During his editing exchanges with his editors and publisher, Irving Wallace was sent the following clipping from the Los Angeles Times newspaper.
The clipping is from an unknown date, though it would have been sometime in 1970-1973 while he was working on The Fan Club. Apparently Wallace had reason to create a mock personal ad for his book. One of Wallace’s editors on the project sent him the clipping as a model and suggesting that Wallace needed to change the size of the font he was using for the heading. So, in this particular exchange, the content of the clipping was completely irrelevant and yet what happens to be in this particular clipping is truly fascinating and could easily serve as inspiration for the latest mystery thriller.
The first personal ad reads:
My 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, & 14th amendment rights have been violated. For an unexplained reason I have been subjected to overt & covert physical surveillance, undercover intelligence gathering, maintainance [sic] of files & dossiers, intimidation & harassment. I urgently need public intervention to investigate as I cannot afford legal costs to protect my rights. Eleanor Hemstreet, 213/361-5361.
The first sentence would make a great opening for a mystery thriller. I can just imagine all kinds of interesting possibilities of what was happening here. Of course, there is always the possibility that whoever took out this personal ad was imagining these things for any number of reasons. But what if she wasn’t?
It is a wonder Mr. Wallace did not pick up on the content of this personal ad and write his own story about it. From the work of his that I have seen thus far, including research notes and observations, he found inspiration in pretty much everything. He was keen to observe people when he was looking to flesh out characters for his novels. Sometimes I find his research notes to be more interesting than the novel he produced from them (sorry Irving!).