Wednesday, December 2, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - The Penultimate Post

Well just because we're getting down to the final two weeks doesn't mean we can skimp on the quality of the posts! We have a whopper of a line-up today. Since it's so close to the holidays now, I am linking the authors' book titles to independent bookstores. As always, I don't receive anything for the links, I just wanted to help make finding the books as easy as possible for you.

But, hey, let's get to memoirs, shall we?

The first author on our list of memoirists this week has made a huge impact on the crime fiction genre. You simply can’t say crime fiction without including Sue Grafton in the list of influential greats. She, of course, writes the internationally best-selling Alphabet series that began in 1982 with A IS FOR ALIBI. Sue’s writing career started long before this novel, however. She spent fifteen years writing screenplays for television, including collaborating with her husband Steven Humphrey to adapt the Agatha Christie novels A Caribbean Mystery and Sparkling Cyanide for television. But ultimately Sue would return to her first love, fiction writing.

It was her fascination with related titles like John D. MacDonald’s color titles and Harry Kemelman’s days of the week that led Sue to the idea for the Alphabet series. And just yesterday she released U IS FOR UNDERTOW. I think she happened on a pretty swell idea, don’t you? As “Z” looms closer and closer, fans wonder what will come next because they certainly don’t want Z to be the end. The second and third books, B IS FOR BURGLAR and C IS FOR CORPSE, earned Sue the first and second EVER Anthony Awards. She’s since earned an additional Anthony, a Shamus award, the Ross Macdonald Literary Award, and this year Sue Grafton was given the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Of course, people familiar with the Alphabet series know protagonist Kinsey Millhone lives in the fictional town of Santa Teresa, California, which is modeled after Sue’s own home of Montecito. And while Sue may claim that Kinsey is the “younger, smarter, thinner version” of herself, we know that Sue enjoys gardening, good cuisine and cats. She defines success as “doing what I want to do and answering to no one...except my cats, of course.”

So how does Sue sum this incredible lifetime of achievement?


Father wrote mysteries, now I do.


And I think I'm safe to say that her influence will now forever be felt in the genre. So excited to have Sue Grafton join us today.

Next up is another author releasing a book this week. Tom Schreck released his third Duffy Dombrowski novel, OUT COLD, this week. Tom spent 25 years working as an addictions counselor and now teaches at the collegiate level. He can also be seen occasionally on HBO judging world championship boxing. Somewhere amidst all those responsibilities he finds time to pen the Duffy series that started in 2007 with ON THE ROPES. Tom also does freelance writing for various publications.

Tom's love of basset hounds carries over into his Duffy Dombrowski novels in the form of Al, Duffy's trusty basset hound sidekick. An advocate for basset hound rescue programs, Tom donates many proceeds from the sale of his books to the rescue programs.

Another characteristic that Tom shares with his protagonist is a love of Elvis Presley. Duffy drives a Cadillac and listens to Elvis on 8-track tapes with Al riding shotgun and drooling.

Tom's books make me smile and his memoir is no different:


Woof, Arooo! Concentrate,Woof, Surrender, Treat.


Don't forget that you can enter to win all three Duffy Dombrowski novels here and Tom will be back on Friday for an outstanding interview. Check back!

Next up on our list of memoirists this week is an amazing woman. Megan Abbott is the Edgar Award-Winning author of four novels; this past July she released the fourth, BURY ME DEEP which was inspired by the true story of Winnie Ruth Judd, the "Trunk Murderess." Her shorter work has appeared in various anthologies and she is the editor of the Edgar-nominated A HELL OF A WOMAN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FEMALE NOIR. In addition to her fiction work, Megan published a non-fiction work titled THE STREET WAS MINE: WHITE MASCULINITY IN HARDBOILED FICTION AND FILM NOIR.

In addition to her Edgar award for her novel QUEENPIN, Megan is a Barry award winner and a three-time Anthony Award nominee. Megan has a Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University and lives in Queens, New York City. She also occasionally contributes to the Rap Sheet blog.

When I asked Megan for her memoir she said it is:



Lived in her own head,mostly.


But her fans are oh so happy she's put it all down in print! And if you ever have the chance to meet Megan, you'll quickly discover that she's one of the most generous people you'll ever meet. So thrilled to have her join in today.

And according to Lee Child our final memoirist today "writes like Dostoevsky's hooligan great-grandson on speed." How about that? Brent Ghelfi is the author of the Alexei Volkovoy, a.k.a. Volk, thriller series about a Russian gun-for-hire. The first book in the series, VOLK'S GAME, was nominated in 2007 by the International Thriller Writers for the Best First Novel award; it was also nominated for a Barry Best Thriller award. This past August, Brent released the third book in the Volk series, THE VENONA CABLE, and he is hard at work on the fourth book in the series. The Volk novels have been translated into seven languages and optioned for film. That's a lot of success to wrap up into one life-time, but Brent is looking forward; he says,



Three careers. Wonderful family. What's next?


Let's hope a lot!

Oh, my most heart-felt thanks to Sue, Tom, Megan and Brent for making this week's post so spectacular. I'm completely humbled to be joined by these writers I so greatly admire. I hope that you have enjoyed their memoirs as much as I have, and I hope that you enjoy their books as well.
Next week will be the final week for this year's memoirs. I don't know if I'll be able to match this week. It's going to be tough, but I'll see what I can do. I'll hopefully see you all then!
Happy Reading!


8 comments:

Lesa December 2, 2009 at 7:39 AM  

Great group of memoirs, as always, Jen. You're going to have quite a treasure of them to keep.

But, I can't wait to see what you do next year!

Lesa
http://www.lesasbookcritiques.blogspot.com

Corey Wilde December 2, 2009 at 8:21 AM  

Nice, Jen, very nice. I didn't know Megan Abbott had a non-fiction work available. Sounds intriguing. Ghelfi's name is new to me, too. So many books, so little -- well, you know.

pattinase (abbott) December 2, 2009 at 12:41 PM  

Jen-your genorsity of spirit comes through in every sentence. These writers are lucky to know you.

pattinase (abbott) December 2, 2009 at 12:42 PM  

generosity. It got away before I could fix it.

le0pard13 December 2, 2009 at 1:31 PM  

Great stuff, as usual, Jen. Thanks so much for this.

Tom Schreck December 2, 2009 at 2:41 PM  

Pattinase,

Your absolutely right.

Tom Schreck

Jen Forbus December 2, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

Wow! You are all so kind. Thank you.

Patti, that's so nice of you to say. I'm thrilled to know these talented, wonderful people. They've given so much to me through their books, if I can give a tiny bit back, I most certainly will.

Tom, I still haven't found enough adjectives. I'm honored to have you here!

Pop Culture Nerd December 2, 2009 at 3:29 PM  

You got the Grand Master herself! First time I went to see Sue Grafton, the line was out the door onto the sidewalk down the block around the corner. But she's worth it. SO nice. And "C" is one of my faves. It broke my heart.

I'll be back Friday for Tom's video interview to prep myself for the books I'm going to win from you (positive thinking), and I'll definitely be back next week for the grand memoir finale!

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