Andrew Crofts interview by David Alan Binder about his book Confessions of a Ghostwriter

posted Jan 8, 2016, 6:18 AM by David Alan Binder   [ updated May 16, 2016, 6:42 AM ]

Author Andrew Crofts interview by David Alan Binder about his book Confessions of a Ghostwriter

 This interview will give you, Dear Writers and Dear Readers insights on the persistence it takes to make writing an integral part of your life and your passion.  Andrew Crofts is a Ghostwriter, who has authored and ghostwritten 80 books

 Jess Stewart website: http://andrewcrofts.com/

 His Blog: http://andrewcrofts.blogspot.com/

 Goodreads account; http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7221023.Andrew_Crofts

 Amazon author and book page; http://www.amazon.com/Ghostwriting-Writing-Handbooks-Andrew-Crofts/dp/0713667869

 Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Crofts_(author) 

 Start of Interview

1.     Where are you currently living?

 

I live in England, south of London.

 2.     When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

     Writing was always one of the things I was okay at. When I left school at 17 and was looking     for interesting ways to spend my life, while earning a living at the same time, writing came up         as the obvious choice.

 3.     How long on average does it take you to write a book?

         Once I have all the material, (and sometimes I can get that in a few days, sometimes it                 takes longer), I need about three months to complete the manuscript. There might then be         another month or two of editing.

 4.     What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

     The joy of working at home is that you can get up and go straight to work, or you can leave it     till the evening and do it then. I guess I put in the normal eight hours per day but not                     necessarily at the same time each day.

 5.     What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

     I’m not sure I have an “interesting quirk”, I just do it.

 6.     Did you self-publish or have a publisher?

     I have done both. Self publishing is becoming more common now that the stigma is fading         and now that publishers are paying smaller advances.

 a.     If publisher, who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

             I have worked with most of the major publishing houses in London, particularly Harper                 Collins, Random House, Penguin, Hodder, John Blake – pretty much all of them, and                 sold rights to publishers in other countries, mostly Europe. I have probably sold books to             around twenty different UK publishers and another twenty abroad.

   7.     Do you have any feelings about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional         publishing?

     There is room for both. It is sometimes helpful to just hand the whole manuscript over to a         publisher and let them handle everything but more profitable to self-publish if you know who         you are going to be marketing the book to. E-books are great but should be significantly             cheaper than print, making them more tempting as an impulse buy.


8.     Do you have any tips for writers on getting a book published?  

         a.     If you have an agent how did you acquire one?

             I work with a number of different agents. Sometimes they bring projects to me and                         sometimes I will take projects to them. They all have different strengths and                                 weaknesses. On the whole they are worth their percentages if they deal with all the                     admin and sales.

 9.     Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

         Every day two or three people will approach me with stories, asking for my help as a                     ghostwriter. That means I get about a thousand stories a year to choose from. My fiction             ideas tend to spring from the stories that I hear.

 10.       Any tips for writers that you may have?

         Become an expert in as many different subjects as possible. Ask questions all the time.             Listen rather than talk.

 11.         What do you like to do when you're not writing?

             I like to day dream. I like to read. I like to watch films and tv. I like to garden and hang                 out with my family. I like to travel.

 12.       What does your family think of your writing?

             It depends on the subject. If I am ghosting for a pop star or famous actor the kids get                     very excited. My wife is interested in different things. On the whole they seem to find it                 interesting.

 13.        What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

         I had no idea just how terrible some people’s lives are or how much they have to endure. I         had no idea how rich some people are and how poor others. Every new subject has come             as a revelation to me.

 14.     How many books have you written? 

         I’ve published more than eighty and I have written a few more that never saw the light of             day for one reason or another.

 15.          Which is your favorite?

         Amongst my own books I like “Secrets of the Italian Gardener” a short novel about a                     ghostwriter who is working for the leader of an Arab country and becomes trapped in the             palace during the Arab Spring. I also like “Pretty Little Packages”, which draws on my                 experiences of the sex-trafficking and modern slavery industries.

        Amongst my ghosted books I particularly like “Sold” which I wrote for Zana Muhsen, which             tells of her adventures as a child bride in the Yemen and has sold more than five million             copies. Most days I get an email from somewhere in the world from someone telling me it is         their favourite book of all time and asking what happened to Zana and her sister, Nadia.

         I am also very fond of my own memoir “Confessions of a Ghostwriter” as it seems to put             the last forty years into a perspective that is hard to achieve when you are lurching from             one day to the next.

 16.        Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? 

             Make sure you write something every day and constantly be asking people for                             commissions, putting in ideas and speculative work. Eventually you start to get results.

 17.       Do you hear from your readers much? 

             Yes. Email is great and I am very accessible through my website.

 18.       Who is your main audience for your books?

             Every book is different.

 19.          What do you think makes a good story?

             You need a strong narrative arc in order to keep the readers turning the pages, and if                 you have a subject that people want to know more about then you will have a winner on              your hands. When people come to me with stories I tend to try them out on the family                 and try to gauge if I have caught their interest or not. If you can’t interest somebody in                 the overall subject you are going to have a job to get them to buy the book and spend                 ten hours of their lives reading it.

 20.           As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

             An actor, an artist or a writer.

21.           What do you think most characterizes your writing?

               A strong wish to see things from the perspective of others.

 

22.         What inspires you?

           Good stories and interesting people. 

 23.        How did you get to be where you are in your life today?

 Having to earn a living focuses the mind and the best path forward soon becomes obvious.

 24.       Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work? 

                 Graham Green, Paul Theroux, George Orwell, Lord Byron, Oscar Wilde, P.G. Wodehouse, Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway.

     25.          Are you a full-time or part-time writer?

                 Full-time.


26.          What are some day jobs that you have held?

             I ran a modeling agency in London’s Bond Street for a few years when I was about 20,                 worked in a public relations firm for about a year and on a magazine for about a year and             I was a freelance travel writer for a few years. 

 27.         Did any of them impact your writing?

 

    Everything impacts my writing.

   

28.           What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book, but nobody has?

         “Where can I buy a hundred copies so that I can gift it to all my friends at Christmas?”

  END OF INTERVIEW

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