The ghostwriter who worked with Millie Bobbie Brown on her debut novel has revealed the writing process the pair followed, saying they used Zoom and Whatsapp to bring the book to life.
The Stranger Things star, 19, has been criticized by some for using a ghostwriter to help her write her first novel, with some saying both of their names should appear on the book’s cover.
Nineteen Steps, was published yesterday and tells the story of 18-year-old Nellie Morris, who lives with her family in Bethnal Green, in the East End of London, as the Second World War rages around them.
Brown attended the book launch at Hackney Empire on Tuesday with her fiancé Jake Bongiovi and posted a photo of herself with her. ghostwriter Kathleen McGurl on her Instagram account, saying: “A HUGE thank you to my collaborator – I couldn’t have done this without you!”
Joint Effort: Millie Bobbie Brown enlisted the services of author Katherine McGurl to help bring her ideas to life for Nineteen Steps, based on her grandmother’s war stories.
The book’s co-author responded by writing: “It was fabulous chatting with you before tonight’s show! It was a privilege to work with you on this subject, especially sharing the precious memories of Nanny Ruth.
On his own website, McGurl, who has published more than 14 novels under his own name, explained what the writing process was like.
Below the blog post “A new start”the writer, who lives in Dorset, revealed that her agent asked her some time ago “if I would consider collaborating with a celebrity by writing a novel”.
She wrote: “I received lots of research already put together by Millie and her family, along with lots of ideas, and we had a few Zoom calls.”
McGurl continued: “And then I got to work and wrote the first draft, while Millie kept sending more ideas via WhatsApp. The book has gone through several versions since then, as we refined the story.
After it was revealed that the star had used the services of a ghostwriter, many netizens suggested that McGurl’s name should have appeared on the book’s cover as well. Instead, there is a note inside the book that says “with Katherine McGurl”. ‘.
Others defended the teen, saying many celebrities use ghostwriters.
One wrote: “It’s funny to me that a 19 year old female celebrity is getting so much hate when middle aged male celebrities have been doing this for years.”
During press appearances for her debut novel, the star shared what inspired her, saying her family history was the main source of inspiration.
Brown, who played Eleven on Stranger Things and also starred in the Enola Holmes film series, has spoken frequently in recent weeks about how her grandmother inspired the book.
She told Woman’s Hour presenter Nuala McGovern this week: “I love the story of older people and the stories they tell, even if they’re completely made up, which is sometimes the case! But I hope that after reading (Nineteen Steps), you will go talk to your grandparents or parents and learn about your family history.
Taking shelter: Doing their best to protect themselves from the rain, the 19-year-old actress and her fiancé, Jon Bon Jovi’s son, 21, stayed close under an umbrella as they entered the Hackney Empire in London.
Millie’s grandmother Ruth died in November 2020 from Alzheimer’s and the actress revealed how she honored her grandmother’s passing while recording the audiobook.
The Stranger Things star explained, “Losing her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through and I don’t know if I’ve ever truly healed from it.”
“So in making the audiobook, I was a little afraid to talk about it because I had read it so much privately for myself.
“I lit a candle and put her picture in front of me and it was a very emotional few weeks rehashing all these stories and also figuring out how she would tell these stories.”
Reflecting on her childhood, Millie said: “I was with her for a lot of my childhood by choice. I love my parents but they’re not as interesting as her!
“When she passed away, I really wanted to capture her stories. When I was a child I recorded her and as we looked through those recordings we thought there might be room for a story about her life.
“My grandmother talked a lot about the war, especially when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. She would forget what she ate the night before but would remember what she ate on her fifth birthday, things like that were so weird.
“Because I have studied and still study Alzheimer’s disease, I really wanted to focus on this story to make her feel safe and heard. Some I had heard hundreds of times and others that I’d never heard before and I’d say ‘nah, you never told me that’ and she’d say ‘oh, I didn’t think you’d care!’