Wednesday, June 10, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - Part III

Golly! It's Week 3 of all this fun. I think we have a legitimate series going on here. And based on how this thing is growing, I'm going to have to do some serious brainstorming to come up with something as fun if not better once this is (gulp) over. But, rest assured, we have many more weeks to go.

However, let's focus on this week because MAN do I have some heavy hitters sharing memoirs with us today. And they're from all over tarnation! Without further ado let's recap a couple memoirs...

This week I had the great, great fortune to once again see Craig Johnson. I met Craig for the first time in April at the L.A. Mystery Book Store and then listened to his panel at the L.A. Times Book Festival. Monday evening, I drove to Pennsylvania to see him at the Mystery Lovers Bookshop. I swear, I am NOT stalking the man. But I do think he ranks right up with the cats pajamas. Craig is the author of the Walt Longmire series. Craig, like his protagonist Walt, lives in Wyoming, but that wasn't always the case. He's found himself all over the country: from West Virginia to Philadelphia, PA; from New York, NY to Ucross, WY. The most recent book of this series, THE DARK HORSE, was released at the end of May and the first book of the series, THE COLD DISH, was translated this year into French. Each book has consistently received high praise and rave reviews. And book number four, ANOTHER MAN'S MOCCASINS, had the prestigious Spur Award bestowed upon it this year. After reading his books and speaking to him in person, it is extremely obvious that Craig puts his heart and soul into his writing. No wonder those characters are so darned REAL! So, it comes as no surprise to me (and you will get no argument from me) that his memoir would be:

Good man, yes it is so.

Rosemary Harris is another fascinating, talented crime fiction writer with an impressive resume. Before she wrote her first novel, PUSHING UP DAISIES, Rosemary worked in retailing, direct marketing and television. Now, in addition to being a successful crime fiction author, Rosemary is a Master Gardener. When her gardening and writing aren't tying her down, she's traveling all over. In addition to visiting over 70 National Parks, she does work with Habitat for Humanity so she's been all over the world, including China, Tanzania, El Salvador, and Mexico. This year has been a bright spot for Rosemary in her writing career. Not only did she release THE BIG DIRT NAP and finish the third book in the Dirty Business Mystery series, but PUSHING UP DAISIES has been nominated for an Anthony Award for the Best First Novel of 2008. Rosemary is crossing her fingers that the newspapers stay in business because the ideas from her stories have literally been ripped from those newspapers. When she finds a story that intrigues her, she tears it out and starts asking, "what if...?" Now, personally, I think this is a heck of a lot of accomplishment for one person in one lifetime, but Rosemary is raring to go, so it is fitting that her memoir be:

Can I have more time, please?

I was extremely fortunate this year to have met both Craig and Rosemary. You won't meet nicer folks. I have not, however, had the pleasure of meeting either of my new memoirists. I will hopefully remedy that in October as they are both scheduled to be at Bouchercon in Indianapolis. I have a striking suspicion that I'll be echoing my feelings about these two amazing crime fiction writers as well.

My first new memoirist has been a finalist for the Edgar Award, the Barry Award AND the Macavity Award. That is a hefty accomplishment in and of itself BUT we can't neglect to mention that he WON the Best Novel Shamus award in 2003 for his book THE GUARDS that introduced the crime fiction world to Jack Taylor. Of course, I'm talking about none other than Ken Bruen! The SEVENTH Jack Taylor novel, SANCTUARY, was released in the United States just this year. In addition to his Jack Taylor series, Ken has a series based around his Detective Sergeant Brant and various stand alone crime fiction novels. And this very prolific writer is also the author of numerous short stories. Ken recently collaborated with Reed Farrell Coleman to write THE TOWER. Keep your eyes out for that one, oh somewhere about September. Oh wait, I have to mention a detail that you probably already know. Since I said today's writers are from all over, we have to mention that Ken Bruen lives in Galway, Ireland. Before I reveal Ken's memoir, I have to say that he must also be a great actor, as well as a great writer. Because after this slew of accomplishments, I have a hard time believing he only "behaved":

I behaved like I understood life.

My final memoirist for today's post really needs no introduction...but you're going to get one anyway. He's written about crime from coast to coast as both a journalist and a novelist. He was short listed for a Pulitzer Prize in 1986, won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel in 1992 and has been racking up awards for his writing around the world ever since. His most famous series features LAPD Detective Hieronymus Bosch, so of course I'm talking about Michael Connelly! Michael Connelly was influenced in his own writing by writers such as Raymond Chandler, but he has changed the landscape of crime fiction and is now the one influencing other crime fiction writers. Of course Harry Bosch is Michael's police detective character; in his vast bibliography Michael also features a journalist, Jack McEvoy, and a lawyer, Mickey Haller, in addition to his collection of standalone thrillers. In 2005, Michael Connelly published the eleventh Harry Bosch novel, THE CLOSERS, and his first novel to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. This Sunday, June 14, Michael's TWENTIETH, and most recent, novel THE SCARECROW will also debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. With all of these amazing accomplishments in crime fiction, I would think that Michael Connelly was simply born to be a writer. But maybe some of that seemingly natural talent comes from the simple fact that:

I wanted to be a detective.

My humblest thanks go out to all four authors highlighted this week. I am so honored that you took time to play along with me. I am looking forward to crossing paths with all four of these amazingly talented writers in October at Bouchercon.

With each week I become more and more scared. How am I going to keep all this high quality content going? I'm definitely going to give it my all. I hope you'll check back again next week. In the mean time, there are some awesome titles from today's authors that you can check out now!

Happy Reading!


Corey Wilde June 10, 2009 at 7:26 AM  

WOW! I don't know how you're going to top these memoirs (or rather, how other authors will).

Bruen... what a genius. I'm glad you mentioned his Brant books. I hope he gives us a new one soon. Been a while since Sgt Brant wrecked London and corrupted its youth.

Kaye Barley June 10, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

Jen, Honey!

I agree with Corey . . . wow.

These are TERRIFIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

le0pard13 June 10, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

Well done, again! This just keeps getting better and better. And you finish this post with Connelly! If RC finds out this, perhaps he (or his person who told you he was too busy) might reconsider ;-)

Jon The Crime Spree Guy June 10, 2009 at 9:30 AM  

nicely done.

beauvallet June 10, 2009 at 9:36 AM  

My word, these are wonderful. Bruen's is so like him, poetic. Connelly's is very revealing; I never knew that about him.

Alafair Burke June 10, 2009 at 10:09 PM  

Jen, Just wanted to tell you that my father's convinced Duffer and I are famous because he saw us on your blog. The 6 word features are fun.

Jen June 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

I have to tell you all that these have been so fun to work on...and your enthusiasm has fueled me to want to continue. I'll be able to pass 10 weeks for sure, but we'll see how long this ends up being. There's more fun to come.

Jen June 13, 2009 at 3:54 PM  

Alafair, of course you and Duffer are famous. I certainly wouldn't have un-famous people on my blog! ;) Love ya both!

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