When I was writing The Red Light Zone, I imagined one of my chums going into a book shop, leafing though a copy, finding their name, reading that bit and then … not buying the damn book. That’s why there’s no index at the back. I know my friends too well. Cheapskates, the lot of them.
However, there are two questions I’ve been asked most frequently since the book was launched just under two weeks ago:
- What do your old bosses at the BBC think of you spilling the beans about them?
- Do I get a mention in the book?
Let’s deal with that first question. I really have no idea what my old bosses are thinking. I’ve heard differing reports, but they range from a sense of mild annoyance that I have dared to laugh at some of the bizarre goings-on I encountered over the past 25 years (and I suspect the bosses in London would be most annoyed by that) to, well, total ambivalence. I’m guessing that with a new TV channel about to launch at the end of this month, the executives in Glasgow have a lot more important things on their mind.
As for that second question. Well, this little video captures just about every name mentioned in the book, including those of pets, The Pope and Santa Claus. Yep, they all do get a namecheck. Of course, I haven’t made it easy. If your name is there, it might pass in the blink of an eye.
Writing a book, as I’ve discovered, is not even half the story. When you are hammering away at your keyboard, it feels like a solitary occupation but the actual process leading to publication is a collaboration which requires the skills, talents and experience of so many people. My publisher, Lunicorn – a small independent firm based in Lochwinnoch, is headed by two of the most hard-working and dedicated women I’ve ever worked with. Lyn and Laura are on duty almost 24 hours a day and since they encouraged me to start writing my little book of memoirs way back in the late spring, have coaxed and cajoled me through nine drafts and to the point where we are now able to talk publicly about the book and start responding to queries from journalists and festival organisers.
Along the way, we called upon the talents of an editor, a proof-reader, a lawyer, a photographer, an artist and a book designer. Next stage is to see the book actually roll off a huge printing press and then have the file of my manuscript converted into the various formats demanded by Kindle and other e-readers. That requires more people with particular skills.
Up until now it has all felt a little unreal – but reality bit me today when my dentist told me she had seen the book advertised on amazon.co.uk and had pre-ordered it.
As if going to the dentist wasn’t scary enough.