I interact with various fans, and fan groups, of celebrities featured in the Abigail Phelps Series, in an attempt to spread the word about my books. You see, I wrote the books as a fan. I chose people I like, and have liked for years. I chose figure skaters who I grew up watching - Torvill & Dean, Gordeeva & Grinkov, Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano. I chose movies I have watched so many times I know them by heart - Out of Africa, Sleepless In Seattle, Bridget Jones's Diary. I chose actors who I trust, and by that I just mean I will go to a movie simply because they are in it, because I know they will make me laugh or cry, or I'll at least enjoy looking at them - George Clooney, Robert Redford, Colin Firth. I am a superfan, and I wrote of each of these movies and people because I enjoy spending time with them. And I was sure other fans would as well.
Today I was interacting on a social media site with a devoted fan of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean. I was telling this person I thought they would like my book, but she very kindly informed me people don't like stories about Chris without Jayne.
See, if you don't know much about Abigail Phelps, here's what you need to know for this blog post: many of the events and circumstances Abby describes in her life really did happen - but they happened to other people. Christopher Dean is partners with Abby, not Jayne Torvill. Robert Redford starred in Out of Africa with Abby, not Meryl Streep. Tom Hanks was half of the romantic comedy duo of the 90's, in the movies Sleepless In Seattle and You've Got Mail (I must have inadvertently left out Joe vs the Volcano. Darn.) but the other half of that duo wasn't Meg Ryan. It was Abby Phelps.
Well, if people don't like stories about Chris without Jayne, can it also be assumed they don't like stories about Sergei Grinkov without Ekaterina Gordeeva? Bridget Jones without Renee Zellweger? ER without Julianna Margulies? If that's all true, the fans aren't going to like this book at all!
And I don't doubt that there is some truth to that. But I think that just means I'm marketing it incorrectly. I think that people get the impression Abigail Phelps is fan fiction, but that isn't it at all. Abigail Phelps, Scenes From Highland Falls, and Two Thousand Years make up the life story of a woman who gets lost in the fantasy of celebrity because it's safer. The life that is truly hers is actually more difficult to believe than the idea that she skated Bolero or went to prom with George Clooney.
And that's the story. She is the story. The celebrities are another layer in a deceptively complex set of books, but be assured, the celebrities are not the story. Abigail is the story.