Fear in Writing: Humor & Suspense, Author Graham Parke

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Humor & Suspense, Author Graham Parke

Today, Southern City Mysteries welcomes author Graham Parke.  His humor/suspense novel, No Hope For Gomez! is available now.  Even though it's a late post, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

The Strange Truth Behind the Best Seller Lists, by Graham Parke

We all know there’s more to creating a best seller than mere fine writing. There’s marketing, timing, luck, and much more. A few years back, I decided to find out exactly what it takes to create a best seller. My discoveries are sure to amaze you. I’m going to transcribe a revealing conversation I had with a prominent figure. I’ll be giving you this verbatim, because if I summarized, you probably wouldn’t believe me. So relax, grab yourself a glass of cucumber juice, and prepare to be stunned!

Tuesday, Feb 15th, 2007; inner office.

John: “So, if I understand you correctly, Mr. Parke, you’re here today to apply for a position of best selling author?”

Graham: “Internationally best selling author, yes. I’d like very much to be considered. I’ve brought writing samples.”

John: “Writing samples, yes, so you’ve mentioned. Mr. Parke, I have to ask, do you know what it is we do here?”

Graham: “Of course.”

John: “You’ve seen the signs throughout the building, then?”

Graham: “Yes. They state that you sell meat packing equipment.”

John: “Precisely. Meat packing equipment. So, to be brutally honest, I’m not entirely sure what it is you think we can do for you.”

Graham: “Come on… you know…”

John: “No, Mr. Parke, I really don’t. Now, if you’d be interested in a warehouse position, or something in accounting, I could hook you up today. Barring that…”

Graham: “Come on, don’t play dumb with me. I’ve brought writing samples, can’t you just take a look? I promise they’re good.”

John: “That’s entirely beside the point. Look, even if we weren’t in the business of selling meat packing equipment, I’m quite sure that you don’t actually apply for a position as a best selling author. It’s all down to sales numbers. They’re tallied per region. It all happens automatically I believe.”

Graham: “Come on. Everyone knows best sellers are chosen by a secret committee.”

John: “I don’t know much about publishing, Mr. Parke, but even to me that sounds like a load of fanciful nonsense.”

Graham: “Please, just look at the samples...”

John: “Are you sure you don’t want to take a job at our warehouse while you’re waiting for this writing gig to pan out? I can’t tell you how difficult it is to find good warehouse jockeys. You’d be doing us, as well as yourself, a favor.”

Graham: “I’m sorry John may-I-call-you-John it is sort of common knowledge that you, in fact, are the very people who decide the bestsellers.”

John: “I see. And who told you this strange tale?”

Graham: “It was Google, actually…”

John: “Ah. Yes. Well, the thing is, Mr. Parke, this blasted Information Age makes our task somewhat difficult. The ranks have to be kept small, you have to understand. We have to keep more people out then we let in. So I’m afraid we cannot simply make anyone who comes through these doors a best selling author.”

Graham: “Don’t worry, I really don’t expect you to.”

John: “Good.”

Graham: “Just make me one. That’s all I’m asking.”

John: ::sigh:: “So, what kind of best selling author were you hoping to become?”

Graham: “A mystery-slash-comedy author. I’ve brought writing samples.”

John: “That’s amazing!”

Graham: “It is?”

John: “Yes, that is simply amazing… that you actually believed your writing abilities would be under consideration. How wonderfully naïve.”

Graham: “Eh…”

John: “Have you ever taken a look at a bestseller list? I mean, a good look? What on earth makes you think that narrative voice or level of originality have anything to do with matters?”

Graham: “Well, I’d just assumed that if my writing was good enough…”

John: “How morbidly stupid of you… No, Mr. Parke, when I asked you what kind of best selling author you were hoping to become, I was of course referring to the number of first year sales, growth rate, staying power, that kind of thing. We need to keep the categories from over running.”

Graham: “Oh, I see.”

John: “Here, why don’t you fill out this form. It will tell us everything we need to know about you. I’m not making any promises here, but if you want to be considered, this is the only way in.”

Graham: “Really? Thank you so much. This is very cool of you. Let’s see, this doesn’t look too complicated, name, address, social security number. But, why does it say ‘Warehouse Job Application’ at the top of the form?”

John: “Don’t worry about that. It’s just a cover like the signs plastered all over the building. We have to at least appear to try and keep this operation hush-hush. I’m sure you understand.”

Graham: “Of course. My lips are sealed. So, what happens next? You’ll be in touch?”

John: “Just show up at the warehouse at 9:00 a.m. Monday morning. They’ll tell you what to do. They might have you perform some little rituals for a while. Just go with it. All will become clear pretty soon.”

And so, dear reader, this is how I finally got my writing career on track. Of course, I cannot tell you the name of the company you need to apply to, I promised them I wouldn’t. But, just Google around a bit, you’ll figure it out.

I’d like to sign off by telling you about a little give-away I’m organizing from my forum. It’s a limited edition novelette set in the ‘No Hope for Gomez!’ universe. It won’t be availbe for purchase.

Reviews for No Hope for Gomez!
"Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature." -- California Chronicle

"The antics in this book will leave the reader laughing. Graham Parke is a genius." -- Readers Favorite

“A veritable page turner of nonstop laughs. Buy a copy and find out for yourself!" -- Reader Views

A big thank you to Graham Parke for visiting Southern City Mysteries!  You're welcome back any time!


  1. If the book is as cleverly written as the post above, I think I'd love it.


  2. Thanks guys! I'm glad you like my weird little post :)

    - Graham

  3. It really is great, isn't it? I'll leave it up and promote it through tomorrow afternoon since it didn't get much air time today. :)

  4. That was really fun! I love the solution - wonder how long it will take him to realize... :)

  5. That was hilarious! Thanks Graham (and Michele for hosting). I must check out the book. I like to laugh even more than I like to be scared...though that post accomplished both :)

  6. Thanks for the extended 'air time' Michele. I'm so happy more people will get to find out the truth. Anyway, off to the warehouse...

    - Graham

  7. I've heard about this! The company's best-selling authors get to wear blue footies and hair nets. Thank you for sharing. Perhaps you could also share the secret code needed when you punch in your author time card?

    Straight From Hel

  8. That's hilarious! I need a laugh like that more often. Thank you, Graham (and Michelle)!

    And... cucumber juice? I'll have to find out more about that as well as the book...

    In other news, you have an award over at my blog. Have a great weekend!

  9. Love the comments almost as much as the post. We all need that secreat code, Helen.

    And thanks, Jackee! I'm headed over!