Talk of the trade: Not bad for a PR man

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The Independent Online
IT IS not normally taken as a compliment when a newspaper publisher asks one of his reporters: 'Why don't you go into public relations?' But George Hearst, publisher of the old Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, did Thomas Eidson a great favour when he proffered that advice in 1972. Within 14 years Eidson was chief executive of the PR giant Hill & Knowlton, and this year, just before his 50th birthday, he stepped down as chairman, although remaining as an executive vice-president. As if that were not success enough, he has just made dollars 1.1m from his first novel, St Agnes' Stand, published tomorrow by Michael Joseph.

'I consider it as found money,' he told me in London last week. 'There's something wonderful in having one foot in the reality of the corporate world and the other in fantasy.' Not many would use the word reality to describe the wacky world of PR, but I suppose it is a mite less incredible than earning dollars 1.1m from your first novel.