Saturday, October 17, 2009

Famous Author Cramp

Picture this scenario: NG discovers and starts writing a blog. She describes her extraordinary childhood, her family, her move to France to study, meeting her husband, how her husband dumped her unceremoniously on her 60th birthday leaving her practically destitute and how she pieced together a new life discovering a previously unknown world of unpleasant realities.

Her blog is greatly enjoyed by other aufeminin blog readers who are entertained by her style, her way of telling a story and her descriptions of an unusual life. One of them is a 'famous author' (her description) whose husband is the publisher of her books. It's a family business, publishing around 5 books a year. They approached NG and asked her if they could work together and produce a book of her texts. What a wonderful prospect, thought NG and agreed readily although she laid down certain rules of engagement: nothing about her illness, nothing about her doctors, nothing about her living family.

The 'famous author' took NG's texts off the blog and worked them into a book format. She ignored all the rules, added several typos that were not in the original texts and prepared a mish mash of non-chronological order. Then she plastered her name in big on the front cover and placed NG's name as an afterthought further down "based on texts by NG".

You can imagine how well this went down. The 'famous author' and her husband came down from the depths of somewhere obscure (where she's well-known) called Touraine (definitely north of Avignon) to discuss the manuscript before the final version. When NG saw it she had a fit of the vapours on the spot.

To start with, she nearly died of boredom before the end of the third page. FA had reworked everything to make it 'literary' which was rather against the point of the book as NG is not French and has no aspirations to becoming a literary great (unlike poor deluded FA). She wanted the book to contain her words in her style minus the obvious errors and typos. What she got was her stories minus all humour and eccentricity but Frenchified up.

She took the manuscript and edited it all, repeated her instructions, and sent them off with their tails between their legs. So, what do you imagine they did? a) nothing; b) total edit; c) token modifications? If you guessed c), give yourself a peanut and bow to the gallery. They changed my name from puke-worthy 'ma petite fille de coeur' to 'E.D.' (extended daughter), as requested, and... um... added a few more errors - 'Barbour' became 'Barbouze' and 'lave vaisselle' became 'laisse vaisselle'. Then they sat on the text hoping that NG wouldn't press them to see the Bonne à Tirer (BAT - final version) and it could be printed as was.

Does the term 'bunch of amateurs' spring to mind? It certainly did to me and to NG who never does anything in an amateur way. Eventually, and when the manuscript was already at the printer's, they finally sent the text to NG. They were in fact obliged to because NG had to sign off on it or they'd be landed in Big Legal Trouble.

When she saw this supposed final version, her blood pressure made a quick circuit to the moon and back, and she had hysterics on the spot. They had respected none of her instructions. She decided that publishing the book in it's existing form was out of the question, so she cancelled the launch at the big local bookshop in Montpellier and the party at l'hotel Verchant.

The famous author and her husband were most put out and couldn't understand what she was making so much fuss about. I have a message from her where she complains about all the hard work she's put into 'her' book and how unreasonable NG is being. I didn't bother to reply, there's simply no telling some people. I saw the text - in 200 pages there are 600 spelling mistakes and errors, and the order is still a mess - no chronology at all.

So this is my take on the situation. FA is an attention-seeking, over-indulged diva-of-a-certain-age with an inflated opinion of herself. She is one of the most active members of blogs and enjoys bathing in the glory of her readers' admiration. Her books are as boring as hell according to NG who was sent them and felt obliged to read them. Never was a duty so tedious. They involve lots of 'poor me' self-obsession and turgid introspection.

In order to cover herself with more glory and have access to an even wider potential audience thanks to NG who is not unknown in these parts, she thought she'd 'write another book' using NG's stories but castrating them into her own tortured 'literary' style. She would declare herself the author ('famous'), publishing her book 'based on the texts of NG'.

Unfortunately for her, NG doesn't do amateur rubbish and refused to sign her name to the crap issuing forth from the literary backside of the 'gentil' author, sweet FA. So it's all come tumbling down - NG got them to suggest postponing publication until November and maybe even wriggling out of the contract and trying a different publisher. One is already interested.

Warning: don't mess with NG.


  1. Sarah, Is NG still writing her blog? Can you give me a link, please.

    Thank you. Jane

  2. Thank you dear, thank you very much - what a releif to read something about me written properly....and by a REAL writer!!!!


  3. Hello Jane, the link is on the right - click on
    'Non, je n'ai plus 20 ans'. It's all in French, natch.

    NG - you're welcome, and thank you :)

  4. Thank you, Sarah. It`s a good opportunity to brush up my French!



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