THE LOST SECRET is a compelling memoir I have been working on since 2012. It is one of these stories that needs to be told and that I would probably have done and dusted by now had I not been terrorised by the spectre of legal issues – and exposure on a biblical scale.
It is two stories running in parallel, each with its own inciting incident: (1) the journey in which I set about piecing back together the secret life I ‘lost’ and (2) the story I uncovered, that is the full extent of the original inciting incident and my subsequent attempts to cover it up, which ultimately led to me ‘deleting’ it altogether.
The first inciting incident is remembering that I even knew Gerard Butler. The second is crossing paths with him the day before he left Scotland to make his fame and fortune – and the immediate fallout. Gerry is not the story but he is the catalyst.
Butler as it happens is the least of my problems. And if I try to meddle with any one part of the story to avoid the prospect of legal action, the whole thing falls down. Believe me, I’ve explored every avenue. As a professional storyteller, Gerry would understand these complexities more than most.
When the first UK lockdown started in March 2020, I bit the bullet and decided to try and earn some money on what I already had, build my readership and use it to leverage the permissions I needed. Then in April, while still sweating over how to safely proceed without them, paranoia about handing the manuscript to third parties and still trying to do the ‘right’ thing, I came across an Angel Has Fallen publicity interview:
“I’ve had dreams where … I’m like ‘Oh my God, I did this’ or ‘I’ve been accused of this’. And people kind of know who I am and I don’t know where I can go. And on the one hand it was awful and on the other it was such a sense of adventure, because you really just had to go and make stuff up as you went … to me that was pure – the essence of adventure … there is something to be said for being in this situation. It’s kind of a blast.”Gerard Butler, August 2019
At this point I realised I was making a meal out of nothing. It was the closest thing to permission I was likely to get.
However, while the pandemic gave me the opportunity to do all this, it was hardly the best time for an unknown author to publicise only part of a book without reviews and shrouded in so much secrecy, so reluctantly I published the first two chapters here on my blog. In addition, I posted an open letter to Gerry, again without revealing anything that might be considered libellous and knowing full well that I still ran the risk of an outright “No” or worse. I doubt whether any of my earlier attempts were even received.
I naively thought in light of the few crumbs I did drop and an air of mystery, social media would be sufficient to get the open letter more widely publicised, if not the opening two chapters as well. Aside from shooting myself in the foot on more than a few occasions, there were any number of reasons why few picked up the ball. I know that several people saw the letter but never read it and when they did, it was mistaken for fanfic. Equally, in a pandemic folks have got better things to think about than celebrity backstories.
However, people do have more time to read, assuming they can still afford it. So, despite the slow start, I see no reason not to go ahead and prepare my final draft for submission to an agent/publisher. At this stage, I have nothing left to lose by seeing this through and Gerry much to gain by (being seen to be) facing up to things he may also have tried his best to forget. So no qualms there.
In the meantime, I will continue to publish other writings to this site and my social media, as well as exclusive material relating to THE LOST SECRET to my Buymeacoffee page. Any help in making my work available to a wider audience (such as follows, likes, shares, constructive comments and reviews) will be much appreciated. Collaborations welcome.
Thank you for reading.
last updated 17 February 2021