'Lost' finds forgotten 'Twin'
Synergy doesn’t come easily.
That could be the lesson of “Bad Twin,” the pseudonymously written “Lost” tie-in book, which Daily Variety has learned was penned by thriller author and noted ghostwriter Laurence Shames.
“Twin” was published by ABC’s Disney sister unit Hyperion Books last month in a clever cross-promotional campaign meant to play off the obsessive interest in ABC series “Lost.”
The story behind the creation of the tome — a mystery written under the pseudonym Gary Troup (an anagram of “purgatory”) — is testament to how hard it can be to coordinate such efforts, even between divisions of the same media conglomerate.
Insiders say writers on “Lost” were asked to provide a list of elements that Shames could incorporate into the novel. But the author had his own vision and wound up including only a few of the elements.
“Lost” scribes had written Troup in as a character on the show, as a passenger presumed dead in the plane crash but who left a manuscript behind. That connection sent fans flocking to bookstores to search for clues to the show’s mysteries and propelling the book to a number of bestseller lists.
Hyperion is probably not too unhappy with “Bad Twin”: It was an innovative marketing idea that turned into a bestseller — the goal for any title. Still, the book has received only limited mentions on the show.
“Lost” staffers now are said to be concentrating more heavily on a different tie-in: “The Lost Experience,” the ongoing interactive game that strews clues across the Web about such mysteries as the show’s fictional Hanso Foundation.
Show staffers also were frustrated that the book referenced copyrighted elements for which the publisher had not sought clearances, saying it would make it difficult to use those elements on-air.
But Hyperion told ABC that, like all publishers, it doesn’t normally seek clearances on copyrighted items in its novels. The house also said the book’s production schedule could have been held up if such clearances were sought.
Hyperion has had success with other tie-ins, including pseudonymous novel “The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer,” which tied in to, and explained mysteries in, the ABC miniseries “Rose Red.” That book turned out to be written by thriller author Ridley Pearson.
Shames has written a number of comic thrillers set in the Florida Keys and was the ghostwriter behind the bestselling Mafia title “Boss of Bosses.”
The news that he’s the “Bad Twin” author may disappoint some fans who thought the novel might have been penned by Stephen King. But it may prompt some of them to search for anagrams of Shames’ name.