Friday, May 9, 2008

A Fiesty Forensic Anthropologist and an unPrecedented P.I.

This week I was able to experience two exceptional presentations by authors. On Tuesday I drove to Toledo to hear Kathy Reichs speak. It was a large event with many people, so it wasn't especially "personal." However, Kathy's presentation was fascinating. She discussed her experiences in forensic anthropology and how that all connected to her novels. She also discussed the Bones television series briefly. Her primary roll with the television show is to keep the science "honest." When asked how she felt about the way her field was portrayed on television these days, she responded with, "you don't go to a crime scene in pumps and pantyhose!"

Kathy has a great sense of humor and kept the audience laughing for most of the presentation. The audience was quite eclectic. People weren't necessarily there because they read her books. Very few of the questions dealt directly with her writing. Some anthropology students came to learn about the field, fans of the TV series came and book fans came. Of course, then there were the folks like me who overlap more than one of those areas. I attempted to take some pictures inside the hall during her presentation (before I read the little caveat about it being prohibited). It didn't much matter because they are too dark for anything except maybe to get an idea of how far away from her I was.

She followed up the presentation with a book signing. Well, it was more like an "anything" signing. She was asked to sign everything from books to copies of Bones on DVD. I was able to get some decent pictures during this portion of the evening. I am very glad I was able to hear her speak; it was definitely worth going. Kathy's next book will be out in August and is titled Devil's Bones.

On Thursday I went to Medina - the Weymouth Country Club - to see Michael Koryta again. This was the second event of his that I had the chance to attend, and it was equally as wonderful as the first. I can't recommend highly enough that if you have the opportunity to hear this man speak - Just Do It!

I love Michael's books. He has three out at this date: Tonight, I Said Goodbye; Sorrow's Anthem; and A Welcome Grave. He is an extremely talented writer. However, he is also blessed with a gift for public speaking. I could listen to him talk for hours; he's witty, personable and definitely comfortable in front of people. He makes the whole process look effortless, and he's so candid that when you leave, you leave feeling like you have established a friendship with him. I believe this particular event in Medina is a yearly event, so there were many people there who had never read Michael's works, but you could tell that after hearing him they were energized about grabbing a copy of his books.

The presentation on Thursday was very different from the one I attended in Rocky River last November, so you won't experience the same thing twice like you would with someone who follows a scripted presentation.

Despite the fact that he's quite a young author, he has a great deal of life experience that he uses to create his books. He's already had extensive experience as a journalist covering the crime beat. He also works for a Private Investigator and teaches at Indiana University. I would imagine that taking a class with him would be inspiring. I guess he pretty much epitomizes the "write what you know" mantra.

When I listen to him speak, I can't help but think if he had been in one of MY classes while I was teaching, he would have been one of the students that was a joker. But he would have been one of the ones I could never help laughing at. As hard as I would try there was always one who was so smart and creative in his jokes; I just couldn't resist this humor. And as soon as I would laugh at the front of the class, the whole room would erupt. That's how it is in Michael's presentations. You can try not to find it funny, but I doubt you'll be successful. That wonderful sense of humor is one of the aspects that makes his books so great, in my opinion.

Michael's fourth book will also be out in August. It is titled Envy the Night. I've really been looking forward to this book, so I'll be dropping whatever else I have planned to read when it comes out.

Two great experiences in one week. The rest of this month is going to feel like a disappointment now! ;) Hope you had a great week as well. Happy Reading!!


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