With Prince Harry ’s long awaited autobiography, Spare, now officially on sale, readers from all around the world have been eagerly flicking through the 416 page book as he opens up about his life.
Tackling everything from the trauma of losing his mother Princess Diana through to recounting his courtship and fairytale romance with wife Meghan Markle, the book has provided numerous revelations and claims against the royal family.
However it may surprise readers to know, that it wasn’t actually Harry himself that penned the book, with the real author ghostwriter J R Moehringer, widely reported as the brains behind the explosive memoir.
But who exactly is he?
Born in New York City in December 1964, John Joseph Moehringer is an award-winning author and journalist, who first began his career at the New York Times where he worked as a news assistant after graduating from Yale in 1986.
From there he later moved on to work at the Los Angeles Times in 1994, and in 1997 he became an on-the-scene reporter for the same paper.
Establishing himself as a meticulous and engaging journalist, John even went on to earn himself a Pulitzer Prize in Feature Writing for his article Crossing Over, about the lives of the descendants of slaves in the US Deep South.
John also released his own memoir The Tender Bar in 2005, which recounted his life from childhood to his early twenties, tells of his coming-of-age experiences at a local bar called Publicans where he escaped much of his chaotic family life.
The book proved to be so popular, that in 2021 a movie version of The Tender Bar was directed by George Clooney and included a star studded cast that included both Ben Affleck and Tye Sheridan. It was officially released on Amazon Prime in January 2021.
Following the success of his own memoir, retired tennis pro Andre Aggasi reached out to John to ask him if he would consider collaborating with him on his own memoir.
A short time later, the ensuing book, Open: An Autobiography was released in 2009 to widespread acclaim.
It isn’t just nonfiction that John has excelled at either, as he also penned a novel entitled Sutton in 2012, which charted the life of a bank robber, and again, was widely lauded by critics and readers alike.
He also once again turned his hand to ghostwriting the autobiography of Nike founder Phil Knight, entitled Shoe Dog, in 2016.
What is ghostwriting?
Ghostwriting is when someone writes in the name of another person, group or company without receiving a byline or public credit.
Working alongside their clients, ghostwriters will typically conduct lengthy interviews and then write up the subjects words into a more fluent form of prose.
In almost all cases, the subject of the autobiography retains full creative control of what information is included or omitted.
What is John's process for ghostwriting?
With three successful ghostwritten titles under his belt, many people may be wondering what exactly the author’s process is to help convey an authentic voice in his writing.
This is something John himself addressed in a 2012 NPR interview when he discussed working on Andre Agassi’s book.
He said that they “did a lot of things together. And the first thing that we did was we started a long really wonderful conversation about his life. It worked like therapy. I sat in a straight back chair and Andre sat on a couch and I had a pad in my lap and he really, he dug deep, and together we found patterns and themes in his life.”
He continued: ”You try and inhabit their skin, and even though you're thinking third person, you're writing first person, so the processes are mirror images of each other, but they seem very simpatico.”
How much did he make for ghostwriting Spare?
For his work on Spare, John is said to have picked up a fee of £820,000 ($1million) according to an article published by Page Six in 2021.
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