Friday, 30 October 2009

ghost writing vis-a-vis co-authoring

Today Richard Stubbs on ABC Radio 774 Melbourne talked with Felix Francis, the younger son of Dick Francis, the author of so many horse-racing related thrillers.

I've already mentioned that Hackpacker had a cross-posted report from the Edinburgh Book Festival in which it was said that most of Dick Francis' books were ghost-written by his wife.

Felix Francis explains the writing of the novels - which I loved - as more of a 'family business' than ghost-writing. He told Richard Stubbs that he has taken over the writing of novels in the Francis name, but Dick Francis is still involved in the composition of the stories and has the power of veto over what is written under this 'brand name'.

In an article in The Age newspaper he is quoted:
''My father was the ideas man, he was great on characters and plots,'' says Felix Francis, 56, as he sits in the grandstand at Flemington. ''My mother would take his words and put rhythm into the sentences, polish them. She always said she corrected the spelling, but she did more than that. My mother and father wrote the books together, they always did.''
With the rise of new technologies in the world of writing, it is tempting to see a novel as a 'product'-if you buy a digital copy you are not buying the physical book, you are buying the way the words were put together. So it seems logical to refer to the Dick Francis novels as a 'family business'.

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