Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You've the Right to Six Words: A Dozen

This is Week 12 of Season 2 in You've the Right to Six Words. We'll be starting to wind down now with about four weeks remaining in this season. But in those four weeks we have some great memoirs to share, so I hope you'll be by to visit and check them all out.

This week we're starting with one half of the writing team known as P.J. Parrish. Kristy Montee's writing career started at 13 with a work titled, THE CAT WHO UNDERSTOOD. She worked at the Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale as an editor and dance critic before turning to her life of crime...fiction. These days she's writing in tandem with her sister, Kelly Nichols, and together the P.J. Parrish team has written ten Louis Kincaid and Joe Frye thrillers in addition to various short stories published in anthologies from the Mystery Writers of America, Akashic Books and most recently the works of Edgar Allen Poe, edited by Michael Connelly. Despite the fact that Kristy lives in Fort Lauderdale and Kelly lives in Houghton Lake, Michigan, they make the partnership work. It works to the tune of two Shamus awards, an Anthony and an Edgar nomination, in addition to making the New York Times and the USA Today Best Seller lists. Their most recent installment in the Kincaid/Frye series was released this past February: THE LITTLE DEATH. And now the sister duo is working on their first stand alone thriller. For her memoir, Kristy took a cue from Fitzgerald:
Takes a lifetime to grow young.
And in the center slot this week we have a crime writer who moonlights as a middle school teacher. Wait! Maybe Dave White should be writing horror! Just kidding. A native of New Jersey, Dave attended Rutgers University and received his Master of Arts in Teaching from Montclair State University. In 2002 Dave wrote a short story entitled "Closure" for Thrilling Detective that earned him the Derringer Award for Best Short Mystery Story. From that short story, former New Jersey police detective turned private investigator Jackson Donne emerged. Dave went on to write two novels featuring his detective: WHEN ONE MAN DIES in 2007 that earned Dave a Shamus nomination for best first novel and THE EVIL THAT MEN DO in 2008. Dave is now hard at work on his third novel that will be his first departure from Jackson Donne. When he isn't teaching or working on his third novel, Dave can be found blogging at Dave White's Writing Block or at Do Some Damage on Thursdays. This week Dave has an extra special reason to celebrate, so let's all wish him well on his nuptials! Dave White is getting married. When you feel the earth moving, you'll know Dave White is in the area because
Teacher and writer rocks the house.
And our anchor for this week's fabulous memoirists is thriller writer Gayle Lynds. This amazing writer has given the men a run for their money in the spy thrillers realm of crime fiction. Gayle earned a degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, where she had the chance to meet and talk to Kurt Vonnegut; after college Gayle began writing for the Arizona Republic. Later she moved on to a work as an editor at a government think tank. When she began writing fiction, Gayle started out with short stories. She dabbled in some pulp and published under pseudonyms. She published a trio of YA mystery novels and in 1996 she published her first thriller, MASQUERADE. Beginning in 2000 with THE HADES FACTOR Gayle created and wrote three Covert-One novels with Robert Ludlum. Throughout her career she's earned awards and recognitions, including having Publishers Weekly name MASQUERADE one of the top ten spy novels of all times. Given that distinction, I suppose it is fitting that she co-founded International Thriller Writers, Inc., with David Morrell. This year Gayle introduced new characters with her first installment of what will be her first spy series, THE BOOK OF SPIES.

Gayle says she believes the first thriller ever was BEOWULF but it was THE DAY OF THE JACKAL by Frederick Forsyth that convinced her she wanted to make a life writing thrillers. These days her four children are grown and on their own while she works tirelessly writing her novels in a small house overlooking the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by all the beauty of nature.

I love when authors share with me how they came up with their memoirs. Normally, I just keep the little tidbits to myself, but this time, I want to share Gayle's story with you because I think it reflects who she is, probably more than the measley bio I just wrote. And I don't think she'll mind if I share it. She started off thinking,

"Writing is life; life is art."

But she said her life is incredibly full and at times she's felt as though it's a novel in and of itself, so she wanted to reverse herself:

"Art is life; life is writing."

But that wasn't just right either, and after more thought, she decided on:
My life is a novel. Thanks.
And how perfect is that? I think it's a pretty exceptional way to round out Week 12 of "You've the Right to Six Words." Many thanks to all of our contributing authors this week. What fun to catch just a glimpse in the windows of their lives. Thank you for sharing those glimpses with us.

Just a quick note that next week, I'll be participating in a book tour on Wednesday, so the memoirs will post on Tuesday. I hope you stop by to visit for both. Happy Reading!

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