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Windcutter
06-23-2014, 03:04 AM
Hi everyone! I thought of maybe starting this thread in the Sandbox, but then decided to bring it here because it's not so much about the plot point, it's about making it realistic and I haven't been able to find enough material.

My character is a teen who got kicked out of college despite initially having a scholarship. (This is to give you an idea of her age and resources.) She witnesses a super famous author (like James Patterson level of famous) commit a very questionable thing. Her plan is to blackmail him. Now she has to get through to him somehow in order to deliver her message. This is where the title of the thread comes into play, since to the outside observer she appears to be a fan stalking him.

And this is where realism becomes a problem. From the actual happenings (though the fans doing it are often a little deranged) it seems some sort of restraining order is often given when there is even a slight case of assault or trespassing.
But if she doesn't get that close, there is no way for her to deliver her message. Any kind of letters, etc, would be lost among fan mail. Yet I can't have her getting a restraint order, there mustn't be any obvious troubling connections between them for the sake of the plot.

A friend (who is a fan of an actual celebrity) says it can be easy enough to somehow get close if you followed them, I mean to do it without getting into trouble, but it would be only for a short time. Like enough to snap a picture or something or maybe even steal a kiss if you are crazy enough. Not enough time for a conversation, and of course no messages are paid any attention to.

If the girl was rich, she could have hired a private investigator to find out his usual routes, addresses, etc, and just start following him looking for a lucky moment. Then, like, put her car in the middle of a narrow road to block his car and then force him to listen to her. A bit cinematic, but workable. The problem is, she is rather poor, and I can't change that because of plot reasons.

So basically my question is, is there any realistic way to avoid a restraining order for her while she's repeatedly trying to get him to be alone with her (because it makes zero sense to talk about what he's done around other people, it will kill the blackmailing route)?

Ketzel
06-23-2014, 03:11 AM
Does the first contact have to be fact-to-face with him? What if she gets his private email address or cell phone number and leaves a message that forces him to respond to her?

Cath
06-23-2014, 03:14 AM
What about a conference/book show where the author is available or signing books (Book Expo America/ London Book Fair, etc). Authors and celebrities often engage with fans in just such events.

Alternatively the character could pose as a journalist/photographer looking to do a feature on the author. She would have to have an excuse to do that in person.

Windcutter
06-23-2014, 03:19 AM
Does the first contact have to be fact-to-face with him? What if she gets his private email address or cell phone number and leaves a message that forces him to respond to her?
It definitely could be a message (mentioning some details of the Thing so he knows it's for real), but my imagination fails here :) I don't know how she could realistically get his private email or phone number or Skype ID. Public ones obviously don't work, same with trying to go through his agent. I thought of her trying to pretend being a journalist in order to get a fake interview, but... he's a powerhouse. An "ordinary" author would be pleased, I think, so they wouldn't check it up or ask questions, but someone like this character gets too much media attention to fall for such a trick. It would be like trying to get an interview with J. K. Rowling.

Karen Junker
06-23-2014, 03:24 AM
You could make something up -- maybe the author has a brother she's read about in a bio or article about the author, and the brother either owns a brew pub/brewery and is famous for being a sort of a drunk. And she befriends him and gets to go to his house and gain access to his phone list, either in an address book or a computer. Or she gets the brother to take her to a party at the author's house. You can come up with lots of ideas.

Maryn
06-23-2014, 03:32 AM
I regret to say I've known some adult women who were so nuts about an actor their behaviors bordered on or became outright stalking. (He's still alive!) A person who's intent on speaking to a celebrity simply learns where he sometimes is, and hangs out in those places. Does he visit bookstores, conventions, the local coffeehouse, a menswear store, his agent's office, a local bank, a gas station? Of course he does. She simply follows him from whichever of those she finds him at, and speaks to him in a way which does not frighten him into calling the police yet gets her message across.

Maryn, who could probably get this actor's home address from people she knows online in literally ten minutes--but won't

Marlys
06-23-2014, 03:32 AM
I agree that a book signing is easiest. Even big names do those. She could say a few words to him to get his attention (or write them on the page he's supposed to sign) then could give him a note containing her demands.

The interview idea could work even with a celebrity author, if she had a particular slant--like claiming she was writing for the student newspaper at his high school or college alma mater.

JulianneQJohnson
06-23-2014, 03:40 AM
If she follows him around covertly, avoiding actual contact, she could learn his actual address and send him a letter. Fan mail gets shunted aside because it goes to a different address, often a PO box, not because it is sifted at the celebrities home.

Following a celebrity around is not difficult. Paparazzi do it all the time. Folks like James Patterson don't go around with bodyguards generally.

frimble3
06-23-2014, 05:22 AM
If she follows him around covertly, avoiding actual contact, she could learn his actual address and send him a letter. Fan mail gets shunted aside because it goes to a different address, often a PO box, not because it is sifted at the celebrities home.
^This. As long as she's subtle about it, stays well back, only turns up at public events, doesn't try to fling herself into his arms, I don't imagine there's much that he could do.
She's just a fan. If she dresses inconspicuously, he may not even notice the difference between 'lots of girls around' and 'always that one girl hanging around'. Even if she wants to shove a message into his actual hands, if she bides her time, stays well back and only does it once, that's not stalking, that's over-enthusiasm.

Vito
06-23-2014, 03:44 PM
What about a conference/book show where the author is available or signing books (Book Expo America/ London Book Fair, etc). Authors and celebrities often engage with fans in just such events.



I think that's a good idea. When I read the original post, the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books was the first thing that came to my mind. It's an annual event that hosts big-name authors, who take part in public panel discussions about various topics related to writing or the publishing industry. I'm pretty sure it's still the largest book fair in the United States.

itsmary
06-24-2014, 06:35 AM
Does she only need to get close to the celebrity long enough to deliver her message? I've known people who met celebrities by finding out what hotel they were staying in and waiting outside, or paying attention to where they were via twitter or just asking around. It's part luck, part knowing who to ask, but it can definitely be done, and sometimes it's surprisingly easy. I can see someone slipping a celebrity some sort of note or even whispering in their ear during one of these encounters. And if said celebrity is being blackmailed, I'm guessing keeping their attention after that won't be too difficult anyway.

wendymarlowe
06-24-2014, 06:49 AM
Also worth pointing out that authors don't tend to get noticed quite the same way visual celebrities (models/actors/etc.) do. They may get comments when strangers have a reason to see their name in print - on a credit card, paperwork, or whatever - but it's just not like stalking an actor.

I think if she were perceptive and did her homework, she could probably figure out somewhere the author is likely to be in his regular life (grocery store?) and could arrange to "bump into" him there. That could lead to "Hey, you're not Famous Author, by chance?" and then whatever brief conversation she wanted to have.