About Ghost Writing

What is a ghostwriter? And why do they do it?

If you have a great story to tell and can't bring it to life yourself, that's when you need a ghostwriter.

Like the mechanic who instals new brake pads in your car or the doctor who removes a burst appendix, he (or she) is a professional.

The job of the ghost is to find the 'voice' of his subject so that the reader can imagine and empathise with the person they are reading about.

John Carney is an ex-soldier, proudly working-class with a social conscience that is clearly displayed in OPERATION JIHADI BRIDE.

Captain James Ashcroft is a Sandhurst-trained officer with strong opinions on Middle East politics, history, art, architecture, all of which have their place in MAKING A KILLING and ESCAPE FROM BAGHDAD, the two books we did together.

Carney and Ashcroft are both ex-soldiers, but their biographies have tones suiting the individual and that 'voice' brings their characters and characteristics to life on the page.

Likewise with TYPHOON, published by Penguin, a book that had to be fast-paced and compelling to capture the perilous story of Wing Commander Mike Sutton leading 1 (Fighter) Squadron into battle.

TODAY I'M ALICE, Alice Jamieson's story of living with multiple personalities, presented the challenge of constructing real and imagined personas often at conflict with each other. The book spent eight weeks on the Sunday Times top-ten best-selling non-fiction list, so it must have worked.

The ghostwriter has to please his writing partner but just as important, he has to impress his agent, publisher and the reading public.

Writers write alone to be read alone. It is a lonely occupation. Ghostwriting provides a partner and a pre-existing story with its inbuilt twists and turns, setbacks and redemption.

Each one of us has talents, original ideas, a unique way of thinking. The good ghost discovers and channels these qualities to give great stories the words they need to fly.



Most of my books are ghosted autobiographies, an individual story told in first person narrative. I meet the person, usually at my house (so that they know where their story dwells while it is being created). We begin with iPhone Voice Memos and continue with emails and phone calls as the story grows chapter by chapter, a continual sculpture in progress until the work is complete. It usually takes about 6 months.


Invisible Ghosting

Most ghost-written books bare the name of the ghost in somewhat smaller letters than that of the story-teller. There are times, usually with celebrities, when the ghost signs a nondisclosure agreement and never breathes the name of the star who goes on telly to talk about how hard and satisfying it was to write their memoir. I have written several books of this variety, and a couple for a well-known novelist whose name, of course, is hush-hush.


Write Your Story

People who have written their novel or biography but discover it lacks a certain je ne sais quois will find the labours of a ghostwriter can bring flat words bubbling to life.



Academics with scientific, social and philosophic innovations often require a ghost to guide them through the labyrinth of their ideas and make their unique discoveries clear and enjoyable. It's a waste to have a great idea and not be able to present it in a readable form.


Script Doctor

In the movie business, producers (the money) often feel more comfortable with directors. Directors are fun, charismatic, bursting with ideas and fantasy. Writers are cerebral, a bit dull. The result is that producers often take scripts from directors who can't write anywhere near as well as writers who can. That leaves a niche in the movie business for script doctors and most scripts would be better with the surgical ministrations of a ghost. If you have seen a movie and thought some of the dialogue is a bit naff, you know they saved money and didn't hire a script doctor.



How much does it cost? How long is a piece of string? Every project is unique with its own joys and hitches. Drop me an email on the CONTACT FORM with your phone number and I will give you a call.