And now for a WRITER who has to live life incognito

Dan & MonaWelsey Shaw’s life revolves around having to cover her tracks. She can’t walk around the city undisguised. People take pictures of her doing ordinary things, like talking on the phone or walking the dog, or buying a pair of shoes. Paparazzi go through her garbage, trying to find something interesting.

This is the way it is for many movie stars. Recently Anne Hathaway tried giving the paps the slip at LAX by getting into a stranger’s car. Celebs change their hair, don wigs, wear giant sunglasses, dress up, dress down, and some just lie outright about who they are when confronted. But whatever they do, it’s no secret that they have to live their life in hiding, so to speak.

But it’s unusual for an author to have to face these obstacles. Or sure, JK Rolling can no longer take an afternoon stroll to BHS to buy housewares. But overall writers don’t leap immediately to mind when one thinks of the hounded, especially in this age of declining readership and authors who are looking to do anything to get noticed. So it was interesting to read that Da Vinci Code scribe Dan Brown has a hard time conducting all the meticulous research essential to his potboilers. He says he can’t go to museums in Italy without the public catching on and trying to figure out what his next novel’s going to be about based on what she’s seeing. And if he talks to curators, he says they’re texting their buds minutes later, saying Guess who was asking all about Caravaggio today??

So Dan says he has to make many false appointments and talk to people about things the really has no interest in, just to cover his tracks about what he’s really doing. He may look into a dozen things, but only a few of them are really for his work. Inefficient, to say the least. What strikes me as odd, though, is the fact that it doesn’t seem like very much real research need be done to write these pot-boilers, anymore than Stephen J. Cannell would have had to research policing techniques and interview detectives and crime victims to write his TV scripts.

I also can’t help think of all the really terrific novelists giving us gold, who toil away in obscurity. They may be grateful for it. —Or maybe not.

Read more about Dan and Anne here.


2 responses

  1. That photo is so alarming, I don’t even know what to say!


    May 24, 2013 at 4:13 am

  2. Indeed, what a wonderfully disturbing facial morph! Old Leo must be chuckling in his grave:)

    From the little I know (I read Digital Fortress and part of the Da Vinci Code), I’d say that Dan Brown’s a pretty virtuosic stylist who, I’d agree, writes nothing but tripe. Sort of like Saint-Saen’s music.


    May 24, 2013 at 5:15 am

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