I recently bought John Dies at the End, by David Wong. Don't ask me why. I normally don't buy into hype, or allow myself to be exposed to it to begin with, but somehow I got bit by the hype monster, and purchased the book. I read it rabidly at first, then halfheartedly, finding it way too TV for my tastes. In a nut, the novel was a barrage of dick- and fart jokes, punctuated by some truly great writing. A strange combination. Even so, I endured all four-hundred-odd pages of the text, to find out the devilishly clever way Mr. Wong had John die at the end -- but John didn't die. The book is concluded with John alive and well, with an afterword in which the author mentions that he had originally published the book because he needed to fix his car, a fact that I took notice of for no reason I could ascribe at the time.
That night, with the bitterly droll aftertaste of John Dies at the End on my tongue, I went to eat dinner, and found that my dad had left a newspaper article for me to read. He does this, as a favor to those he knows, tearing out articles of interest and furtively leaving them in places they'll be found. So, I read this latest leaving as I ate my meal, and the first thing that jumped out at me was a picture of a jolly, jowly, white-haired chap, a Mr. Ken Follett, according to the caption. And then, above it, the headline: Need to fix car spurred Follett's writing career.