I get a bit depressed when I’m writing my forgotten authors column in the Independent On Sunday – the weekly column is now called ‘Invisible Ink’ , which allows me more scope to cover authors who are still alive – I don’t want to offend them by calling them ‘forgotten’ (as I managed to with the still very busy Bill Tidy). But largely speaking, the pattern with writers throughout the century is invariably the same.
1. Early success (thanks to controversial subject matter)
2. The Big Hit Novel
3. A rubbish Hollywood version that eviscerates original
4. Attempt to follow big hit
5. Another smaller hit
6. Collection of short stories (diminishing returns)
7. Move to Hollywood – disastrous – possible breakdown
8. Back to UK as a TV writer
9. Successful adaptation of ‘Poldark’.
10. More failed attempts to recapture early success as novelist
11. The wilderness years
12. Drinking/ Penury
13. Last attempt at novel that critics sneeringly call ‘dated’
14. Lonely tragic death
15. Forgotten for five years
16. Rediscovery of backlist
I guess I’ll be covering myself there eventually. Glad I got the Hollywood Years out of the way first!