I’m imagining a novelist at home alone. They are wandering from room to room rather listlessly; they pause now and again at the front window and peer out through a gap in the curtains; they pass by their writing desk without a glance at the manuscript laying there, without noting the layer of dust on the keyboard; they enter the bathroom and open the medicine cabinet; they check the lock on the kitchen door and stare hopelessly at the empty shelves and the bare cupboards. I can imagine the surprise of this author when they realise they are holding a bottle of sleeping pills. I can even see them walking to a bookcase to run their hand along the spines of all of their published novels.
The lid of the sleeping pills goes ‘pop’.
And as the hand is being raised, as the eyes close, as hope is extinguished, a squeak comes from the unoiled mail slot in their front door. Slippered feet lead them to the door. On the bare floor is a single white envelope. Torn open, it is found to contain something not seen for years, a cheque from their publisher.
How many writers of horror stories, vampire stories and paranormal romances owe their lives (and livelihoods) to Stephenie Meyer’s extraordinary success?
Here’s my point – Stephenie Meyer saves lives.
The market must have more vampires and werewolves and other things undead…
Every one of these errr…. writers, even those who thought they were successful before the publication of Twilight and now know what success actually means, should, if they are honest folk, be sending a portion (how much is up to them), a portion of their new found wealth to Stephenie each year for the rest of their lives.
Each night these second rate authors should kneel, clutch a copy of Twilight (hardcover, paperback, red-edged, movie tie-in, illustrated or deluxe edition, it doesn’t matter) to their breasts and say twenty Blessed Stephenies before they get into bed.
For tomorrow, their poorly written, badly conceived, idiotically premised, penny dreadfuls will, against all sane expectation, sell and sell and sell, in the wake of a phenomenon.
Blessed Stephenie, hallowed be thy name.
About the Contributor
While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.