The Mystery Writers of America event at the Mysterious Bookshop on Friday, January 16th presented a smorgasbord of talent. I took advantage of the event to see some of my favorite authors live (always a thrill), and to speak with authors about their work and their craft. The writers, drinks in hand, milling around the magical Mysterious Bookshop that evening included:
Stacy Allen, Donna Andrews, Frankie Bailey, Craif Faustus Buck, Ellen Byerrum, Bill Cameron, Nancy Cohen, Ray Daniel, Hilary Davidson, Lyndsay Faye, Daniel Hale, Ted Hertel, Jr., Linda Joffe Hull, Harry Hunsicker, Darrell James, Tracy Landau, Con Lehane, Allison Leotta, Larry Light, Richie Narvaez, Clare O’Donohue, Sara Paretsky, Tony Perona, Susan Spann, Beth Terrell, and Elaine Viets.
I find fellow authors eager to tell their stories and honest in sharing the challenges they have faced on the journey to publishing. They are also generous in clueing you into their resources and connections. You just need to ask. This can be intimidating for us newbies.
First, I sought out Lyndsay Faye, who will do a signing for her new book at the Mysterious Bookshop on Thursday, January 22. Seven for a Secret is the second in a series of historical mysteries set in New York in the mid 1800’s when the New York City police force was being formed. I wanted to find out more about her approach to historical research. My personal agenda: My current writing project is set in New York in the 1920’s. I am intensely interested in learning how authors capture the sights, sounds, even scents of the city back then. Based on the reviews of Lyndsay’s books, she has nailed it. She shared several suggestions, including how she goes to the NY Public Library and reads the newspapers from the full year she is exploring.
I bought Lyndsay’s first book in the series, The Gods of Gotham, which she gladly signed for me.
I also chatted with Elaine Viets ,who is the author of multiple cozy mystery series (Dead End Job Mystery Series; Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Series; and Francesca Vierling Mysteries). Elaine recently took a Death Investigation course, so she can transition from the genteel world of cozies to the darker side of hard core mystery writing. What a pleasure it was to chat with Elaine about her career and learn where the opportunities may be for publishing cozies. I am looking forward to reading her full library.
I left the event weighted down with new books, enlightened by genuine dialogue with fellow authors, and committed to join the MWA.