Last October I announced that I had written a novel, a mixture of fact and fiction that purported to reveal the truth about the 1975 kidnapping of Elvis Presley, and that I would be publishing it privately as an e-book, available in time for Christmas. It didn’t happen because I was persuaded by some friends who had read it that this was the wrong approach, and that I should seek a ‘proper’ publisher that would put it out as a ‘proper’ book, ie one with a cover and printed pages. It was, one friend told me, ‘a bold literary conceit’. I rather liked that.
To this end, in the early months of this year I approached several publishers, both in the UK and USA, only to be told that they only read manuscripts sent in from literary agents. So I approached several agents, all of whom I had dealt with as Editor-in-Chief at Omnibus Press, a position I held for 33 years until the beginning of last year. None wanted me as a client. I was told by those that had the courtesy to respond that they weren’t seeking any more authors right now or that my Elvis book wasn’t the kind of thing in which they were interested. The vast majority simply didn’t even bother to get back to me at all, quite a contrast with the reaction I used to get when I ran Omnibus. It also occurred to me that if someone with my track record in music journalism was unable to get anyone to even read my work, let alone publish it, then what hope for anyone without my background? If that sounds like sour grapes, then so be it, but at Omnibus I always made a point of acknowledging unsolicited proposals and, although the vast majority were turned down, in most cases I tried to offer some guidance to would-be authors. It was a matter of civility.
Chastened by the absence of interest from the book publishing world of which I was once a member, by the end of March I was resigned to going back to Plan A, the e-book route, and had even made inquiries with a company called Matador that prints your books for you and tries to sell them – but at some cost to their author. I wasn’t enthusiastic about this and was also keenly aware that the optimum time for publishing my book was August 16 this year, the 40th anniversary of Elvis’ death, when the King’s profile might just go up a notch or two.
Then a miracle happened. My friend Neil Cossar, whose company Absolute PR had at one time handled the Omnibus publicity and promotion, read the book and brought it to the attention of another of his clients, Red Planet Publishing, which publishes quality rock books. Their MD read my book in one sitting, couldn’t put it down he said, and made me an offer. I had lift-off at last.
So, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the book will be published in time for August 16, now re-titled Caught In A Trap: The Kidnapping Of Elvis. (ISBN: 978 1 9113 4658 6, extent: 304 pp, dimensions: 198 x 129mm, paperback, price: £8.99 or $15.95.) A front cover is being designed as I write and an advance information sheet for the book trade reads as follows:

Caught In A Trap draws back the veil of secrecy on the most dramatic event in the life of Elvis Presley. In October of 1975 Elvis was abducted and spirited away to a cabin in the Kentucky mountains where he was made to sing for his supper. After a week in captivity a ransom was paid to ensure his release, a bizarre episode that was hushed up on orders from the White House, no less.
       This psychological thriller not only reveals the dramatic details of how Elvis was snatched but also delves into the innermost thoughts of the King of Rock’n’Roll. How does Elvis react when he is treated like an ordinary person, told to sweep floors and chop wood? How does he interact with his kidnappers? Will his songs grant him his freedom? And how do those close him, among them ex-wife Priscilla and manager Colonel Tom Parker, respond to the crisis?
       Caught In A Trap is so believable you’ll be asking yourself why it has taken so long for the real story to get out.

Last year I posted a couple of extracts from the book on Just Backdated, together with news about it, under its working title Elvis Kidnapped, but since that has since been changed these can now be found here under Caught In A Trap. The book has been revised quite a bit since then. I will post another extract closer to the publication date.


Anonymous said...

Great news Chris, I look forward to buying my copy.

Joanna said...

I would not buy this book..it's just another attempt to ruin Elvis' reputation .& to make money..like so many other books out there & written by his EX WIFE. J

Chris Charlesworth said...

Hi Joanna, I think Elvis comes out of my book quite well, certainly better than a book like the one by Albert Goldman for example. So does Priscilla. And I haven't made a penny out of it, nor do I expect to. CC