Last week was quite a week for ghostwriters breaking cover. After the New York Times revealed that Donald Trump lost over $1billion in the decade from 1985-1994, Tony Schwartz, his ghostwriter on The Art of the Deal, suggested that Random House either take the book out of print or re-classify it as fiction. If the book is to remain available, Schwartz went on to say, it should be re-titled The Sociopath. Ouch. Meanwhile, revelations by another of the president’s ghosts, Charles Leerhsen, took us directly into the deal-maker-in-chief’s office. Leerhsen wrote Surviving at the Top in 1990 — a point
“Get my book published,” tops many a bucket list. As we hurtle towards the end of yet another year, thoughts turn to what we hope to achieve in the forthcoming 12 months. Hope is an important word, because writers need an abundance of hope. In her book, Grit, about the psychology of achievement, Angela Duckworth quotes bestselling-author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who says, “Writing is failure. Over and over and over again.” This may sound like a bleak summary of the writing trade, yet the image of screwed-up bits of paper surrounding the stressed writer, head in hands, is a prevalent one.
Raised eyebrows, a confused look, lots of questions, that’s the usual response I get when I tell people my job is a ghostwriter. To date, I have written memoirs for most genres, from the first hand account of a coal miner’s wife who picketed alongside her husband in the 1980’s to TV celebrities, to one of the bravest whistle-blowers in sport. The age range of my authors is from 27 to 86- years- old and their stories all have one thing in common- they are extraordinary. ‘Sounds exciting,’ people tell me, and sometimes this is spot on. I have been