Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Not just a pretty, er...

The British model Jordan, who is also known by her real name, Katie Price, is a star, loosely speaking, in the Jane Russell/Jayne Mansfield/Pamela Anderson tradition. That is to say, her principal assets are carried around in front of her. And in Jordan's case, it seems to be common knowledge, indeed boasted about, that various surgeons have embroidered upon nature.

Jordan/Katie has already written a couple of autobiographies -- well she is in her late twenties, after all -- and the latest of these, just out, is doing pretty well. Last week Jordan -- a Whole New World, sold 10,301 copies and was at 26 in the top 50.

However, there is more to come. Last August, Galleycat noticed a Publishing News report to the effect that Katie's latest book contract includes not only autobiography no. 2 (i.e. the one just out) but also two novels. And, in this morning's Times, we have some gripping insight into Katie's working methods.

In the People column, Hugo Rifkind reveals that Katie has been giving an interview to US Vogue, in the course of which she puts in a plug for the first of these novels, Angel. Due out in July, folks, just in time for the beach. Listed on both and .com.

How does she write, asked the Vogue interviewer. Answer: 'I talk. I'm not going to say I sit there with a pen and paper. I don't think anyone does that. I haven't got time for a typewriter or whatever.'

Well quite. It's a busy life. What with the washing-up, making the beds and everything.

However, as Kate Allan commented on our (first) report of the Random House saga competition, Sniff ye not. Commercial fiction may wrinkle the nose of some supercilious readers, but it pays the rent considerably better than the highbrow stuff.

Ghost writer for the autobiog, by the way, was Rebecca Farmworth, though whether she's doing the novels as well I know not. Nice little earner for somebody, anyway.


Anonymous said...

Barbara Cartland used to lounge in her pink finery and dictate her sagas...could Jordan be the contemporary version? As for this glut of autobiogs from young celebs (Wayne Rooney next), at least they are providing reading matter for those to whom reading might otherwise not matter.

- Leopold said...

It fascinates me not only that Jordan can have two autobiographies on her 'life' at 27, but that people are willing to BUY two of them.

As for the fiction, it's one thing to dictate your life to a ghost writer and have them make it interesting. Technically, you could still call it 'written by Jordan.' But fiction!? It's not something you can just narrate. If she comes up with some story idea (very loose, I doubt she has the experience to work out plot problems) and tells a writer who then does all the work of making it an actual novel - then selling it as a novel 'by Jordan' isn't that a total sham? It seems totally dishonest and, more to the point, not at all about the book, but only the name. We can believe the Paul Newman made his own pasta sauce and still call it Newman's own. But can we believe that because Jordan's name is slapped on a book of fiction that it's her book? Even when it's clearly not, it'll sell because the name is there... Very odd.

Kate Allan said...

Leopold - how can there be a problem with narrating fiction? Fiction is essentially storytelling. I hear my novels in my head and see the scenes playing in mind before I get down to the pain of trying to transcribe it all on paper. If I could afford to pay someone to do my typing I'd be tempted to take the Barbara Cartland/Katie Price method as it would be a lot more time efficient for sure.

- Leopold said...

My comment is that she's probably not going to be narrating an entire novel, word for word, not that it's impossible to narrate a story. Clearly that's possible as that's the way stories were told and created before books. In essence, I believe that 90% of the 'fiction' work, of creating and interesting narrative that flows, etc... is going to be done by the 'ghostwriter'. The parts of literature that count, that create in the essence of this book will be done by the ghostwriter, not Jordan, so calling it 'her book' is strange. A ghostwriter and a tape recorder are very different things. Ghostwriting an 'auto'biography is one thing (though still contradictory) since the subject knows their own story and directs how it's told, reveals information, etc... Is still the authority and author, no matter how the ghostwriter flowers it up. If someone writes a novel and then someone else's name is put on it to sell it, is it still that name's book? I'm not saying Jordan is incapable of making up a story, but seeing as her comments about her biography, where she's much more experienced in the matter, is 'I talk, i haven't got time for a typewriter or whatever' makes me think that the person actually doing the writing is picking up all the slack.