The Widow Hunter
These two extracts from The Widow Hunter offer contrasting aspects of Martin Baker's journeys in Hollywood.
The first excerpt, 'What Did I Do?', is a story of the early days - a writer's entry into a unique sub-culture. Martin's first novel, Meltdown (available now on this site's Fiction list) is a darkly satirical financial thriller. Meltdown is set against a financial crash that began to happen in reality just after Meltdown's first publication in early 2008. Hollywood was baying for Baker's attention, not to mention the rights to the book, which led the fiction list of a major UK publisher. Lunches, brunches, meetings and some of the most expensive mineral water known to man all beckoned. But Hollywood, if it does take prisoners, does not take them alive. The former lawyer, senior newspaperman and debutant novelist found himself reduced, in Tinsel Town terms, to the status of a short-trousered, snotty-nosed schoolboy. Still, the start of the journey was not without its consolations as the chance encounter with gorgeous film star, Scarlett Johansson (see the short extract, below) demonstrates.
The second, longer extract, is 'Too Many Notes' - a sharply written, practical guide to the intensely technical - and even more intensely political - business of giving and receiving Notes (as in notes on a screenplay). Martin is in demand as a script editor and writer, and 'Too Many Notes', is acerbic and funny, but grounded and useful. It's an essential tool (which is how he sometimes describes himself) for any writer seeking to make his or her way in Hollywood.