Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - Part I

As part of my author interviews I always ask each author to tell me what his/her six word memoir would be. The question came from the book NOT QUITE WHAT I WAS PLANNING: SIX-WORD MEMOIRS OF WRITERS FAMOUS AND OBSCURE. This question is always so much fun and I look forward to what each author is going to respond. I also noticed that I received the most comments from readers on that question. So, the little wheels started turning and I decided to make it a series.

I've been out pounding the pavement to solicit six-word memoirs from writers of crime fiction. I have to tell you that I've been overwhelmed by the response. All these folks took time out of their schedules to humor me. So, each week on Wednesday I will be posting four memoirs until I've exhausted them all. I don't know for sure how long we'll go because I'm still actively soliciting, but I can tell you that if I get no other submissions, we'll have a minimum of 9 weeks of memoirs with writers contributing from the U.S., England, Ireland and South Africa. Each week, for at least the first nine, we'll have two memoirs that are recaps from the interviews and two brand new memoirs.

O.k., I'm too excited, so let's just get to the inaugural post of YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SIX WORDS: SIX-WORD MEMOIRS FROM CRIME FICTION'S GREATEST WRITERS!

Almost one year ago I was posting my very first interviews. Some day I'll go back and re-interview these brave souls because my interview questions have surely improved in the last year! But, the interviews did include the six-word memoir question.

Michael Koryta was first, so I find it only appropriate that we remember his memoir first in this series. Michael is the author of the Lincoln Perry series, publishing the first book, TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE when he was 21. TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE went on to win the St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America prize for best first PI novel. TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE was also a Edgar Award nominee for best first novel. The fourth Lincoln Perry novel, THE SILENT HOUR, will be released from St. Martin's this August. Michael also wrote the stand alone novel, ENVY THE NIGHT, which won the 2009 L.A. Times Book Prize in the mystery/thriller category.

Can I have a seventh word?
Alafair Burke was my second interview and she's probably the female writer I hold in the highest regard, and not just because she's Duffer's Momma, either. She has two crime fiction series: Samantha Kincaid the Portland, Oregon deputy district attorney and Ellie Hatcher the New York City homicide detective. Both series feature smart, strong, realistic female protagonists. And both series epitomize the idea that "art imitates life." Next up for Alafair is 212, the third novel in the Ellie Hatcher series, which will be out this winter. Alafair is also a blogger, and if you haven't had a chance to check out her blog, you don't know what you're missing! In addition to her ability to write riveting crime fiction novels, she has a knack for finding the greatest topics to blog about!
Loved, was loved. Appreciated both. (one word short)
Oh, that's O.K. Alafair, I have a feeling that another author's going to need one down the road. We'll just save your extra word! :)

So, those are the recaps. Now for the two new memoirs in this week's post. I decided to make this post a family affair. Alafair's father, James Lee Burke is also a contributor to the Six-Word Memoir Project.

James Lee Burke is one of crime fiction's all-time greats. And you've heard me mention before that I view him as one of America's greatest living writers, period. He is a model of determination, having his novel THE LOST GET-BACK BOOGIE rejected 111 times before finally having it published and then nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In addition to the Pulitzer nomination, Jim has been awarded the Edgar twice for Best Crime Novel of the Year, and just this past May he was named Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America. SWAN PEAK, published last year, marked the 17th novel in Jim's amazing Dave Robicheaux series. This summer Jim is resurrecting Hackberry Holland, who first appeared almost 30 years ago in LAY DOWN MY SWORD AND SHIELD, for his 29th novel RAIN GODS. So, how appropriate is this memoir?
I never ran out of stories.
And the final memoir for the first post comes from Les Roberts who was the winner of the initial St. Martin's Press/Private Eye Writers of America Best First PI novel! Les has penned two crime fiction series: the Saxon Series and the Milan Jacovich Series (which, like Koryta's Lincoln Perry series is set in Cleveland), the Saxon and the Milan Jacovich series had nominees for the Shamus and Anthony Awards. Last year, after a short hiatus from Milan, Les published THE KING OF THE HOLLY HOP. Among Les' other accomplishments is writing screen plays; he was also the first producer of THE HOLLYWOOD SQUARES. What initially brought him to the Northeast Ohio area was a job creating a lottery game show. That game show ultimately became CASH EXPLOSION DOUBLE PLAY. During Les' hiatus from Milan, he wrote a full-length memoir, WE'LL ALWAYS HAVE CLEVELAND. When he scaled it down to six words, it became:
Writer, father, lover, friend, occasional louse.
I hope you have enjoyed the first four memoirs and that you will come back next week to see who is included in Part II of YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO SIX WORDS!

Happy Reading!


Corey Wilde May 27, 2009 at 6:19 AM  

Jen, these are great. The variety is amazing, just among these four. Really looking forward to more.

Kristin Callender May 27, 2009 at 8:10 AM  

One word resolutions were fun and now 6 word memoirs looks very interesting. I loved Michael Koryta's "Can I have a seventh word?"

Lesa May 27, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

This is fun, Jen! I'm going to enjoy the memoirs. Very nice idea.

Bev Wowak May 27, 2009 at 1:03 PM  

These are so much fun to read! I hope you do more...loved it.

beauvallet May 27, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

Oh, these are fun! Even more than I thought they would be. I love James Lee Burke, I can't believe you got a 6-word memoir from him. I can't wait to see what other surprises you've been suppressing.

Lori L May 27, 2009 at 1:37 PM  

Great post!

Jen May 27, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

Thanks everyone! I'm so glad you are enjoying these too. I'm still working on them, so hopefully we'll have fun for many more weeks! Check back!! :)

le0pard13 May 28, 2009 at 2:02 PM  

This really displays the talent of these writers, working in such a short format. I guess there's a reason these wordsmiths are published authors! Great post, Jen.

Diane Stuckart May 28, 2009 at 11:22 PM  

Very cool, Jen! Will be eagerly reading these each week. (I have a new one to add--"Never could remember my freakin' passwords!")

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