Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - Week 23

Here we go, pluggin' right along with another week of "You Have the Right to Six Words." We are up to Week 23 and I don't know about you all, but I'm still havin' a blast. I'm especially thrilled with this week's line-up. I have to tell you that when I started this project I initially got a plethora of responses from male authors. And don't get me wrong, I love the male writers in the crime fiction genre; I love them dearly, and many of them can be found on my list of favorites. But, I also know that there are a lot of great women out there writing in the genre, too, and I didn't want them to go unrepresented. You see, I'm an equal-opportunity crime fiction fan. I don't care what gender the writer as long as he/she is writing a great book!

Well this week, I have three amazing female crime fiction writers and I am beyond honored to have them represented here. And I think if we asked our lone male represented this week, he'd also be honored to be surrounded by these smart, talented, witty, beautiful women. So, let's find out who they are!

First up, we have a "do-over." When Robin Burcell first answered the six-word memoir question in her author interview, she was smack dab in the middle of promoting her first Syndey Fitzpatrick novel, FACE OF A KILLER, and her memoir was directed toward the book title. Well, when we re-ran the memoir in this series, it wasn't really fitting anymore. So, we had Robin go back to the drawing board, and today's she back with a real zinger. But let me remind you a little about Robin first.

Robin Burcell is the author of the award-winning Kate Gillespie series about the first female homicide detective in San Francisco. Last year she released her first book in the Sydney Fitzpatrick series, THE FACE OF A KILLER, which is about a forensic artist. Robin doesn't just write these characters, she's actually performed both of the roles throughout her extensive law enforcement career. In addition to working as a homicide detective and a forensic artist, Robin also has experience with hostage negotiations. Robin's next book in the Sydney Fitzpatrick series is titled THE BONE CHAMBER and will be released in hardcover this December. As a matter of fact, you can see her spiffy trailer for THE BONE CHAMBER right now at her website.

So, when Robin did some re-thinking and constructed her six-word memoir, what did she end up with?

Love seeing my kids reading books.

Oh, music to my ears. If only all parents were singing that same song!

Next up is the man who gets to be surrounded by these talented woman this week. And he's no slacker, either. Kwei Quartey visited Jen's Book Thoughts this summer as part of his blog tour for his first novel, WIFE OF THE GODS. A native of Ghana and the son of university lecturers, he was surrounded by books growing up. As a child, he traveled to the United States with his American mother every couple of years, but it wasn't until he was studying pre-med at the University that Kwei and his family moved to the United States for good. Finishing medical school, Kwei is a doctor by day and a writer in his *ahem* spare time? Kwei runs a wound care clinic and is also the lead physician at an urgent care center. In his early morning hours, Kwei writes. His first novel, WIFE OF THE GODS, came out this year and it looks at some of the cultural issues and changes facing people in Ghana today. His protagonist, CID Detective Darko Dawson, finds himself stuck between a culture that is advancing and one that is battling the advancement. Very much like the current climate Kwei observed when he returned to Ghana only a few years ago. Now Kwei is hard at work on the follow-up to WIFE OF THE GODS, as Darko is still speaking to Kwei. So, how would Kwei summarize the experiences to this point?

Some things I would do over.
I can relate to that!

J.T. Ellison not only calls Nashville, Tennessee home these days, she also sets her Taylor Jackson series there. The tough homicide detective came to life in J.T.'s first novel ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS in 2007 and in February she will release, THE COLD ROOM, book number four in this best-selling, critically acclaimed series. J.T. says she was in the midst of reading John Sandford's Prey series when she decided she wanted to give crime fiction a whirl, and she had definitely taken the thriller genre to a new level.

Before deciding to move into a career in crime fiction, J.T. was a presidential appointee and worked in The White House and the Department of Commerce. Then she moved on to the private sector working as a financial analyst and marketing director for several defense and aerospace contractors. But Nashville seemed to be the turning point. It was after moving to Nashville that she started researching forensics and crime then moved on to researching and working with several law enforcement agencies including the FBI and the Metro Nashville Police Department. And the rest, as they say, is history.

J.T. writes short stories, in addition to her novels. She is one of the Friday bloggers at Murderati and main blogger at her own Tao of JT. And she active in various writing organizations, including International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

With this complex, diverse background is it no wonder her books are constructed with intricate and complex plots? Nashville Scene's 2008 Best Mystery/Thriller Writer puts it altogether with:

Dreamed a plot, wrote it down.

And the crime fiction community is ever so glad that she did!

Our final memoirist today is one of two people I credit with pulling me into the crime fiction genre. Robert Crais and Linda Fairstein wrote books that grabbed me and wouldn't let me go. In my desire to find more, more, more and quench my thirst for this drug we call crime fiction, I delved deeper and found more and more authors. But it all started with these two. So I am beyond honored to have international best-selling author Linda Fairstein here today to share her memoir.

Linda writes the Alexandra Cooper series and this year released LETHAL LEGACY, book number eleven in that series. She always wanted to be a novel writer, but she took a bit of a detour in life. And that detour helped shape the books she would one day write. Linda graduated from law school, joined the Manhattan District Attorney's Office as an Assistant District Attorney and went to work in what was the very beginning of the sex crimes unit. Linda was instrumental in this ground-breaking department that would cause a major shift in how sex crimes were handled. She was one of the first to use DNA testing in a criminal case, and she was considered for the Attorney General's position in the Clinton administration. Linda's first publication was a non-fiction work, SEXUAL VIOLENCE: OUR WAR AGAINST RAPE, which won great acclaim and became a teaching tool in universities and law enforcement agencies. But a year after publication, she decided to turn to her original dream, writing novels. And she took her vast portfolio of experiences and turned them into the Alex Cooper series, starting with FINAL JEOPARDY.

Linda's protagonist Alexandra "Alex" Cooper bears a strong resemblance to her creator, as does Law & Order:SVU Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot. This, of course, is for good reason. Linda says, professionally Alex Cooper "expresses my passion for the work and what the rewards are and also what the frustrations are." Alex Cabot is of course a nod to Linda's Alex Cooper since the Special Victims Unit was based on Linda's Special Victims Unit. And Stephanie March, who played Alex Cabot, shadowed Linda when she was preparing for the role. I love Alex's character, but I just have to admit a crush on her favorite homicide detective, Mike Chapman.

Linda writes about plots she knows, has created characters she knows, and she also depicts a setting that she knows. Her depictions of New York City and Martha's Vineyard bring both locales to vividly to life. And I have to say that when I saw Linda's memoir, I felt it brought HER vividly to life as well. This IS Linda Fairstein:

Love. Loyalty. Integrity. Courage. Kindness. Laughter.

Thank you so much to all of our memoirists today: Robin, Kwei, J.T., and Linda. This is simply a wonderful group of crime fiction writers. I am so incredibly humbled. And everyone stopping by to read, thank you for letting me gush a tad bit more than usual today. Thank you for sticking with me through this series and enjoying it as much as I have. I still have more to come, and I look forward to next week.

Happy Reading everyone!


le0pard13 October 28, 2009 at 9:55 AM  

This is my favorite series across the blogosphere, Jen. Thanks so much.

Corey Wilde October 28, 2009 at 10:39 AM  

Another outstanding collection of memoirs.

Kaye Barley October 28, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

Jen - I just love this series. Can you keep it going forever and ever?! And another stellar group you've gathered for us today - thank you!!

Jen October 29, 2009 at 8:45 AM  

Thanks you guys! I have such great respect for all of these authors and it's such an honor to host them all. Glad that you're enjoying it along with me! :)

Serena October 29, 2009 at 7:08 PM  

I like this one here: Love seeing my kids reading books.

JT Ellison October 31, 2009 at 12:20 PM  

Thanks for having me, Jen!

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