First published four years ago, ‘My Secret Sister’ by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith (ghostwritten by me) has rarely been out of one chart or another in its first three years, achieving bestselling NF book of the year in Canada.
Helen and Jenny recently added a new ‘Afterword’ chapter of their own, producing a second edition of this very popular book. As a result, it has soared back into the Canadian top ten bestsellers at number 4 for the past two weeks and also rose to number 1 again on Amazon’s non-fiction chart.
Anna Ruston’s brave book Secret Slave is number 5 in this week’s Sunday Times Bestsellers Top Ten after only three days of sales. Blink, the publishers, are delighted with this great degree of success in only it’s first week of publication. It certainly has people talking and many parents making sure their children are more aware and more prepared when they venture out.
Anna decided to contact me to ghostwrite her book on the suggestion of her therapist and she says working with me on this book to tell her story for the first time has been the best therapy she’s had. She hopes it will help prevent other teenagers from being kidnapped and also that it will prompt more training of police, NHS and social services staff to look for the signs and not be afraid to report what they suspect.
‘Secret Slave’, by Anna Ruston (with Jacquie Buttriss) is a shocking account of Anna’s kidnapping at the age of 15 and being kept captive in an ordinary house, in an ordinary street, for 13 years, until she finally found the opportunity … and the courage, to escape. After all those years of horrific sexual and physical abuse, during which she was pimped to many men, had her babies sold and suffered many injuries, she was too fearful to tell anyone what happened to her. Now, at last, many years later, as part of her therapy, she has dared to share her story.
On publication day, 29th December 2016, ‘Secret Slave’ was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme and on the front and inside pages of the Daily Mirror. The following day more than forty other daily newspapers reported her story and politicians were interviewed for campaigning editorials, wanting to raise awareness and to prevent such situations happening in the future.
On publication day, ‘Secret Slave’ shot up to number 1 bestselling memoir on Amazon. By the afternoon of that first day, they sold out of books and the publishers had to order a reprint. On their site, Amazon picked ‘Secret Slave’ as their “hot bestseller”.
‘The Cast-off Kids’ by Trisha Merry was published by Simon & Schuster on 2nd June 2016, with strong pre-publication sales. This is the second of a two-book deal from this author, both with Jacquie Buttriss as ghostwriter.
‘The Cast-off Kids’, set in the 1960s and 70s, focuses on two ‘cast-off’ infants, abandoned first by their mother, then passed round the family, to be abandoned again by their grandmother and finally their father.
Two-year-old Daisy and one-year-old Paul are in desperate need of someone to love them. They’ve come to the right place when they arrive at Trisha and Mike’s front door, to a house full of love and laughter.
Trisha and Mike now have ten children under 5, most of them damaged and let down by parents, and often by social-services too. Daisy and Paul thrive and flourish in their loving care for ten years … until an eager and idealistic new social worker believes that mother is always best. He engineers their return to their birth mother, who sets fire to their past, then re-abandons and separates them within days to a succession of children’s homes.
Several years later, Paul embarks on a search to find the only two people who ever loved him …
‘My Secret Sister’ by Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith (with Jacquie Buttriss) was announced as the 2015 number 1 best-selling non-fiction title in Canada, according to sales figures received by the Canadian Globe & Mail. Having spent six months (26 consecutive weeks) at number 1, ‘My Secret Sister’ remained in the top five for over a year.
Well done to Helen and Jenny for promoting their book so well at the outset and for responding personally to each of the many hundreds of emails they have received.
Today is officially the publication day for ‘My Secret Sister’, the memoir of Helen Edwards and Jenny Lee Smith, of which I was the ghostwriter. Yesterday, pre-publication, this book shot into the top 100 best-seller biographies at number 17, which we are all thrilled about. This changes every day, so I’m sure it will have its ups and downs.
There is a media frenzy, almost literally, since the publication of double-page feature articles in both The Guardian’s Family section and the Daily Mail, as well as some local TV coverage in the past few days. More articles, radio and TV broadcasts are scheduled in and both the sisters are dashing about the country trying to fit it all in!
Top journalists and media commissioners have been very complimentary about “an enthralling new book” (Joanna Moorhead). “The media in London is buzzing for this” said one, whilst another said “We will do anything to have you on our show.” That refers to Helen and Jenny of course.
As ghostwriter of this book, I am thoroughly enjoying being able to watch all the fun of Helen and Jenny’s interviews and hearing the behind the scenes anecdotes, without having to stray from a warm house where I can get on with what I love- writing more books about interesting people and their fascinating stories.
‘My Secret Sister’ is available in both paperback and e-book formats in bookshops and online. There is a link to it in on Amazon in my last blog posting.
It’s always exciting to see the cover design of a new book I’ve ghostwritten and this one is no exception. Cover proofs are now on the way. Macmillan have done us proud, with an excellent new title and evocative subtittling beneath. The cover image is haunting. I have just completed all the revisions, so now it’s all systems go. ‘My Secret Sister’ will be published in March 2013.
Being a ghostwriter is sometimes akin to being a spy. We heard the news last week, but it has to be kept under wraps for now!