Ah, Borderline Famous.
Originally published as The Thompson Gunner. I hadn’t yet read this one when Nick and I started working together, but I’ll be honest that part of the reason I wanted to work with Nick was new access to his books I hadn’t before been able to get my hands on.
Like The Thompson Gunner. I remember the first time I saw the cover, and its publishing info, way back in the days of a very different internet. It looked dark and moody, deep and somber and reflective, like it was a complete departure for Nick away from his light-hearted yet poignant explorations of real, nuanced characters.
And then I started reading it, and I discovered it’s not really a departure at all. If anything, it was Nick at his best on a whole new level, a deeper level. His characters had always felt real, but by delving into her history, her childhood, and by deftly flipping between flashbacks and present day, Nick portrays Meg in a way that makes it feel like you’re getting to know a person. It’s a little like if you think of Nick’s other work as hanging out with real people, this one is like real intimacy with Meg Riddoch.
It’s brilliant. I love it.
When I read it, I sent Nick a note that I loved it but wanted to change the title and re-position it (from a marketing perspective. This is inside ball). Nick was on board with the idea (I’ve found Nick remarkably open to ideas. It’s amazing to work in such a way with one of your favorite authors), and I pitched him a few ideas. We settled on Tumble Turns at first, but after some testing and learning, we think that Borderline Famous works better, and is so much more in line with Meg.
And if you’d like just a taste of the novel, check out The Italian Job, a short story set in a sort of alternative universe with Meg and her driver: