The other day I was in a rehearsal room with a bunch of young women. Several were reading one of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy while waiting to perform. I was surprised. I thought this was a book you might want to read in private (as you can tell, I haven’t read it). I asked one of these young women how it felt to be reading this book at work, in a public place and she replied: ‘Oh I’m on the third book (Fifty Shades Freed) and I just skip the sex because it’s become boring, I’m just interested in what makes the guy tick ’. Silly me thought the sex was the whole point but then my GP, who is a big reader, said exactly the same thing. She too is skipping the sexy bits.
Is that what everyone is doing? (Let me know here - @mscarobaum)
On a more personal note: it turns out that one of my closest friends from my teens and student days in the UK is married to none other than E. L James. He had told me a few months ago that she was writing what he referred to as rude pulp romance but I didn’t pay much attention back then. Silly me could have got a scoop! Now he is being referred to in the media as Mr Fifty Shades of Grey because he’s just done a book deal of his own and the suggestion is he would never have attracted the attention of a mainstream publisher if he were not married to the biggest selling author of the moment. Well, I’m here to tell you that at seventeen, Niall Leonard who grew up in the border town of Newry in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles already wrote brilliantly – I have the letters to prove it. He went on to make a very successful career as the writer of TV series like Monarch of the Glen and Wire in the Blood.
The UK media are being sneery, ungenerous and cynical, not to mention ill-informed in patronising him. But of course he’s having the last laugh : suddenly he and Erika are as rich as Croesus. His young adult novel Crusher will be published in October. The plot sounds great (a boy comes home and finds his father bludgeoned to death and himself the main suspect. He has to find the real killer) and I’m looking forward to reading it.
By Caroline Baum
by Niall Leonard
To catch a killer, Finn Maguire may have to become one…
The most talked-about debut thriller of 2012.
Everything changed the day Finn found his father in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death. His dull, dreary life is turned upside down as he becomes the prime suspect – how can he clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him?
Facing danger at every turn, uncovering dark family secrets and braving the seedy London underworld, Finn is about to discover that only the people you trust can really hurt you…
About the Author:
Niall Leonard is an acclaimed screenwriter, whose credits include Wire in the Bloodand Silent Witness. Originally from Northern Ireland, he currently lives in West London with his wife and two children.