Friday, August 2, 2019

Fancy a drink?

by Abir

What question do you wish that someone would ask about your book or your career or you, but nobody has? 

Authors get asked a lot of questions. It’s brilliant, really. I mean there can’t be that many occupations, other than maybe psychiatry, where the people are really interested in the machinations going on in your head, and whereas psychiatrists charge you for their questions, crime fiction fans often pay to listen to the inane ramblings of an writer. That’s a pretty good state of affairs as far as I’m concerned.

True, I’ve been asked a few strange, and frankly worrying, questions, such as, who would you most like to be held hostage by in a recreation of Stephen King’s Misery?, but many others have forced me to think pretty hard about what and why I write. My books are grounded in the real history of the British Raj, a period which still engenders strong reactions from different groups, and often I get asked questions which make me query things that I’d taken for granted. To be honest, it’s pretty wonderful to be challenged on such matters as it forces me to think harder about my own opinions and prejudices.

On a lighter note though, there is one question I’ve been dying to receive, but which I’m still waiting to hear. Before I tell you what it is however, I feel I need to clarify something. I don't particularly like product placement in novels. I do think that quite often, the naming of a certain brand of this or that, unless done well, can seem jarring and take the reader out of the world you’ve created for them. I don’t mean to say that it’s wrong to mention, say the brand of a handgun used or something else relevant to the plot – that is obviously justified – it’s more where a brand is thrown in which adds nothing to the furtherance of the plot.

There is of course one exception to this: whisky. In all of my books, I mention Glenfarclas as the brand of single malt that my protagonist, Sam Wyndham, is partial to. I do this because it’s my favourite whisky too. Now the question I’d like to hear, preferably from some benevolent soul at the Glenfarclas distillery, is this:

‘Will you become a brand ambassador for our whisky?’

Of course, I’d play hard to get. I imagine the conversation would go something like this:

Phone rings. I pick it up.

Me:      ‘Hello?’
Ms Glenfarclas:           ‘Hello, is that world renowned author and part-time male model, Abir Mukherjee?’
Me:      ‘Err…I don’t know who told you about the modelling, but it’s true I used to model step-ladders. I have very shapely ankles and was much in demand by DIY catalogs during the late nineties. Anyway, who are you and what do you want?’
Her:     ‘I’m calling from the Glenfarclas distillery and-‘
Me:      ‘How did you get this number?? It’s an outrage! I have ri-. Wait. Did you just say the Glenfarclas distillery?’
Her:     ‘Yes.’
Me:      ‘Go on.’
Her:     ‘We’d like you to become a brand ambassador for our whisky. Will you do it?’
Me:      ‘How very dare you?! I am a man of principle! I won’t sell my soul to the capitalist system! I’m a person of the highest integri-‘
Her:     ‘We’ll pay you in bottles of our 25 year-old.’
Me:      ‘Done.’

Because here’s the thing: I have principles, but when it comes to whisky, I’m weak. And a bit of a hypocrite.

Have a good weekend everyone.


Frank Zafiro said...

Hilarious, Abir!

See, even writers dream!

Susan C Shea said...

Hard to get, huh? ;-)