Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for What Lies Around Us by Andrew Crofts! Today, I have an extract to share with you all but first, let’s see what this book is all about.
Author : Andrew Crofts
Title : What Lies Around Us
Pages : 256
Publisher : RedDoor Publishing
Publication date : June 13, 2019
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
It is possible that since this book’s publication you will have heard that I have died in ‘suspicious circumstances’. Obviously I hope that will not be the case, but I believe it is worth taking the risk in order to get this story out there.
Why would one of Silicon Valley’s most powerful billionaires offer a British ghostwriter a million dollars to write the autobiography of Hollywood’s biggest star?
Only once he is living and working among the world’s richest and most beautiful people does the ghost realise that there is way more than a publishing deal at stake.
The ghostwriter must face the dark underbelly of the tech industry. He must face corruption and manipulation, come to blows with people who will do anything to remain at the top of their game and uncover the dark truth behind what it really means to be an influencer . . .
| EXTRACT |
From Chapter 1
The day the first email arrived, Caroline suggested I start a diary, although neither of us had the slightest idea how enormous the story would become.
All I knew was that I had been contacted personally by one of the mightiest beasts from the world of the business and technology superpowers. Roger Rex’s name was right up there with Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk; a modern-day witch doctor who was believed to not only be able to see into the future but to be able to shape it too; a magician for our times. And instead of a fire-breathing dragon, this sorcerer had his billions to give credibility to the rumours of his magical powers and stupendous brain.
I was aware that the email could have been a hoax. I mean, what were the chances that one of the half dozen richest people on the planet had actually sat down and written a note directly to me? But there was no reason not to accept it at face value, at least until it proved to be something else. The message was simple; I am going to be in London next week and I would really like to discuss a possible project. Could we meet for lunch? I will be staying at the Four Seasons.
Even if it came to no more than a lunch with Roger Rex at the Four Seasons it would be an adventure worth having. I would love to, I emailed back, just let me know where and when you would like to meet.
“I love your work, Andrew,” he said once the complications of the menu had been ironed out and the staff had quietly withdrawn to prepare the meal as ordered and attend to other customers. “Particularly the human interest stories; ordinary people battling against the odds…”
“Really?” I said. “You’ve read my work?”
“Of course,” he seemed shocked by the suggestion that he might have come to a meeting unprepared. Leaning down beside his chair he dipped his hand into his backpack, which he had refused to relinquish to the staff at reception, producing Secrets of the Italian Gardener with a flourish, making the gold inlay of the cover glitter in the subdued restaurant lights. “Fantastic story. And short too. I like a book I can read in one flight.” He paused for a moment before adding awkwardly, “my condolences on your loss by the way.”
The social niceties apparently now out of the way he reverted to monologue-mode. I wished I was recording him because I wanted to remember everything he was saying so that I could relay it to Caroline once I was home, but our relationship had not yet reached a point where I could whip out a Dictaphone or a notepad. At this stage it was just a casual lunch and I still had no idea why he wanted to meet me. Everything he said was interesting. There was too much of it for me to hope to remember more than a few main themes; too many ideas, too many digressions, too many extraordinary pieces of information and exciting predictions, all sparkling with the most dazzling name-drops in the world – Clinton, Obama, Gates, Mandela, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Soros, Clooney, Swift, de Niro and Streep – delivered with no apparent self-awareness, simply reporting something interesting they had said to him or done. He had no need to boast about who he knew, it just so happened that many of the people he talked to in the course of his average days were world famous. I wasn’t even sure that he realised how famous they were, or cared.
“So,” I grabbed a fleeting opportunity to interrupt his flow, “are you thinking of writing a book?”
“Sure,” he said, apparently surprised by the question, “sure, sure, but not yet.”
“If we were to commission a book but we had very strong ideas about what should or shouldn’t be in it. Would you mind being told and having to re-write and edit a great deal?”
“Usually I suggest that I write the first draft as I think it should be,” I replied, “but ultimately it is the author’s story, so they can make whatever changes they want. When you say ‘we’ would have very strong ideas …?”
“There are a few people interested in the outcome of this book. It could have huge global impact. Absolutely huge.
“Can you give me an idea what you mean by ‘global impact’?”
“Not yet, no. Not until you’ve talked to the lawyers. You would be great for this job, really great. Your books made me cry. You’ve done celebrity books too, right?”
“Yes, a few.”
“It’s important not to be star struck.”
I remembered reading that he had been buying up film studios and television networks, corralling creative talent so that he could control the creation of the content he needed for streaming services into smartphones and social media. Were these the sort of stars he was talking about? I felt my heart thump a little faster – surely everyone’s star struck about somebody.
“Can you tell me anything about the story at all?”
“No,” he shook his head and gave a sharp bark of laughter which made several heads turn in our direction. “Lawyers. You’ll have to sign away your life before we can tell you anything. Do you have an agent? Is there someone we have to talk to?”
“We can go through an agent if you like,” I said, “there are a few that I use for different projects. Or you can just deal with me.”
“We would prefer that, if you don’t mind. If there is an agent involved then that is one more person who has to know at least some of the details of the project, one more person who might leak, one more stage in the process, slowing things down. This is really great coffee! Such a great aroma.” He held the tiny cup close to his nostrils and inhaled deeply, closing his eyes in apparent ecstasy. “We will want to pay you an outright fee so that we own the copyright completely. Your name would be visible nowhere. Would that be a problem?”
“This is great, really great. It’s going to be so great!” he rocked happily back in his chair, clapping loudly, his huge hands flapping like a seal’s flippers. “I’ll get the lawyers to contact you. We are going to make history.”
If this extract has left you wanting more, then why not to go ahead and grab yourself a copy of What Lies Around Us!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.
His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black) and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years.
Throughout his bestseller, “The Ghost”, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s seminal book, “Ghostwriting”. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost. The opening lines in Robert Harris’s book sum up Andrew’s philosophy:
“Of all the advantages ghosting offers, one of the greatest must be the opportunity that you get to meet people of interest”.
Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University, presents Masterclasses on the subject at The Guardian and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing.