Andrew Crofts

How did you become a writer?

When I left school at 17 I wanted to be freelance and I wanted to have as many different experiences as possible. I wanted to be able to follow my interests, ask a lot of questions, learn a lot, meet a lot of different people and hear a lot of stories. I also wanted to spend a lot of time on my own, thinking and writing. So I did every sort of writing work I could find, earning money wherever I could. I wrote begging letters to every editor and publisher whose address I could find, and submitted my own speculative work at the same time. Eventually people started to respond and eventually they stopped sending rejection letters.

Name your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, etc.).

I learnt to read with the Paddington Bear books. For comedy I was influenced by P.G. Wodehouse, for lifestyle by Lord Byron. I learnt about the rich from Scott Fitzgerald and the poor from George Orwell and it was the books of Graham Greene, Jan Morris and Paul Theroux that made me want to travel.

When and where do you write?

My study at home is a converted game larder with windows on three sides looking out over the gardens. I work best from lunch time to dinner time.

What are you working on now?

I am working on an American billionaire's business book/biography and am about to start the memoir of a young man who survived the genocide in the Rwanda as a small child after seeing 80 members of his family slaughtered with hammers and machetes. 

I am putting the final touches to a manuscript for a spiritual leader based in Paris and the biography of an Australian who has built an enormously successful company in Saigon. (Graham Greene-land again.) At the same time I am promoting the newly published paperback version of my novella "Secrets of the Italian Gardener".  

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? 

No, never. My theory is that if you get blocked you are not ready to write that book and simply need to do some more thinking or some more research. I always have several projects on the go at any one time anyway.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

"Kill your darlings" - i.e. cut out most of what you write to make sure it is as tight as it can be.

What’s your advice to new writers?

Learn about marketing and how it works. You need to be able to sell yourself and your work - or you will starve.

Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, a dozen of which were Sunday Times number one bestsellers. He has also guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing.

Andrew’s name first became known to publishers for the stories he brought them by the otherwise disenfranchised. Travelling all over the world he worked with victims of enforced marriages in North Africa and the Middle East, sex workers in the Far East, orphans in war-torn areas like Croatia and dictatorships like Romania, victims of crimes and abused children everywhere.

The enormous success of these books brought many very different people to his door; first came the celebrities from the worlds of film, music, television and sport, and then the real elite in the form of world leaders and the mysterious, powerful people who finance them, arm them and, in some cases, control them. 

As well as using traditional publishers to reach readers, he has also published his own fiction, most recently “Secrets of the Italian Gardener”, which draws on his experience among the powerful and wealthy.

His books on writing include “Ghostwriting”, (A&C Black) and “The Freelance Writer’s Handbook”, (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years and “Confessions of a Ghostwriter” (Friday Project)..

Throughout his bestseller, “The Ghost”, Robert Harris quotes Andrew’s book, “Ghostwriting”. Harris’s book went on to become a major movie by the same name, directed by Roman Polanski and starring Ewan McGregor as the eponymous ghost.

Andrew was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors from 2012 to 2015. He lectures on the subject of making a living from writing at Kingston University and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing.