I am delighted to welcome
Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (26 July 2013)
Available as a paperback or on kindle
*~Andrew ~ Welcome to jaffareadstoo~*
What inspired you to write Secrets of the Italian Gardener?
I was invited, in my capacity as a ghostwriter, to take tea with Mrs Mubarak in the palace in Cairo, just a few months before the Arab Spring toppled her husband and family from power. I was very struck by the difference between the calm, elegant world she inhabited inside the palace and the hot, crowded, angry streets outside. I think it was that evening that the seeds of the idea took root.
What can you tell us about Secrets of the Italian Gardener that won’t give too much away?
I have worked a great deal in recent years with the very rich and the very powerful, and I have been struck by how interconnected they are and how their grip on the money and the power is growing ever tighter, the gap between them and the rest of us widening at an incredible rate.
This story is set amongst those people and also asks the reader to consider whether or not they too could be corrupted if the price was right. Suppose you were asked to choose between the life of your daughter and the lives of a few hundred villagers in another country who you have never met and know nothing about. Are you sure you would make the right choice? What is the right choice?
How different is it writing something as you, rather that ghost writing on behalf of someone else?
Oddly, it doesn't feel that different. When I am ghosting I pretty much feel as if I am that person while I am actually writing - a bit like method acting, I guess.
It's storytelling through another's eyes, as is writing fiction with a narrator like the ghost in "Secrets of the Italian Gardener".
What are your main literary influences?
Graham Greene was the main influence in making me want to travel to the more exotic parts of the world, along with travel writers like Paul Theroux and Jan Morris. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald piqued my interest in the very rich and the ways in which their lives are made different.
What scares you about writing?
It's always a worry that no one else will be interested in anything you have to say.
What books do you like to read?
I tend to read around whatever subjects I am writing about at the time, so I read both fiction and non-fiction, old and new. I am led to books as much for research purposes as pleasure, although the two often co-incide.
I have been commissioned to write a memoir, "Confessions of a Ghostwriter" which is due to be published in the summer.
Andrew ~ thank you so much for spending time on our blog.
Jaffa and I wish you continued success.
My thoughts on Secrets of the Italian Gardener
In the Secrets of the Italian Gardener, Mo, a Middle Eastern dictator enlists the help of a ghostwriter, ostensibly to write his autobiography, whilst at the same time enshrining his dictatorship in history. Once inside the luxurious palace, the ghostwriter finds his time with Mo to be quite challenging, and it is only when he meets with the eponymous Italian gardener, that he can start to rationalise, not just the atmosphere inside the palace, but also to understand the challenging events in his own life.
This well thought out novella takes the reader into the inner sanctum of a Middle Eastern dictator. The story is quite fascinating and the thoughtful nature of the prose allows remarkable insight into the greed and corruption which lies at the heart of a fraudulent regime. The author clearly knows and understands this world, and uses this knowledge to good effect.
If you are looking for something just a little bit different , then I think that this perceptive little story is well worth a read.