I’ve been ghostwriting for well over twenty years. Most of my work has been about other people’s lives, but I write and edit all kinds of things, including a lot of history, for authors; I’ve become a competent, in fact an inspired, historian and genealogist along the way. I’ve learned about industries I never even thought about before, and visited countries I’d never have gone to otherwise.
When I buy a book I want to believe it’s been written by the person whose name’s on the cover. I’ve ghost-written a great many published books and I still feel like that. Would you feel quite so thrilled by that account of a near-death experience on Everest if you knew it was written by a woman who’d never left her desk in South London? Me neither. Hence I write anonymously.
Below is a list of the things I’ve written about – not book titles, just subject matter. It isn’t comprehensive. The Author has copyright, not me (I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement) but the ones I remember best, and the place where most of book’s action happens in every case, are…
Recollections of an 1890s childhood (UK); On being a private detective (UK & worldwide); Building a family fortune in the oil industry (USA); Recovering from bankruptcy by risking one’s life (Far East); Three marriages and life in the SOE (UK & Middle East); A struggle against bullying in the oil industry (Central America & USA); Thriving as a salesman in the oil industry (Far East); On being a paramedic (the Gulf); Being jailed as a foreign correspondent (Middle East & North Africa); Triumph over fear through self-help books(UK); Grim humour in psychiatric institutions in the 1970s (UK); How a millionaire was devastated by slander (UK); How a happy marriage ended in unexplained death (UK & central Europe); Intrigues of a provincial solicitor (Ireland); An idyllic childhood in poverty (Ireland); The pain of marriage to a schizophrenic (Australia and mainland Europe); Bringing up an ADHD child (UK); Becoming wealthy from property abroad (Near East); Being transgender (UK); A farmer’s struggle with the banks (UK); Being an MEP (UK and mainland Europe); The fortunes of an Essex family over 200 years (UK); Building a business as a personal trainer (UK); Advice on working out from a champion athlete (UK); Making good as the only black boy in town (UK and USA); Moving a family out of their comfort zone (UK and South Pacific); An unconventional approach to everyday debt reduction (UK); A midwife from Shanghai in wartime London (Far East & UK); From ghetto in Tsarist Russia to Mayfair, in three generations.
I have also ghosted several books of biography and history (mainly mid-Victorian and early 20th century in UK, Russia & France) that directly inspired TV programmes; and I’ve edited letters, wartime and post-war, from Burma and Kenya.
In general, I just shut up and listen, and the book gets written.
Under my own name all you’ll find is Lambeth Past, a book of London local history; articles, mostly history, from years ago; and a couple of collaborations. Get Thinner Stay Thinner was written with Dr Ian White, a hospital consultant, and I’m currently part of a team dedicated to casting light on the world of Mr and Mrs Thomas Ellis, travellers in late Georgian England.