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 companion
Shortz, 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
Brockmann, Jennifer Crusie, Robert
Heinlein. 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. Martins Minotaur. you can find out more about
her and her work at