Mr Fifty

First published in The Guardian in September 2012

Perceptive reviewers of Crusher (my new novel, shortly available at all good booksellers, somewhere behind the stacks of Fifty Shades) noted it featured one Noel Maguire, a bitter Irish hack consumed with envy of his friends’ success.  That’s you, isn’t it, they insist.  How could you not envy EL James, the UK’s fastest-selling author? I honestly don’t, because never in a million years could I have written Fifty Shades.  That’s a romantic fantasy for women, a story of healing and redemption written from the heart.  I’m the least romantic fecker that ever lived – ask my wife Erika, aka EL James.  I once bought her a tin opener for Christmas, and my first experience of kinky sex was her trying to shove it up my arse.

Fifty Shades of Grey was a typical overnight success, in the sense that it didn’t happen overnight – it took years of hard work. Erika spent two decades as a production manager in entertainment TV, and she was good at it, but […] Continue Reading…

Who Put My Light Under This Bushel?

(And what the hell is a bushel?*)

Dear me.  Look at the dust in this place .  I can’t remember how long ago I first encountered the term ‘cobwebsite’ but I rather think it fits this one.  Time to take down the old yellowing posters and nail up some fresh ones…  Crusher was up for an 2013 Edgar award in New York, need to bang the drum about that.  (It didn’t actually win, but that minor detail can go in the small print.) And what about a link to Kebabbed, that jolly short story I did at Christmas for Random House’s Dead Good series?  Let’s stick that up somewhere.  In the spirit of ecological soundness I could recycle some of the newspaper articles I wrote last year about living with a famous author (who isn’t me.) As for that movie I scripted… maybe we should wait till it looks like coming out before we boast about it.

My last blog post, Social Notworking, was a rant about how writers today are expected to market themselves by tweeting […] Continue Reading…

Social Notworking

Recently I was invited to a presentation for authors (Authors he says! Get him!) by a lovely woman from Facebook who explained how we could use their site to promote ourselves and our work. Relentlessly cheerful and upbeat – even when challenged by a surly and cynical Ulsterman (cough) – she concluded by announcing that Facebook had recently expanded the maximum size of an update to something like fifteen thousand words. Making it possible, she explained brightly, to publish an entire novel on their website with only a few postings!

Total silence. I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone in that audience when I say that my first thought was ‘I’ve put my blood, sweat, time and tears into this novel– and you think I’m going to publish it for nothing so you can flog more ads for singles-dating websites?’ To give her credit, the speaker knew as soon as she’d spoken that this was not exactly the target audience for that particular feature. But for me it sums up why writers should beware the […] Continue Reading…