Mistaken Identity: When Something You’ve Written Shares Its Title with an Infinitely More Famous Work

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Hard to believe but this is my 400th post! Where did all that effort come from? A little bit here and a little bit there. Thanks for reading!

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In 2004, I wrote a category romance novel (Harlequin, Mills & Boon, whatever you call them in your region) called Liberty’s Secret. It was the story of a woman named Liberty Freeman who had successfully reinvigorated a serious magazine from low circulation to being the talk of the industry. Now she was asked by the publisher to do the same thing for a publishing company he had just bought with the help of a financial whiz named Quinn O’Connell. Cue pounding hearts, stolen kisses and Liberty’s insistence that she wasn’t interested despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. And her secret was the reason why.

Liberty’s Secret was the last romance book I wrote. By the time I finished writing it, I knew I didn’t want to continue writing romance or be known as a romance writer. So I shelved it. I put it aside, choosing not to publish it, and I have barely thought about it since.

When I started writing Single White Female Writer, I was constantly trying to figure out ways to repurpose all of the many, many things I have written. So when I wrote a blog post about writing sex scenes for fiction and admitted that this wasn’t a strength of mine, I also posted the sex scene I had written for Liberty’s Secret to prove it was true.

Since I posted it, the sex scene from Liberty’s Secret has averaged one view per month. Like I said, it’s not great. And because it’s just that one scene, completely out of context from the rest of the missing novel, that makes sense to me. Also, because it was an example of something I didn’t think I did that well, I didn’t mind that much.

So imagine my surprise when WordPress notified me of the following: “Your stats are booming! Single White Female Writer is getting lots of traffic.” And when I checked to find out why, it was all because of the sex scene from Liberty’s Secret. In one month, my average views from that post had increased significantly. And in just one week, the average views had increased 4,100%!

What the heck was going on? Continue reading

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Book Review: The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith

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This is the final in my series of reviewing books I have already seen the movie adaptations of. The Sheep-Pig is, of course, the basis for the wonderful Australian film Babe. It tells the story of a piglet won at a fair in a weight-guessing competition by Farmer Hogget. The farmer calls him Pig but his mother called him and his brothers and sisters Babe, so that’s what all the other farm animals call him, including his adopted mother, Fly, the collie dog.

Fly is a working dog and soon Babe wonders why he can’t be a sheep-dog, too. She explains it’s because he’s a pig. “Why can’t I learn to be a sheep-pig?” he then asks. And when he saves the sheep flock from being stolen by sheep rustlers, Farmer Hogget begins taking Babe along when he and Fly round up the sheep. Eventually, Babe takes over many of Fly’s duties and she’s very proud of her adopted son, proving that a little pig can do anything he wants to do. Continue reading

Book Review: Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg

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This is another book that I’ve already seen the movie of before reading it, before I even knew it was an adaptation, before I even knew there was a book. The more I read, the more I worried I was going to be left unsatisfied by it because it was exactly like the movie. The adaptation had been very faithful to the text. Usually that’s a good thing. But because I was reading the book after having seen the movie, I was looking for the differences, the details that can’t be replicated or demonstrated on film. I wanted a different experience, not the same one I had while watching the movie.

I got that and so much more. It’s not a perfect novel (it could be called slow) but it is so close that I can’t give it anything other than 5 stars, which anyone who reads my reviews and ratings will know is not something I do often. I’m a hard marker but this is a great book. This is a book that should be and will be read for decades to come. This is a book that should also be used as a teaching tool for all others wanting to write a book. Continue reading

Book Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

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This is a book for a very particular time. That time is the years after the planes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York. Published in 2005, the backdrop of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close is 911. The story spans the course of a year as nine-year-old Oskar Schell finds a key in his father’s wardrobe and then spends another year looking for the lock it belongs to.

Unfortunately, more than ten years since it was released, the fact of 911 isn’t enough to make it “heartbreaking”, “tragic” and “intensely moving”. The fact of 911 has faded into recent history (as all events do), but history nonetheless, and so we must look at the story and the writing itself for whether the book will stand the test of time. I have doubts. Continue reading

Book Review: Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher

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This is the second in my series of reverse reviews, reading books I’ve seen and enjoyed the movie adaptations of.

Postcard from the Edge is the story of Suzanne Vale, a Los Angeles-based actress struggling with drug addiction and a so-so career. When we meet her, it’s day one of her thirty day stay in rehab and she’s keeping a diary at the suggestion of one of her counsellors. Through Suzanne’s diary, we also meet the other people she’s undertaking rehab with at the same time and none of them are all that important to the overall story. Continue reading

Book Review: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Other Pieces by James Thurber

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I bought this book because I’m embarking on a reading challenge, which is to read a series of books that have been made into movies that I’ve already seen and thought were pretty good. Usually I find it hard to read a book if I’ve already seen the movie of it because I spend a lot of time doing comparisons. “That’s not what happened in the movie.” Or anticipating what’s about to happen. “This is the part where he gets shot.”

This is a book of James Thurber’s short stories, one of which is “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. It was probably a good book to start this challenge with because the titular short story is only five pages long. It’s hard to get caught up with comparisons on such a short piece of text. In fact, apart from his name and the fact that Walter Mitty gets caught up in daydreams to alleviate the boredom of his life, there aren’t too many similarities between the short story and the movie starring Ben Stiller. But it’s a good short story. Continue reading