Michael Connelly came to Nashville this week, which was an incredibly exciting event for me. He did a great talk and signed, and I actually managed to ask two (count them, two!) questions. Of course, I was busy having a fangirl moment and sounded a bit like an idiot.
“Mr. Connelly, has Harry Bosch ever done or said anything that surprised you?”
The look he gave me was humbling, to say the least. The answer was an unequivocal no, and he went on to say he’s always surprised by writers who say their characters do things they weren’t expecting, because he is (I’m paraphrasing here) so deliberate with his story and characters that he knows exactly what’s going to come out of their mouths, because he’s the one putting those words there.
I also asked how Duane Swierczynski and Sarah Weinman happened to appear in ECHO PARK, and he spoke of making the books as real to life as possible. He was looking to name two journalists and it seemed a good match.
Strike one on sounding erudite and sophisticated in front of one of my literary gods.
I have four gods in crime fiction, and numerous goddesses. The four gods are John Connolly, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, and John Sandford. I’ve now met three of these amazing authors, and have put my foot in my mouth with each of them. I’m thinking the best thing to do with Mr. Sandford is challenge him to 18 holes, where I can lay down and make a fool of myself privately, instead of in front of a group.
Sara Rosett over at the Good Girls Kill for Money site had a great essay this week that segued perfectly into what I wanted to talk about today. She asked if the advent of websites and blogging has taken some of the mystique out of writers, since readers can readily connect with their heroes and find out more than they ever wanted to know by reading their neurotic highs and lows on a regular basis. I commented that not so very long ago, I was on the outside, getting my information about authors from their jacket covers and the occasional website, being surprised by author photos, etc.
But when it comes to meeting the literary gods and goddesses I worship, I’ve found I really like getting to meet, and ultimately know these great writers. Yes, I invariably say or do something stupid. When Jan Burke came to town, I was the proud owner of a severe ear infection so intense that while I was waiting in line to get my book signed, I practically fainted and had to sit down or fall down. At ThrillerFest, I introduced myself to Tess Gerritsen, pumping her hand like her arm was a water spigot in the desert and telling her, and I quote, “You’re my biggest fan!” Tuesday night with Michael Connelly, I tripped over my tongue trying to talk to him, managed to give him my business card and a Killer Year postcard, called my long suffering husband a wallet (an inside joke that didn’t translate) and basically felt like an idiot when I stepped away, despite the fact the he was very kind and asked if he could keep my card.
I’ve done better with John Connolly and Lee Child. John, hubby and I ended up having many beers and stayed out way too late talking politics. I’ll never forget that night, it ranks as high on my list as you can get. And I got a kiss on the cheek at the end of the evening, which was mind-blowing. This man, this giant, this god of mine, kissed me on the cheek. Damn.
Lee Child was gracious and funny, actually talking to me, not at me. That laconic smile, the accent, the incredible advice – yep, another moment to treasure. And another kiss on the cheek. I may never wash again.
I hope to have a chance to see Michael Connelly again, maybe when I’m not such a greenhorn, so I don’t stumble to badly. And Sandford, well, he was my inspiration for writing crime fiction, so if I gush I won’t feel so bad.
On a slightly different note, it’s been a bad week for writing. The contractors, sweet as they may be, are noisy little cusses, my parents arrived on Wednesday afternoon with the dog and cat in tow, which meant my little darling striped kitty monster searched high and low for places to hide and didn’t eat for two days. So I tried to salvage my unproductiveness by reading. And boy, did I get a treat. Two amazing novels, completely different in style, both with so much punch and emotion that I was left breathless.
The first is T. Jefferson Parker’s newest, STORM RUNNERS. Parker has been added to my god list. He is an amazing writer, the depth of his storytelling ability overwhelms me. The other is Karin Slaughter’s TRIPTYCH. For lack of a better term, holy crap. Slaughter’s first standalone is brilliantly plotted, full of surprises, and one of the best books I’ve read this year. She’s had goddess status for a long time.
I have one more to read this weekend, then Monday I’m back in the fiction creation game. Anne Frasier’s PALE IMMORTAL called to me from the new release table in Davis Kidd, so I took it home with me and plan to make a weekend of it.
The list of gods and goddesses grows.
Wine of the Week: In honor of the parental units —
Happy Friday the 13th!