell said...

And for me! I'm only 65:-)

bibliobibuli said...

spring chicken!

Anonymous said...

He's Allan, apparently. Not many people introduce themselves in comment boxes, but whatever floats your boat I guess.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but why would we need more people who pay to get their books published? I could put that on the net and have a much better potential readership than she will ever have. And it will be free as well.