Welcome to another of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. Today’s is with ghostwriter and publisher Teena Lyons. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further.
Teena: Hi Morgen, I am Teena Lyons and I am one of a select, yet steadily growing, group of ghostwriters. I run my own company, called Professional Ghost and I’ve been ghosting books for seven years. Before I became a ghost, I was a journalist and worked on national papers such as Mail on Sunday, The Guardian and The Sunday Times.
Morgen: It must be really interesting working with someone else on their project. How do you decide what to write about?
Teena: I get approached by a lot of people who want me to help them write their books and I do have quite strict criteria about the projects I take on. First and foremost, the subject matter has to grab my attention. If I am not interested in the content, it is a bit of a tall order to write it in such a way that will carry the reader along too. It is also really important to get along with the main, named, author of the book. You’re not embarking on a life-long relationship (although I have made some great friends with the people I have ghosted for) but writing a book together can be a pretty intense experience. If you rub each other up the wrong way, it can be a really torturous process all round.
Morgen: I can imagine, especially that it must take a while from start to finish. What have you had published to-date? Do you write under a pseudonym?
Teena: Technically, being a ghost, I don’t really exist in the eyes of the book-buying public. I’ve written around twenty books, but not all named authors want it known they’ve used a ghost. That’s fine by me. It is the job I do and I really don’t have a huge ego when it comes to having my name in lights. Perhaps it does have some impact on my subconscious though. I’m forever flicking through the acknowledgements section of books to see whether I can detect an oblique reference to someone who ‘helped’ get the book written. That’s usually the ghost!
Some of the people I have worked with are fine about my involvement and have given me full credit too. So, I can tell you I’ve written books for former Asda and Royal Mail chief executive Allan Leighton, and Dragon’s Den star Deborah Meaden.
Morgen: I would have thought it a shame that you’ve done so much work to not get recognised but it is, after all, their story. Have you self-published anything? If so, what lead to you going your own way?