Are You Lying?

2/2/10

When a book gets published, the author is typically asked by the publisher to fill out a questionnaire covering the author’s personal and professional background, previous publishing credits, etc.  The information is used by the marketing department to promote the book.

Having filled out such a questionnaire for my first two novels, I wasn’t surprised when my current publisher asked me to do the same for The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare, due out in June.  But this time I was also requested to sign a statement certifying that all the information I provided in the questionnaire was “true and verifiable” and that I could produce documentation, if requested.

I’m guessing this in response to recent cases where authors have penned best-selling memoirs and, quite frankly, lied.  The media pounced on the stories, the publishers claimed to be shocked, and the liars made a lot of money and became even more famous.  In this country, we reward people for behaving badly.

So I want to confess right here and now that I lie all the time.  I write fiction, and what is fiction but a tapestry of lies so beautifully and movingly interwoven that the story feels utterly true?

But I don’t lie about who or what I am.  Even a bestseller isn’t worth that.