Michael Allen’s How and Why Lisa’s Dad Got to Be Famous

Anyone interested critical and enlightening comments on publishing, literature and writing will be on cyber-nodding terms with Grumpy Old Bookman, cited by the Guardian, a leading UK newspaper, as ‘one of the top ten literary blogs’. Beneath the superhero mask is one Michael Allen, a long-time writer of fiction, and publisher in his own write. Nobody – perhaps even Michael – seems to know how many books he has written, such is the variety of pseudonyms he has employed. But there’s little doubt that Michael can turn out a well-crafted phrase or two, evidenced by his blog and a couple of quotes about his previous fiction: ‘Absolutely first class’, The Bookseller; ‘Solidly constructed’, New York Times Book Review; ‘Don’t miss it’, The Observer.

So you could probably do worse than pick up a copy of Michael’s new book, How and Why Lisa’s Dad Got to Be Famous. On the basis of his publishing pedigree, it will do you no harm whatsoever to scoot over to this page at Kingsfield publications, where you can purchase the book or – here’s the clever bit – download it for free. If Michael will pardon the idiom, he appears to be one old dog who is not afraid of picking up a new trick or two. In contrast to the slow-on-the-uptake traditional publishing industry, Michael is aware that (in the words of Cory Doctorow, another author who releases his books for free) people will not fail to buy your book because they’ve got a free copy of your book; they’ll fail to buy your book because they’ve never bloody heard of you.

Michael’s publication licence permits the book to be quoted at length. Here we go:


Hello Lisa. This is for you.

And hello to everyone else too.

Lisa is my daughter. I don’t see her as much as I’d like because she lives with her Mum. We used to be married, Lisa’s Mum and me, but now we’re not.

Lisa is still quite young. She’s eight now. Seven when this business started. She’s a bit too young to understand all of this just yet. But one day she’ll be grown up, and when she is I want her to be able to read this story. If I’m not around to tell her myself.

Of course, Lisa may understand more than I think, al- ready. They grow up quick these days. And I know she’s seen all the TV shows – even when they first went out, late at night. But there’ve been a lot of lies and foolishness printed about me and Debbie, and I don’t want her to believe all that. And there haven’t been just stories in the papers, either. There’ve been books and CDs and DVDs and documenta- ries, and endless stuff like that. Con tells me there have even been pirate copies of the TV programmes. Which means that people are selling the TV series without paying the company a fee. They sell them in the Far East, and Africa. It’s very big in Africa.

So there’s been a lot of fuss and – well, nonsense. So I want Lisa to know what really happened.

This is my side of the story. The true story.

You can read more about the book, including an interview with the author, here.

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Ian Hocking

Writer and psychologist.

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