My Week - Michael O'Mara, Publisher of `Monica's Story'

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The Independent Culture

Morning activities consist of collecting signatures to prevent a multiplex cinema being built near my home at Crystal Palace. Andrew Morton's wife calls to tell me he's in hospital with a broken ankle. I'm thinking: "Oh no. A huge publicity extravaganza is hard enough; on crutches it's much harder."


I am not surprised to find that certain serious newspapers are quoting the spoiler attributing it to Andrew Morton. This annoys people who phone me up and whinge. I've tried to prevent Monica from seeing the negative publicity - she's been a nervous wreck all week.

I do lots of interviews with radio and press, it's bloody non-stop. I have to pay some attention to publishing this book.

In the evening, I watch football. Morton is a Leeds boy and is completely mad about them; I'm supporting them on his behalf. My fax machine blows up and dies; something has melted, and it smells horrible.


I have rows with more or less everyone today. The main problem over the last few weeks has been jealousies - everyone wants a piece of the action. If every book were like this, I wouldn't have lived past 30. Diana: Her True Story was much more stressful, though the tabloids practically accused us of killing Diana. It is unpleasant sometimes, but the pay is good.

I get a call from Piers Morgan from The Mirror saying "Oh Christ, our exclusive is down the tubes". The New York Daily News has got hold of the tape from the Barbara Walters interview and The Sun is now using it to claim the first Monica interview. We decide to put a picture of Monica holding The Mirror on the front cover of tomorrow's paper to show where the real deal is. Sometimes everything seems to be my fault; everyone is blaming me; it's another territorial war. The most important thing is to remain in good humour.

When I get home I realise I have been so busy that I have run out of wine. Usually I have about 100 bottles, but now I have only one. I love wine and not having any is like forgetting you are married, which is hard for me as my wife is the managing director of Michael O'Mara books.


Today, we send Andrew plus crutches to the States. He is doing the publicity there and Monica is coming to Britain. I get a call from Marsha, her mother. She's a dear thing. She loves the book. I am trying to encourage her to come over here. I think Monica would really appreciate it.


The switchboard is in meltdown dealing with publicity enquiries. I organise my office with a corner which I call the Monica grotto. There's a book and poster display and I make sure I do my interviews there as it helps to sell the book!

Get back from the BBC in time to watch the Jon Snow interview. It is great to see, but Jon Snow never quite gets Monica to relax. She does terribly well and answers questions in a forthright manner.


Up at six. I've got a busy day ahead. I check the coverage in the newspapers; there's a lot of good stuff. A review of sorts in the Telegraph makes me roar with laughter; it says that Kenneth Starr is a regular guy just doing his job and Linda Tripp was acting out of duty. It's amazing. I actually see someone buying the book today; talk is good but we need sales. I am thrilled to hear that Andrew has been received warmly by the American media.

I have got to work out how to get Monica into this country without her being trampled by the press. She is arriving over the weekend. I have a long bath and go to bed early in preparation for my daughter Lucy's 10th birthday party tomorrow.