Wednesday, June 16, 2010

You've The Right to Six Words

Welcome back for the fifth week of Season 2 in "You've the Right to Six Words: Six-Word Memoirs From Crime Fiction's Greatest Writers." This season is turning out to be a lot of fun for me because I'm meeting a lot of new writers. I met a lot in Season 1, but moreso this time around; many more are new to ME. And my TBR pile just keeps growing. Yesterday there was a discussion going on Twitter; Ron Hogan was taking questions dealing with authors being involved and connecting with their audiences, engaging their readers. The thread was fascinating and you can pull it up by doing a search for #pubQT on Twitter if you'd like to check it out. One especially poignant statement Ron made was "Publishers and authors should both stop acting like 'engaging readers' is a CHORE." Well, just take a look back and you will find a large slew of authors who reached out through their memoirs to engage their readers - YOU! They gave a little glimpse of themselves through this project. As one author I was recently speaking with said, "six is harder than sixty....hey wait!" :-) This isn't an easy task and you can see the time and thought that has gone into all of these. It's an honor to collect them up so that they can be shared with everyone. And I'm so thrilled that you all have enjoyed it as well.

Now let me quit babbling, because you know if I had to say anything in six words, we'd be in a lot of trouble. Here we go with an author I read for the first time this year:

Steve Hamilton submitted his first story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine when he was twelve years old. Now he is the author of the Alex McKnight series of PI novels. The first, A COLD DAY IN PARADISE, won that awesome PWA/St. Martin's Best First Private Eye Novel (we've seen memoirs from quite a few other winners of that same award). The contest was actually what prompted Steve to start the Alex McKnight series. Of course that was just the beginning. Steve also won the Edgar and Shamus for Best First Novel and had nominations for the Anthony and Barry as well. After seven Alex McKnight books, Steve tried his hand at a stand alone with NIGHT WORK and that was followed up early this year by another brilliant stand alone, THE LOCK ARTIST. Steve hails from Michigan but these days calls New York home. When asked if he could have his choice between hitting the winning home run for the Tigers in the final World Series game or hitting the New York Times bestseller list, he responded with, "That's easy. World Series home run for the Tigers. You can be a worthless hack and make it on the bestseller list. You win the World Series and people name their kids after you." Steve also has the great distinction of hosting the first date of Jon and Ruth Jordan - they attended one of his book signings. While his books may not end happily ever after, Jon and Ruth sure did. He has a magic touch. Steve's tendency to work on his writing in the wee hours of the night helps explain:

Turned empty nights into bedtime stories.

That memoir just makes me smile. I love it. When Steve won the Best First Novel Edgar he greeted the audience with , "Who are you people, and what are you doing in my dream?" We are all glad Steve allows us into his dreams!

Next up is a new friend of mine - I told you I was meeting new authors. Stephen Jay Schwartz made quite a huge splash into the crime fiction world last September with his debut novel, BOULEVARD featuring sex addict, police detective Hayden Glass. Stephen will be continuing Glass's story in BEAT due out this September. Before joining the ranks of L.A. Times Bestselling authors, he was the Director of Development for film director Wolfgang Petersen. That's just a small piece of his movie world talent! He's had his film work exhibited at film festivals, the Met in New York City, and even Walt Disney Studies in California. He's been both the screenwriter and the "script doctor." These days he has his own production company and calls Southern California home. The Schwartz household includes a labridoodle and a rat. And another stunning memoir:

In fiction observe report in truth.

Isn't it amazing how these authors in six words create distinct tone and atmosphere? I love it!

And wrapping up today's post is an author for whom counting is nothing new. As a matter of fact, these days Janet Evanovich is counting somewhere up around, oh say sixteen? SIZZLING SIXTEEN is her newest Stephanie Plum, bounty hunter, mystery due out on Tuesday. Janet started her writing career with romance novels; she then shifted to the mystery genre and breathed life into Stephanie Plum. Another mystery series penned by Janet is the Alex Barnaby series. TROUBLEMAKER, the third book in this series, is going to be a graphic novel, mother collaborating with daughter, Alex, this time around. Their foray into graphic novels is due out next month. But the mother-daughter adventure isn't the only family affair. Far from it. The whole family works to make Evanovich, Inc. run smoothly. Janet does the writing, Peter takes care of the financial aspects, Alex handles everything website-related, and Pete (Janet's husband) manages the business aspects of Evanovich, Inc. One big happy family/business.

Janet says her favorite exercise is shopping and her drug of choice is Cheeze Doodles. She enjoys reading comic books, watching happy movies and spending her money before she makes it. Janet is absolutely confident that

Life is more fun with birthday cake.

And here's to many more birthday cakes for all of our contributing authors. My most heart-felt thanks to all three memoirists for their beautiful contributions to the series. I'm honored and thrilled to have you visit. Thank you for taking the time to engage with us, your fans!

And thanks to everyone stopping by to read today. I hope this week's installment was as much fun for you as it was for me. Happy Reading!

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Pop Culture Nerd June 16, 2010 at 5:00 PM  

Oh, I love these, Jen. I'm a night owl so maybe I should steal Steve Hamilton's memoir and make my late hours more productive!

I just met Stephen Jay Schwartz at this year's Mystery Bookstore pre-FOB party so he's new to me, too. Such a nice guy. I have BOULEVARD in my TBR pile.

Quite a coup getting Ms. Evanovich! Wholeheartedly agree with her memoir.

le0pard13 June 16, 2010 at 10:32 PM  

As always, I love these, Jen. Way to go for getting such a set of authors to contribute. Thanks for this.

p.s., I, too, Mr. Schwartz's BOULEVARD on my pile (be it's an audiobook one, though).

Ron Hogan June 16, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

Thanks for the quote, Jen! And great work with this...

Jen Forbus June 17, 2010 at 6:00 AM  

Thanks everyone! LeO, I have BOULEVARD coming on audio as well. Very excited!

And PCN, based on some blog work I've seen from you, I think you ARE putting those late night hours to work!

Read On!

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