I’ve just had an e-mail from Amazon asking me if I’d be interested in a certain selection of titles by one of their best-selling authors. The titles include: ‘Crystal’, ‘Sapphire’, ‘Paradise’ and, oh this is a bit worrying, ‘Angel’ and, even more so, ‘Angel Uncovered’. The author concerned, as probably 95% of the book-buying population knows (the exception being the sort of people who are enrolled on, or maybe otherwise involved with, university creative writing classes), is Katie Price (aka brand Jordan).
I had actually recently become aware of this unfortunate co-incidence Â — but only several weeks after our course reading had touted the title of my novel to the great and good of the London literary agency world as ‘THE Angel’.
I was pulling up weeds in the vegetable patch when I was listening to Dale Winton on Radio Two — who was making a more entertaining stand-in turn than Steve Wright normally manages (why is it that EVERYONE Steve Wright mentions always ‘Loves the Show’ — and that Steve Wright feels it necessary to tell us that?).
Dale Winton was interviewing Katie Price — as one can imagine it wasn’t really a Jeremy Paxman style grilling. After they exhausted the topic of how the media were for some inexplicable reason always invading her privacy (she’s only done three interviews all year so who on earth is promoting the constant coverage of her in the tabloids?) they discussed her writing career. I was mildly interested until I heard the name of the main character of the series — Angel –who’s oddly enough a glamour model.
I was pretty mortified by this at the time. Partly it was because I’d not done my research on names and, had I done so, then I may have avoided using any angelic references in my title. That said, many books have similar titles and Katie Price is the kind of author (if that’s the right word) whose name is in far bigger type on the book cover than the title, which is almost incidental. However, even though the literary agents we invited to the reading would certainly not have expected me to launch into a carbon-copy bonkbuster (I hope) then they may have been unfortunately reminded, even subliminally, of the connection.
I still like my title, though, as it has a lot of meanings and connotations — apart from the religious guidance, protection and revelatory aspects it’s also the name of the nearest tube to City University — it just has an extra association now.
What I’m a bit more unsettled about is Amazon sending me an e-mail suggesting I might want to buy the whole Katie Price canon. I may once have browsed briefly at her book after I heard the Dale Winton interview although I remember more clearly flicking through the new one (‘Paradise’ I think in W.H.Smith) and having to wait as long as page five to get to a sex scene. I can understand them sending me mails about creative writing books or boring IT strategy texts that I buy for my MSc in Software development but I’ve hardly, if ever, looked at the sexy adventures of Angel. I do have a lot of files on my computer’s hard disk with Angel in the title, though, and I may have sent a lot of e-mails with Angel in the subject line. Makes you wonder.