My Ghost Writing Experience
Everyone's story is unique. This is mine.
I started my career as a cub reporter in Kent. After four years gathering news on the local courts, flower shows and council shenanigans, I went to Greece as the editor of the English language daily, The Athens News, to report on the shenanigans of the Greek colonels who had seized control of the government in a military coup.
My trips from Athens to Cairo and Istanbul gave me a taste for travel and I moved on to India where I studied Buddhism and worked with the Dalai Lama as one of a team translating Tibetan sacred texts into English.
In Dharamsala, a hill station in the Himalayas, I wrote my first book: Stories From Beyond the Clouds, an anthology of Tibetan folk tales. Holding the book in my hand was life changing. I had a mission – a pressing desire to write, which I feel as strong today as I did then.
Buddhism had given me the sense that all things were possible. The only fear is self-doubt and the millstone we carry is our attachment to things.
From the yin of life in India, I chose the yang of Hollywood, where I met the actress Carol White and helped pen her autobiography Carol Comes Home.
Carol's book launched my vocation as a ghostwriter. Writing is a lonely art and ghosting provides the opportunity to work with a partner and watch something grow together.
Now, with more than 20 books to my name, one critic has written: 'Thurlow is noted for creating novelised-style true life memoirs,' and Penny Wark of The Times kindly described me as 'One of the UK's top ghostwriters.'
Two of my books were Sunday Times Top 10 best-sellers - Runaway (Simon & Schuster 2013), the story of Emily MacKenzie's life as a teenage prostitute; and Today I'm Alice (Sidgwick & Jackson 2009), Alice Jamieson's story of living with multiple personalities.
My latest book, Operation Jihadi Bride, John Carney's mission to rescue young women from Isis (Monoray, 2019), was released to a mass of TV and press publicity - 'Fascinating ... incredibly dangerous,' wrote Ben Machell in The Times. 'A true-life account with all the makings of a military thriller - the action unfolds like a le Carré novel as co-author Clifford Thurlow brings Carney and a cast of colourful accomplices to life,' Soldier Magazine 'Book of the Month.'
Fatwa: Living With A Death Threat (Hodder & Stoughton 2005), describes the flight of Jacky Trevane across the desert with two children to escape an abusive husband - translated into 12 languages, a best-seller in Germany and France with 500,000 copies sold worldwide.
My books set in Iraq with former infantry captain James Ashcroft, are Escape From Baghdad (Virgin 2009), the rescue of Ashcroft's former Iraqi interpreter and his family from Shia Death Squads, W H Smith's Top Twenty; and Making A Killing (Virgin 2006) - on which Andy Martin wrote in The Daily Telegraph: 'Ashcroft must have formed a good working alliance with ghostwriter Clifford Thurlow, because this diary of death and destruction radiates not just personality but that illusive, lyrical honesty the existentialists used to call authenticity.'
I worked with Carlos Lozano on his memoir Sex, Surrealism, Dali and Me, which spent 19 weeks in the Spanish best-seller charts in translation with film rights sold to an international production company.
Everyone has a book in them. I have been honoured to help many people find them.