After a rather tense and difficult week in the dayjob, I was beyond delighted to receive an email today from Penguin’s editor, LR, saying they would publish a reworked manuscript (tentatively titled Famous!) as part of their Aussie Chomps series in 2009. After publishing an Aussie Nibble called The Girl Who Fell Into A Book in 2006, I have tried and failed to write Nibbles/Bites/Chomps, mainly because I have serious trouble with endings.** So when I was asked to rewrite this one, I wasn’t at all sure it was going to work – although I did, at least, have something resembling an ending in place.***
I am also happy because the publication will coincide with a Significant Birthday. Hurrahs all around, I say.
Some of the experiences I write about in Famous! are based on appearing on the egregious Hey Hey It’s Saturday with Viable Options, at which performance I was backstage, looking at the brightly lit sets, and feeling certain that if I did step out onto the stage and in front of the live audience (and every bogan in their loungeroom in the whole of Australia), I was going to vomit and/or die. I remember whimpering to Nikki and Judy, ‘No, we can’t do this’, a sentiment with which they both concurred. However, we did it, managed not to die in the process, and Harry Connick Junior (who looked less plastic back in 1995) gave us 30 out of 10 (Red Symons, or course, followed up with minus 27 and gonged us). Good to be able to recycle sheer terror into fiction, or indeed anything other than nervous sweat.
Famous! was also influenced by the odd experience of watching someone we worked with, a chappy called Rove McManus, live the dream and become ridiculously famous – which didn’t, as it turned out, shield him from one of life’s most hideous misfortunes. I think that most people imagine that fame, like money, serves to somehow separate you from the perils of the life unfamous. Famous! shows that it just ain’t so.
** I entirely agree with Arthur Miller, who said, If I see an ending, I can work backwards. The converse is also true.
*** I also had some cracking assistance from the Chomps editor, KW. All hail editors!