Monday, February 08, 2021

Biblioholic's Bookshelf - Mr. Apology by Campbell Black

As I've discussed here from time to time, I worked at a newspaper for many years. After a while in general news, I moved into the features department. They asked for me after my first novel came out because it seemed to indicate I could write descriptive prose. I was more interested in writing about arts and letters and entertainment anyway, but it never proved to be a good fit.

Surprisingly the editors were not particularly interested in arts and letters, movies, music, books or many of the things that usually go into, you know, the arts and entertainment section of a newspaper features section. 

Despite that attitude, I always tried to bolster book and author coverage when I could, since I was working in that vineyard and knew what that meant to writers as well as readers.

Often, in spite of that, I was peripheral to decisions. 


An author from, I believe, New Orleans came by one day with the cover art from his upcoming techno-thriller style book. He'd just received it from the publisher.

His selling point was a shadow of a helicopter, almost an Easter egg the artist happened to drop into the mix. It was maybe a stretch to get editors interested. Didn't work even though he was a Louisiana writer and had something new from a New York house in a popular genre.

Somewhere in the process they introduced him to me, though I wasn't getting assigned to review his book. I think they had me busy on something exciting like "People Who Own Dogs in Cenla." 

In the course of conversation, he mentioned a friend, Campbell Armstrong whose real name was Campbell Black. "He sometimes writes as Thomas Altman."

I'd read Black Christmas and The True Bride. I said, "Yeah, I've read him. He puts out some things as Campbell Black."

"NO, HE WRITES AS CAMPBELL ARMSTRONG," the guy said emphatically. Wouldn't hear of different.

I let it drop, but I knew my own book holdings, and I had the one pictured at my house though this is not my copy which is in storage at the moment. 

The editor never took an interest in the guy's cover nor his technothriller. 

He sent postcards a few times after as reminder, escalating his tough sell, but there were stories about refrigerator magnet collectors to be assigned. So it goes. Today we have this thing called the internet that at least settles disputes. 

All of that came back to me for some reason. Conflict sticks with you, I guess. 



Got my copy from storage, so here's the back cover.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...