Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why Write? Great post by Tim Hallinan.

I quote from author Timothy Hallinan's website from time to time. I like his books and appreciate his writing advice and insight, which he shares in spades on his website and blog. Had the good fortune to meet him when he was here in Houston this fall and, big surprise, I liked him too. There is a new post on his blog called Why Write? that I think will have meaning for all writers. I hope you'll read the whole post, but this was my favorite passage:

"A novel, whatever else it may be, is a projection of the person who wrote it. It’s been said frequently that a writer can’t create a character more intelligent than than the writer is. I’m not sure about that, but there’s no question that writers can create characters braver, more cowardly, more evil, more saintly, more almost anything than the writer is — because the writer as a functioning personality is a carefully assembled presentation of the good/bad/beautiful/ugly/wise/immature inner voices in his or her skull. Part of growing up is to learn to manage our conflicting impulses, to organize them, like a good photographer faced with a motley crowd and somehow creating a relatively attractive group shot. Sooner or later, we begin to believe (at times, anyway) that that carefully assembled jigsaw puzzle is really who we are. Writing lets us pick that apart and speak to each of those little imps and angels individually and let them stretch their legs." --Timothy Hallinan

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Booya! Poisoned Pen Press receives the 2010 MWA Ellery Queen Award!

Not long ago, I posted about how much I like my publisher. Clearly I'm not the only one! Congratulations, Robert Rosenwald, Barbara Peters, and the whole team at Poisoned Pen Press on being the 2010 recipient of the MWA Ellery Queen Award! Cheers!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bless the readers!

Especially the ones who write to say they liked the book. As a new writer, I'm always astonished when someone I don't know has heard of the book, let alone read it. So when someone takes the time to say nice things about it, I get a little verklempt. Thanks, Dru Ann. You made my night.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Feeling the Book Club Magic

This week I was invited to a charming book club to talk about Final Approach. I enjoyed the wine, cake balls, and a marvelous pumpkin and cream cheese muffin (I've GOT to get to more book clubs...) but the real joy was in meeting these women. They all work at the same elementary school. Most were teachers, one a librarian, and another a counselor. It's always a treat to hang around with other readers and this group was special because I have a soft spot for educators.

We talked a little bit about where my ideas came from, what I'm working on now, and how the publishing process went for me. We went around the room and discussed which actor we'd cast in the role of Vince. I always pictured him as a young Harrison Ford, but one woman saw him more like Tim McGraw and another mentioned Matthew McConneghey. That's the beauty of books.

One gal had a copy of the book that was obviously water logged. Being a bathtub reader myself, I tried to commiserate with her, but she surprised me. "No," she said, "It's not from the bathtub. It's from the shower." She pointed out that much of the book had not gotten wet, which meant that she liked it because she had to continue reading it in her non-shower life. Books she doesn't really enjoy get read entirely in the shower. Our conversation, her rationale, all of it, cracked me up. So of course I took her picture with my book, twice its normal size.

When I left, I thought back to my old book club. We lasted for a year and then disbanded. It was tough to get our schedules to match up, and there was added pressure of having a book to read on top of whatever we were reading for fun. But the plus side was the social aspect, the pleasure of talking books with others, and being introduced to books and authors I wouldn't have discovered on my own.

Last weekend I had dinner with a friend who said she likes to keep her reading experiences private. Book clubs hold no interest for her because she doesn't want to share her impressions and potentially be talked out of them. I keep so little of what I think private that it took me a while to understand what she was talking about.

How do you guys feel about book clubs? If you belong to one, what do you think?