Friday, January 12, 2007

And Mickey Spillane & Mario Puzo are pitching ideas too?

One of the many great bits in Donald Bain's autobiography EVERY MIDGET HAS AN UNCLE SAM COSTUME (Barricade Books $22.95) is his brief description of the days when he used to go up to a publishing company waiting room for a chance to pitch an editor some ideas for stories of the Real Balls Adventure variety. He describes some of the competition in that same room including Mickey Spillane and Mario Puzo. How's that for competition?

Most writers who practice their craft full-time end up writing all sorts of things to make a living. Yes, they see themselves primarily as novelists but novels don't always keep the bank account out of the red.

What's so much fun about this book is Bain's witty observations about the various worlds of fiction, advertising, public relations and ghost writing he's encountered over several decades. This is real life for many, many writers, especially since the days B-movie-type publishing has pretty much vanished.

Bain's currently writing all the Murder, She Wrote books, stories I've expressed amiration for before. They're clever, fast air-clue mysteries that show Bain's writing and humor at their best. Urban legend has it that he's also he author of most of the Margaret Truman bestsellers, though he contiues to deny this.

If you really want to know about the writing life, this is the book for you. True, most of us don't get to dine Gina Lolobridgida as part of our assignment...but Bain took the job on like the man he is. With no complaints.

One of the most enjoyable books I've read in a long time.

Donald Bain--from NAL

Donald Bain, Jessica Fletcher’s longtime collaborator, is the author or ghost/author of more than 80 books, many of them bestsellers. Among his books, the airline comedy, Coffee Tea or Me?, published almost 30 years ago, together with its sequels sold more than 5-million copies worldwide and was the basis of a television movie-of-the-week.

Bain is a graduate of Purdue University and received its highest award for his work in educational radio and television. (He was designated a Purdue “Distinguished Alumni” for 2003.) He went on to work professionally in broadcasting in Texas and Indiana, and co-hosted more than 200 shows in New York with Long John Nebel, then king of late-night talk-radio.

A public relations executive for McCann-Erickson and American Airlines, Bain also was a consultant to Pan Am for the introduction of the 747, the takeover of National Airlines, and a national campaign to promote air travel. Two of these projects earned Silver Anvil awards from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA). In 1985, with his wife, he co-founded Hyphenates, Ltd., which has provided editorial services to a wide variety of companies.

Bain has worked for over 30 years as a professional jazz musician, has taught at the college level and has written myriad magazine articles. He is a member of Sigma Delta Chi, the Writer’s Guild of America, the Authors Guild, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Mystery Writers of America.

Don Bain is married to RenĂ©e Paley-Bain, also a writer, and who collaborates with him on the “Murder, She Wrote” series. He has two grown daughters and four grandsons.

1 comment:

James Reasoner said...

I'd pay money just to sit in that waiting room and listen to those three guys talk.