People, eh? What an assortment they are. Interesting, talented, peculiar, French, anxious and bald. They beg to be written about. Not literally, of course. In fact certain amongst us would no doubt prefer to be spared. Tough. If you’re famous you’re in line for a biography. Get over it. Now pose nicely for the cover photo. Put the dog down first please.
If you plan to write a book about someone famous they are likely to check your credentials as thoroughly as a pensioner worried about letting in the gasman. If your last book was, ‘Hitler: I never did it!’ you may not get the cooperation you require. However it’s in their interests to go along with you: if they do they are colluding in an ‘authorised’ biography and know you will be at pains to be nice to them, pointing out their good qualities (‘Pete is happy and smiley but can also be very serious. His greatest character flaw is his perfectionism etc.’) whilst underlining the journey they’ve been on (ideally born poor, get rich, remain unaffected). If they fail to cooperate, though, then the floor is yours to unleash upon them that most vicious of objects, the ‘unauthorised’ biography. You can get your own back on their lack of cooperation by cramming the book with examples of unmentionable nastiness: ‘Charlie used to wee in the sandpit at school/is a bad lover/leaves the toilet seat up/runs over puppies in his golf cart.’
Regardless of whether you go for hatchet job or hagiography, just make sure there are lots of pictures in there they’re the best bit!