By Louise Ure
Oh, yeah. She made my day. Marilyn Stasio reviewed my books in last Sunday’s New York Times!
Books, I said. Plural.
She not only said nice things about Liars Anonymous, she also summarized and blessed Forcing Amaryllis and The Fault Tree as well.
Picture Louise preening and scuffling her shoes in humility here. I’ve never been reviewed in the New York Times before. And this time it’s a trifecta. All three books.
Here’s what Ms. Stasio wrote:
“It takes a strong woman to admit she did wrong — and then go after the man who put her in that awkward position. Louise Ure took up the theme in her first novel, “Forcing Amaryllis,” in which a trial consultant with a heightened sense of responsibility for her younger sister resolves to kill the man who raped the girl. The guilt that the auto-mechanic heroine of her second novel, “The Fault Tree,” feels for failing to go to the aid of an old woman under attack by home invaders compels her to go after the killers herself — even though she’s blind. The sense of guilt is even more pronounced in “Liars Anonymous,” which makes sense because Ure’s narrator, Jessie Dancing, killed a man and got away with it. But even though she beat the rap, she bears the scars, and when the sounds of a murder in progress come through at the emergency call center where she works, Jessie finds a way to make restitution. Unrestrained by the housekeeping duties of a mystery series, Ure uses the freedom to push her themes to their limits. All three of her tough-minded novels take place in Tucson, which seems to produce plenty of strong women with blood in their eye.”
So, not only does she say nice things, but she also gives me a unifying theme for all three (it’s news to me, but hey, who am I to quibble with the likes of La Stasio?).
And then she goes on to give me the perfect response when someone asks why I write stand alones.
“Unrestrained by the housekeeping duties of a mystery series …” (Sing it, sister!) “Ure uses the freedom to push her themes to their limits” (Amen to that! Here’s to freedom and pushing and … yeah, what she said!).
And all this time I thought it was because no one had ever asked me for a repeat performance by one of my heroines.
In truth, I love writing stand alones. Creating that whole new world out of thin air, and not carrying the baggage from any previous books along for the ride.
My series-writing brethren – although they start each book with a relatively stable voice and cast of characters already on board – are challenged to make each book distinct and fresh and new.
Stand alone writers don’t have that problem. But we do face another, perhaps more daunting, task. How to bring readers along from one book to another when there’s no familiar face there at all.
I think the answer lies in voice. They’ve met Calla Gentry, with her guilt and regret about not helping her sister in time. They’ve met Cadence Moran, a woman stronger and more determined than I’ll ever be. And now I want to introduce them to Jessie Dancing – liar, killer and friend.
Hopefully they’ll come to understand each of these women, not through the repetition of a series, but because they’re friends of mine.
P.S. I’m on a plane to New York today, ‘Rati, so I’ll be out of touch for a few hours, but will check in again late in the day.
P.P.S. And did I mention how cool it was to meet and spend time with our ‘Rati pal Tom Barclay and his wife at the Mystery Bookstore party last Friday in L.A.? Thank you, Tom. That was a treat!