Having just returned from a heavy month of racecourse press rooms, not least Royal Ascot, I’m settling back into fiction mode again and the novel-in-progress. My Ascot stint reminds me that while everything you read in my fiction is definitely not to be believed (believable, though, I hope!) we still do expect the facts we read to be accurate.
Many years ago at Ascot the various camera angles of BBC led viewers to wrongly assume that trainer Sir Michael Stoute and I were together in the Royal Box with The Queen, whose horse Sir Michael trained. Sir Michael was indeed in the Royal Box, and I was indeed with Sir Michael, but not at the same time. We parted company during a change of camera angles, he to stand with The Queen, me to stand with the usual riff-raff. An editor was one of the BBC viewers to be misled and my visit to the Royal Box was confirmed in print.
The strange thing is, when I corrected all those who asked me about it, they chose to believe the BBC and newspaper instead of me. In fact, they were rather annoyed that I denied it. In the end, in answer to the much-posed question “what’s it like in the Royal Box” I spoke highly of the little bowls of Twiglets and cocktail sausages, tube of Pringles and pile of Ferrero Rocher heaped into a pyramid shape.
The fact is, you really can’t trust every newspaper story, or the deception of TV cameras, which show one angle but not the whole picture. Fiction can sometimes creep into facts. I like it much better when facts creep into fiction and deceive the reader into thinking it’s real! You can’t believe what you read in novels, but it’s the mark of a good novel if you do.
(c) Lissa Oliver