Pass notes No 4,987: Mo Fanning
Writer of romantic comedy with a dark edge caused by spending too long staring at the sun.
Age: 49 forever
Appearance: Dresses too young for his age, yo-yo dieter, surprisingly not female.
Oh, you mean Mo isn’t a Maureen? Indeed, although camper than a row of tents, Mo is a he/him sort.
Like Mo Vaughn? Sort of, if you take away the muscles and Mo is very pallid due to the hours spent indoors slaving over a laptop.
But the lead characters are almost always women? He puts it down to spending his youth and middle age reading great female writers – and some really bad ones.
So he writes convincing female voices? Male playwrights have been doing it for years.
What’s he writing at the moment? A dystopian tale of a couple who’ve forgotten how to love set in Amsterdam against a backdrop of gay pee parties and drug abuse.
Got to be honest, doesn’t sound like a barrel of laughs. The Armchair Bride featured an armed siege and childhood bullying. People laughed at/along with that.
For the right reasons? Judge for yourself, but editors at leading publishing houses praised the story. It very nearly got snapped up by two major London publishers.
So why haven’t I seen it topping the bestseller lists? Right story, great writing, wrong time. So it was back to the drawing board. But the small press edition has sold respectably and enabled Mo to invest in a Wii Fit and carry on writing.
Who represents Mo? Mo parted company with Annette Green after the first novel failed to hit the big time, but it wasn’t a big hissy divorce. “More of a learning curve.”
Putting a brave face on it? Perhaps, but two years of trying to get back his mojo seem to have worked.
Do say: “Mo Fanning’s routes lie in the traditions of women’s fiction, but his stories offer so much more.”
Don’t say: “I wouldn’t normally read this sort of book, but …”