Guest Blogger Julia Spencer-Fleming (In Bed)

This morning, good friends and gentlepeople, it is my singular honor to have as Guest Blogger  the lovely, talented, and exceedingly cool Julia Spencer-Fleming. Y’all make her feel welcome.


I’m taking Marcus Sakey
to bed tonight. Oh, I know what you’re thinking. “Julia, he’ll keep you up half
the night. When Morning Edition
switches on at 6am, you’ll feel like something the cat dragged through the bushes
backwards.” It’s true. But I just can’t help it. He was so good the first two
times, I can’t resist.

Besides, he was the one who sent me the ARC of Good People.



Usually, I try to avoid too much pulse-pounding action at
bedtime. My most frequent evening companionImageshortz_2
is Will
, whose undemanding intellectual rigor–An adult elver? Intact, as in
a pharaoh’s tomb? Deco artist’s pseudonym?–lulls me into such a stupor that I
frequently bash myself in the face with the falling 50 New York Times Sunday Crossword Puzzles.

Sometimes when I settle down on my pillows and crack that
spine, it’s a first encounter. If your editor asked me to blurb you, I may
never have heard of you before taking you to bed. There’s an element of risk
involved. If you don’t hold my interest, I’ll have to put you down and go find
someone I know I can count on. I’m as good a sport as the next writer, but I
prefer, when possible, to pick my nighttime companions for pleasure, rather
than for business.

When stressed, I want a read I can rely on, and I’ll go back
to old favorites I can lose myself in time and again;



McMaster Bujold
, Suzanne
, Jennifer Crusie, Robert
. You’ll notice none of them are known as mystery writers. That’s
because when the world begins to pile on, I want to lay back and be
entertained, not compare my performance with someone who might very well be
doing it better than me.

On book tour, I like to bring Lee Child along. Really, who wouldn’t? The
O’Hare connection was late, the bookstore only stocked seven paperbacks, the
library audience consisted of the Director’s mother and two maiden aunts; I
know once I crawl up onto that Hilton Serenity Bed with its Serta Suite Dreams
® mattress and five down pillows,


Lee will make all the bad things disappear. One memorable
night in Omaha, when I was rooming with Edgar finalist Denise Hamilton, I stayed
up until 3am, locked in the bathroom with a brand-new Lee Child, a towel rolled
against the bottom of the door to keep from waking Denise.

Once in a while, when I’m face-down in the latest manuscript,
writing eight-nine-ten hours a day, I don’t want to leave the world of Millers
Kill. I want to think about the characters, write about the characters, dream
about the characters. On those occasions, I turn to myself. Yes, I’ll read my
own books. What? It’s perfectly normal.


thing’s guaranteed–I know I’m going to like it.

What about you, dear Reader? Who do you enjoy taking to bed?

Julia Spencer-Fleming’s Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne series has won
the Dilys, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Barry, Nero Wolfe and Gumshoe

Her most recent accomplishment was having Putnam Editor-in-Chief Neil
Nyren, writing for some blog, say he expected to see her on the New York
Times Bestseller list. Her upcoming book, I SHALL NOT WANT, will be
published in June by St. Martin’s Minotaur. you can find out more about
her and her work at

13 thoughts on “Guest Blogger Julia Spencer-Fleming (In Bed)

  1. Alexandra Sokoloff

    Julia, obviously, I take YOU to bed… and imagine a Russ who’s a bit of a cross between Marcus Sakey and Lee Child.

    How’s that for a foursome? (Uh.. sixsome?)

    So great to have your sly self here with us today!

  2. Pari Noskin Taichert

    Julia,Wonderful to have you here on the ‘Rati today!

    I adore Lois MacMaster Bujold — especially the Miles Vorkorsigan series. Orson Scott Card is another favorite as is Alice Hoffman.

    Right now I’m on a Ruth Rendell kick . . .

  3. JT Ellison

    Welcome, Julia!!! Good to see your smiling face today!

    I have to be truly in love to take a book to bed. It’s rarely crime fiction if I do, I don’t need any more bad dreams. The last book I took to bed was PREP by Curtis Sittenfeld — well worth sacrificing sleep to read.

  4. Kathy Sweeney

    Hi Julia – can’t wait for your next book.

    Also – there is a dessert assortment waiting for you next time you come to Pittsburgh.

    Unless I’m almost finished with a book, I take Sudoku to bed. Otherwise, I’d never sleep at all.

  5. Louise Ure

    I’m sleeping with Dan Fesperman this week. Probably not a good idea. He was a foreign correspondent, for crying out loud! His bedtime stories will keep you up worse than the front page will.

    You can really reread your own books, Julia? I’d never be able to do it.

  6. Becky LeJeune

    I love to read really intense stuff late at night, if it’s too slow I find myself falling asleep. Mo Hayder is my favorite for this, but now I have to wait for her next release. I like to enjoy a good Stephen King in bed, too! Course I get most of my reading done in bed and in the bath, so it’s just whatever happens to be next in the pile.

  7. toni mcgee causey

    Too many people to count! (Uh. Reading. I totally meant reading.)

    Lately, it’s been Joshilyn Jackson, Nancy Martin, Shane Gericke, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Cindy Gerard, Suzanne Brockmann, Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

    (I am a book slut.)

  8. J.B. Thompson

    Toni beat me to the punch – I was about to say that I was a book slut, mostly because I’ll take anyone to bed I can get my hands on … with doing the review thing, I always have a book in hand, although I’ve not had the cajones to take one into the bath with me yet (mainly because I shower, and that could get tricky).

    Great to see you again, Julia!

  9. Julia Spencer-Fleming

    Somehow, I knew there would be lots of promiscuous readers around here.

    Louise, I mostly re-read to remind me of stuff I forgot. Since I started doing it, there are fewer instances of continuity goofs (Russ’s sister’s name changes from Janet, to Janice, and back to Janet in the first three books.)

    Kathy, I can’t do Sudoku. Literally. Can’t do it. I am SO not a numbers person. I have theorized, however, that if you could find a way to combine Sudoku, low-carbohydrate dieting, and the quest for an icon-shattering religious artifact into a single story, you would have the One Book to Rule Them All.

    Alex, I like your casting for Russ…

  10. JDRhoades

    Since my wife crashes hours before I do these days, I rarely read in bed anymore, more’s the pity. But nothing beats a session with JT Ellison in a hammock.

  11. Marcus Sakey

    God bless you, Jules–I hope the night was as magical for you as it was for me.

    I recently just climbed out of bed with Laura Lippmann, an experience I’d recommend to anybody.

    Now I’m tangling the sheets with Philip Roth. That’s right. I’m secure in my masculinity.


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