Having written over twenty novels,sold over 300 million copies and a world Guinness record of the most translated author, Sidney Sheldon is a household name and an enigma in the novel world.
I personally met Sidney in 2012 after I completed high school. My dad was an avid reader and among his top authors (and I think his favorite) was the maestro. He plundered our house with novels after novels of Sidney and it was only natural when I took interest in the same.
The first Sidney Sheldon book I read was Mistress of the Game and this opened my life with Sidney. I could have sworn the author was a woman because of how relatable his stories were to me. Needless to say, his portrayal of women planted the first feminist roots in me.
I had read many authors before and the women roles were a cliché. This time, an author was writing about women who had literally crawled out of a muddy life to having their names written on the walls of fame. These women worked hard, faced insurmountable challenges and sometimes felt like they could give up. But they made it. They were normal women and through reading their stories, both them and Sidney told me I could make it. I read his books back to back like a crazy person and sometimes I thought he could have simply been my dad.
Recently, I read Sidney’s memoir ‘The Other Side of Me’ and I don’t think there could have been a better time for me to read the book. After reading all his books save two, I met the author word for word. This was not a story about Jenifer Parker struggling to become a lawyer and making it. It was Sidney himself, at 88 just one year to his death. He was telling me and other readers about his life.
His life started just like your normal life. He came from a poor family, his parents divorced and he constantly had suicidal thoughts something he came to realize was bipolar. He talks about his hopelessness at first and his humble beginnings as he tried to begin a career in Hollywood as a writer. He starts in the lowest ranks and climbs slowly amidst moments of low self esteem and major fuck-ups.
It’s his drive that was most inspiring to me. He kept writing and sending manuscripts to major studios and was audacious enough to ask for jobs and get them. He manages to land a career on Broadway and finally rises to become a trademark playwright in major studios like Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Universal, Columbia, Paramount among others. But this is amidst major fallouts, negative reviews, unsuccessful pictures and just a holistic life.
Believe it or not, he started writing while he was in fifties. And that was really incredible. He says this of his writing career, “Of all the varied writing I have done over the years — motion pictures, theater, television, novels — I prefer writing novels. Novels are a different world, a world of the mind and the heart. In a novel, one can create characters and bring them to life. The transition from playwright and screenwriter to novelist was easier than I had expected. And the advantages!”
It’s a great wonder that it’s his novels that build me up. In his novels, he has planted seeds of self- believe and the need to push on in the midst of great self-doubt and life’s challenges. And it’s not only for me. Sidney stated in the Other Side of Me, “Women have told me that they had become lawyers because of Jennifer Parker, the heroine of Rage of Angels.” That’s fucking powerful!
Touching people’s life is a greater achievement than a billion dollars in an artist’s life. Of course after you get the billion dollars. And Sidney did that for me and other numerous audiences of his novels. He lived a full life I swear. He is a writer I wouldn’t mind emulating so watch this space.
Am gonna share his novels so that you too can get charmed with his enchantment.
The Naked Face
The Other Side of Midnight
A Stranger in the Mirror
Rage of Angels
Master of the Game
If Tomorrow Comes
Windmills of the Gods
The Sands of Time
Memories of Midnight
The Doomsday Conspiracy
The Stars Shine Down
Nothing Lasts Forever
Morning, Noon & Night
The Best Laid Plans
Tell Me Your Dreams
The Sky Is Falling
Are You Afraid of the Dark?
The Other Side of Me
Have a blast!
Long live Maestro!