May 26, 2009
May 22, 2009
May 21, 2009
First off, apologies to Angie and her Ville for the delay in this post. My brain went dead following two weeks on the road, and the various attempts at writing something produced words so dull, they put me to sleep. Of course, pretty much anything put me to sleep, after an average of 5 ½ hours of sleep a night for 12 nights…
One of the things I love most about an author tour is having a chance to meet the people who read my books. In a normal job, a person gets feedback as she goes along, conversations with customers and colleagues, but my job is to sit in a quiet room for ten or eleven months and tap my fingertips down onto buttons. Little opportunity for ongoing feedback there.
On a book tour, it’s all about the feedback, particularly since my events consist of about ten minutes of me talking, two minutes of reading from the book, and 48 minutes of Q&A. It’s true, as my daughter pointed out, that I don’t actually answer the questions, but I do use them as springboards to talk about some topic that is more or less (granted, sometimes a lot less) related to the question. And no one has ever loudly complained that I didn’t give them an answer, so I guess they’re happy.
But one of the joys of the events is seeing how fiction touches people. Readers come to my events not to hear how I do research, or to ask how they can get published, or to complain about the flaws in my chronology. They come as an acknowledgment of the power of the story.
Sometimes people who come to an event are not familiar with the work of this particular writer, but they’re curious to see what such a creature looks like. Or they come because they’ve heard I write about England, or history, or Sherlock Holmes, or a lesbian cop. They come to get a taste of who I am, and (with luck) stay long enough to buy at least a paperback, so as to dip their toes into the water, but that they come at all to listen to a person they don’t know is an acknowledgment of fiction’s power.
Then there are those who know my work, and come because the characters and the stories have affected them in some way. They like the stories, or they like the setting, or they like the low-key but omnipresent sense of love and attraction between the characters.
Or they come because they’re fifteen year-olds who see themselves in Mary Russell. Or because they were once fifteen year-olds who saw themselves in Mary Russell.
It’s an odd sensation, at times, to know that a fictional creation for whom I am responsible has changed lives—actual, physical, lives. I know of at least half a dozen young women who have aimed themselves at Oxford because of Russell, and more who have gone into a study of theology because that is Russell’s chosen field. I have heard of two separate women who went to India in part so that they could follow Russell. I have yet to meet anyone who deliberately sought out and married a man forty years her senior, or who went to live with the Bedouin, but those will no doubt come.
Fiction is an escape, but fiction also enlarges us, gives us a stage to spread our wings and become something more. A book tour reminds an author of this very real responsibility, a part of the dialogue between writer and reader. And even if it means I miss a promised deadline for a guest blog, it is a valuable reminder of why I do what I do.
Laurie R. King is the Edgar award winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Mary Russell series of historical mysteries, the modern police series of Kate Martinelli, and a number of standalones. Her web site (www.LaurieRKing.com) is celebrating the publication of her ninth Mary Russell novel, The Language of Bees, now in stores everywhere.
May 20, 2009
May 19, 2009
May 18, 2009
May 15, 2009
May 14, 2009
May 12, 2009
May 11, 2009
May 7, 2009
May 6, 2009
May 5, 2009
I walk to my desk and read the paper that Jasmine has given me.12:30 P.M. Copying, collating, binding1:30 P.M. Walk over to federal courthouse to file documents2:30 P.M. Scanning3:00 P.M. Mail sorting3:30 P.M. Filing system and file retrieval4:30 P.M. Last mail run (stay away from Martha. Her condition worsens as evening approaches.)5:00 P.M. Time to head for home (You made it through the first day of Camp Mini-Hell. Consider seriously not subjecting yourself to this and stay home tomorrow.)Aurora once told me that she knew I was different within the first few months after I was born, because as a baby, I never cried. She had no way of knowing if I was hungry or if my stomach hurt until I was old enough to point and talk. Even when I fell and it was obvious that I had hurt myself, I did not cry. When I didn't get my way, I would go off by myself and sulk or have a tantrum. But I never cried. Later, when I was eleven and Abba died, I didn't cry. When Joseph, my best friend at St. Elizabeth's, died, I didn't cry. Mabye I don't feel what others feel. I have no way of knowing. But I do feel. It's just that what I feel does not elicit tears. What I feel when others cry is more like a dry, empty aloneness, like I'm the only person left in the world.So it is very strange to feel my eyes well with tears as I read Jasmine's list.
Great, huh? There's really no way not to fall in love with Marcelo. His story is layered and full of compassion and I would not be at all surprised to find it on my Best of 2009 list. Recommended for fans of Madeleine L'Engle, Meg Rosoff, and Lisa Ann Sandell.
May 4, 2009
May 1, 2009
I hope that somewhere in this collection of books by one of your favorite authors is the perfect gift. If not I hope it's close. We have many years, and I will get it right eventually. Most of all I hope you know I love you more than music and laughter, for you are both these things to me.
As far as I can tell I have found all of the Mary Stewart novels for you. Many of these I know you already own and I found more than one interesting copy of most of them so you'll have a very redundant collection. However, there are, I believe, seven 1st editions in the group and at least four 1st edition paperbacks. I found a couple signed copies, but they were simply beyond our meager budget...someday. In total you will be receiving 36 books in the mail over the next several weeks. Two of these are coming from Wales and Scotland and will take some time, the rest from the U.S. and Canada should be quicker. You'll have to make sure to check the mail every day as I don't think our little mailbox will be able to handle the volume.
Happy Birthday and all my love with these simple gifts.