Thursday 25 September 2014

Your Friend Hates His Cameo Appearance in Your Book

Signs of a problem: calls to your buddy go to voicemail; your buddy’s social network profiles mysteriously disappear.

The symptoms: sadness; rejection.

You’ve written a hilarious crime thriller about a bunch of self-published authors. It’s like a Jonathan Hill Maureen book crossed with Andrew Barrett’s award winning The Third Rule. Authors bump each other off left, write and centre. You’re convinced it’s the funniest novel ever written. “What,” you wonder, “will make it even better?”

Then you remember your best buddy. You talked him into considering publishing an eBook, and in five or six years, he might very well get round to it. You have a light-bulb moment. If you mention your friend in the most hilarious crime thriller ever written about a bunch of self-published authors, it will really help his potential, eventual book launch.

Obviously, you’re not going to name a main character after him – Damien Knickerwhistle suits neither a hero nor a villain. Instead, you use his name for a bakery assistant. You smile to yourself when you remember that, whilst a small part, the bakery assistant administers the poison that sets all the conflict in motion.

The next thing you know, Damien is furious with you. He didn’t want his name in a book. Now his estranged father might guess that he’s still alive and trace him to Peckham. It’s getting complicated, like David Wailing’s Fake Kate but with fewer red-heads.

Naturally, you had no idea that your best mate was in hiding, like a character trying to escape a David Haynes villain. However, it’s always worth checking with people before using their names. You never know who might be hiding a deep, dark secret. Seek permission just in case somebody doesn’t want to be associated with a character who sprinkles arsenic onto cupcakes. If you’re a children’s author like award runner-up Nils Andersson, you might want to avoid links of a murderous nature altogether.

Be careful about overusing author cameos, otherwise it could look like you’re just trying to show off all your celebrity connections.

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