How to get published
By Juliet OC
The Roberts were just plain greedy. Ugly, feckless and greedy - what a bunch of bloody eejits. It was obvious to anyone with half a brain that they were ‘copycatting’, except of course, Kayleigh, didn’t have the cute eyed innocence of Sophie, nor the exotic setting, nor for that matter the MILF.
What’s hot? Misery memoir, autobiography and celebrity authors - hot, hot, hot!
Obviously it couldn’t be me that did it, my role (already written) was to find her, not snatch her. But it was easy enough to find a couple of foils. The Poles are everywhere and desperate for money. I chose a man and woman, £500 upfront and the rest on delivery. I didn’t want the little mite frightened to death, and women have that way, that inbuilt maternalness. Like my ex-wife, before she got all feminist and kicked me out, said I was a waste of space with delusions of grandeur – Bitch!
Legoland – 5th birthday – poignant.
Merry-go-round – perfect.
I wave, now you see her… now you don’t… She waves, now you see her… now you don’t…. now you….
“She was there on the horse, the one with the sparkly pink mane. Have you seen a little girl? Barbie pink top, jeans, fluffy pink bobbles in her hair? Amy, her name is Amy.”
We made the front pages. Sophie’s parents sent in a quote. I think the photographer got my best side.
I couldn’t get hold of the Poles. Gone to ground. The media furore was unprecedented.
The website was an instant hit and the blog a masterpiece. Obviously I took snippets from the novel, began to build the suspense, it’s amazing what you can plant into peoples’ minds with a few choice words. Within two weeks, sightings of Amy were made in both Dover and Calais, giving me the opportunity to head over there, desperate but resolute. Her mother, blamed me, said I wasn’t watching her closely enough – head stuffed with rubbish ideas for novels I can’t write. Bitch!
I made the front page for the sixth time when I hit Paris. My blog was now the hottest thing out there, and each night I would add the next excerpt. I still couldn’t get hold of the Poles, but headed towards Switzerland as planned. The police seemed to think she was closer to home. They said the blog comments were nutters, trying to get famous.
BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE, GUYS! Sun Headline.
The Sun, took up the cause with gusto, great paper, massive readership.
DESPERATE FATHER FOLLOWING LEADS FROM BLOG, WHILST POLICE LAG BEHIND!
LATEST SIGHTING IN SWITZERLAND! LOVING FATHER HOT ON THE TRAIL.
I had a Sun reporter join me as I left France. Pretty little thing, if a bit dumpy. It was going perfectly, except for the ruddy Poles, who still weren’t answering the phone. But I knew where they were going, so kept on moving. A sighting in the Swiss capital came just at the right time. Sightings in Morocco and Spain were red herrings. People are awfully helpful, so helpful they convince themselves of the truth.
Eight weeks after it began and my readership had hit the dizzying heights of over one million, I prepared for the climax. An anonymous blog comment came in right on cue. Still no luck with the Poles, but who else could have posted it? Who else knew how the novel was supposed to end?
The reporter tagged along. “Got a hunch,” she said.
“Me too,” I replied, “and thanks for last night, just needed to feel close to someone.”
She blushed, twiddled her hair between her fingers.
The Poles were there, as arranged. I shouted, “Amy!” And ran towards the departure gate, vaulting barriers, skidding across the shiny floor. “Amy! It’s daddy!” The police stepped in front of me, cuffs hanging.
The reporter, panting and red faced, arrived by my side. Camera out – flash, flash, flash. Amy in the arms of a policewoman with big red lips, dressed in eastern European clothing. And my ex-wife, white and shaking, mumbling, “how could he, how could he… I always knew he was sick.”
I did it all right. But I’m not the one cashing in the royalties. That bloody reporter has just hit the number one best-seller spot.
How to catch a madman. Is, for anyone that has been on another planet, the story of the failed author (John Mercer), who played out his sick work of fiction and kidnapped his own daughter.
Interview with the author, Clare Bacon, who is also a top Sun reporter.
I’d remembered reading the synopsis, when I’d done a stint at the publishers Curtis Blackmore (before deciding I was better suited to journalism). I remembered it because it had such a terrible plot, full of holes, everyone knows that Morocco is the country of choice for child trafficking not Switzerland. As soon as Amy was snatched from the Merry-go-round it all came back to me. I contacted the police, obviously, and they asked me to go undercover. I didn’t set out to write the book, I just wanted to make sure that Amy was safe. But, after it was all over, the publisher – Walrus, contacted me and suggested that the public would be interested in my unique perspective, how could I say no? How to catch a madman is dedicated to all the children that are taken from their families and is, I think, a lesson in how honesty and truth can and will triumph. My second novel, due out in the Spring, explores…
Whose fault is it? Who forced me to fake the kidnap of my own daughter? You, dear reader, you, and your insatiable appetite for real life misery – don’t you know fiction is merely truth disguised?
But there’s always an upside. Got an email this morning from a publisher who wants the low down on life in prison for a notorious child kidnapper. Now all I’ve got to do is arrange a gang rape.