Saturday, 29 October 2016

Imogen Trager's online presence

Apparently, Imogen Trager, the heroine of my book, Faithless Elector has a larger online presence than I do. When a friend recently took a Facebook personality test, it concluded that she should consider becoming an FBI agent.  In the comments section, I suggested she change her name to Imogen Trager--an FBI Agent.

My friend felt she knew the name (she has read the book), but Googled it nevertheless.  To her (and my!) surprise, Imogen has quite a large online presence.  In fact, Imogen Trager has a larger, more consistent online presence than I have.

I find I'm a bit jealous.  Or is it darker than that?

All writers hope their characters have a life "beyond the page."  We hope they seem real.  I remember one of the highest compliments I received some years ago was from an acquaintance who told me how at a dinner party he'd started telling a story about something that had happened to a friend of his.  But as he told the story, he later related to me, he realized he was talking about a scene in the book I was writing back then, and the "friend" was a character in the book he had read.

Why did that earlier instance make me feel good, where this leaves me troubled?  Am I a modern-day Major Kovalyov, obsessed with status and rank?

In Nikolai Gogol's absurdist short story, "The Nose," Major Kovalyov's nose goes missing and ends up living a better life than he, its owner. Kovalyov frets and seethes because his nose achieves greater social rank (status) than he ever had himself.

Perhaps the difference between now and twenty-five years ago is the nature of status: how it is achieved, and what it represents.  In the indy-publishing business, we live by 'mentions,' 'likes,' and 'follows;' by 'shares,' author- and sales rankings, all of it contributing to our rank in search engines. To be on page two of the search results is almost as bad as not existing.

I think it must be the exclusivity of her presence on the search results page that bothers me. Her rank is such that the first two pages of search results relate to her and no one else; whereas I have to share my presence with a musician, an insurance broker in London (they seem like very nice people) and an ad for

Will Imogen and her red hair continue this life of their own?  Will her status grow and mine wane?
Or am I just losing my mind?

Publishers Weekly says Faithless Elector is a “fast-moving topical thriller.”  Its “surprising twists add up to a highly suspenseful read.” The sequel, Dark Network, is coming soon.

Faithless Elector, by James McCrone is available through Amazon.
If you live in Philadelphia, pick up a copy at Head House Books -or- Penn Book Center