Popular birdwatching fiction

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Popular birdwatching fiction
From: Andrew <>
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 19:49:52 +1000
I'm 40 yrs old.  Like the venerable JAG, I don't always agree with what
Andrew Stafford writes.  However, I think he makes a very salient point
when he implies that there is no "cool" birding character in popular
fiction/media.  No offence to Bill Oddy, but his time has passed (and
his character on The Goodies wasn't associated with birding anyway).  In
the English-speaking world, I have found only 2 authors who are
producing birdwatching-based fiction.  They are both in the USA.  The
main character in one set of novels is a sixty-something lady who ably
fits the stereotype of a pushy old biddy.  The main character in the
other novel is a lady Andrew Stafford's age.  However, she's not really
a birder and is surrounded by (you guessed it) older birdwatchers.
I myself am an aspiring writer and have written a birdwatching based
novel.  I deliberately made the main character a keen early-twenties
male birder.  The manuscript has been assessed by a very successful
Young Adult author who describes my main character as "just so cool".
However, Australian publishers aren't interested because - although the
writing technique is sound - they just don't think it will sell.
Therein lies the dilemma.  Birding won't become "cool" until popular
culture allows it to.  And popular culture won't create a "cool" birding
character because the people who make the decisions are infected with
the old stereotype of boring old fart birdwatchers.
As for myself, I'm considering taking the self-publishing route next
year.  The question is - will I do my money???
Andrew Thelander

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