Blackpool businessman's long journey to publication of his first novel
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New York-born Ed Christiano, who used to be the chairman of Blackpool BID and One Blackpool and who now runs marketing agency Deeper Blue, has released Ditching the Ugly Suit, a futuristic tale of technology that allows users to live as someone else.
Ed, who lives in Blackpool and has written two other books, said the story came from a moment of inspiration which took him into a whole world of possibilities
He said: "I have always been fascinated with mannequins. Some are graphic representations, others look more realistic or natural. That and a fascination with wax museums gave me the idea to write about identity and how we see ourselves.
"The character in the fist few pages sees some figures which he thinks are mannequins but they are not. It's all about the migration of the soul into another body and the implications that follow.
"I have worked hard on the editing to make sure there isn't wasted sentence in there and to get the modern balance of description and character development. It isn't my book, it is my readers' book, so it has to be right for them. I think it's an easy read and I just want people to enjoy the ride."
While studying art and cinematography at college in New York, Ed met comedian Andy Kaufman, best known as goofy, foreign cab driver Latka Gravas from the TV series Taxi and the subject of the film Man in the Moon.
He said: "I was designing posters for the acts that came to perform for the students and he was on a comedy tour. I drew his portrait and he signed it. He wrote, 'from one artist to another, tank you very much'."
Ed started his working life as a film technician in Hollywood, working on movies and videos featuring – John Huston, Tony Curtis, Pelé, Vera Miles, Keir Dullea, Robert Walker Jr, Ken Howard, John Carradine and Michael Jackson.
He said: "I thought I wanted to be an animator at Disney and they offered me a job as an in-betweener. It sounded great, but they said I had to do in-betweening for seven years, that was the union rule. But I was so young, 20, seven years seemed an eternity. I could not draw Mickey mouse for seven years!
"Hanna-Barbera only did 12 frames a second on their cartoons whereas Disney did 24, that's why they appear more fluid, so Disney needed artists to do the frames in between. So I ended up as a technician."
It was while working on a film called Young Giants, starring John Huston and football icon Pele, that he met a lady from Blackpool and ended up crossing the Atlantic to start anew on the Fylde Coast in 1988.
From there he set up his own marketing businesses Deeper Blue and now designs websites for a variety of clients. He also designs book covers professionally and has done the cover of his own book Ditching the Ugly Suit.
The book is available online and at bookshops Book and Bean in Kirkham and Plackitt and Booth in Lytham.