ELLEN RIMBAUER TALK
Nobody envisioned THE DIARY OF ELLEN RIMBAUER becoming a best-selling novel?no one, that is, except a certain horror icon from Maine.
The book was originally conceived as just a promotional tie-in to the ABC miniseries ROSE RED, with little expectation that it would take on a life of its own. In its early manifestations, it was to be an architectural coffee-table book, with photos of Rose Red (a bed-and-breakfast near Tacoma, WA, in real life) and a ghost story subtly woven into its pages. ?I thought, ?That?s not going to sell very well,? ? Ridley Pearson, the novel?s author and the scripter of the TV-movie adaptation (airing on ABC tonight, May 12), tells Fango. ?It?s going to be an expensive book, because art-laden books are costly, and we?d sell, like, six copies to my nearest relatives.?
Looking for ideas, Pearson read the ROSE RED script written by his buddy Stephen King (a bandmate in the literary rock group the Rock Bottom Remainders). He homed in on mentions of the character Ellen Rimbauer?s diary, and decided to write that. ?And then Stephen, in his genius, came up with the idea of working a kind of BLAIR WITCH idea into it,? Pearson recalls, ?where my name would not be on it, his name would not be on it.? The RIMBAUER foreword mentions that a best-selling author had found the journal in Maine, King?s home state. And King fans who assumed their idol had written the book fell for the carefully orchestrated prank in droves.
?Part of Steve?s idea was that no one would know who wrote it, and rumors would circulate,? Pearson says. ?And if his fan base jumped on it, we could have a real big book. And that?s what happened.? The novel spent several weeks atop the New York Times Best Sellers list, much to the astonishment of all involved. King confessed that he wasn?t the author last June.
But many still haven?t caught on that the book isn?t real, let alone who wrote it. Numerous fans have reportedly shown up in the First Hill neighborhood in Seattle looking for Rose Red, based on what they?d read, not knowing that the actual mansion location is 40 minutes south. ?To this day we get many, many letters from people who are actually convinced that it is Ellen Rimbauer?s diary, and asking where the house is,? Pearson marvels. ?People really bought into the joke.?
Courtesy of Fangoria