Wednesday, October 7, 2009

You Have the Right to Six Words - Week 20?

I'm still finding this hard to believe everyone. We are up to Week 20 in this series and you're still coming back. Thanks for sticking with me, we're going to be on the downhill side of this project now with about 6 to 8 more posts, but they're going to be some doosies. I hope you hold out to the end, and I hope you enjoy the fun.

This week, let's start out with a man who's known he loved crime fiction for a very long time. As a matter of fact, Bill Crider did his Ph.D. dissertation on the hardboiled detective novel. After successfully completing the Ph.D., Bill went on to teach English at the collegiate level. He retired from his position as English Department Chair in 2002 and began working full time at his writing career - or part time as a bum, according to Bill.

Bill has spent his whole life in small Texas towns. And he sets his books in much the same location. He has three series, something for everyone. Dan Rhoades is a small-town Texas sheriff who doesn't deal with serial killers but rather alligators, naked men in dumpsters and missing false teeth. Oh, yeah, and the occasional murder as well. Rhoades most recent capers can be found in MURDER IN FOUR PARTS which was released in February of this year. The first Dan Rhoades novel, TOO LATE TO DIE, won the Anthony Award for best first novel. Bill also has an amateur sleuth, Carl Burns, who happens to be an English teacher. And finally Bill has his P.I., Truman Smith, who earned a Shamus nomination for best first P.I. novel in 1991 for DEAD ON THE ISLAND.

In his free time, Bill runs, enjoys music and travel, is as much a mystery fan as a writer, and he tends to the needs of his three cats. He's summed up this array of achievements with

I came. I read. I wrote.

And that says a lot!

Our next memoirist, like many of the authors included in the project, has a variety of jobs on her resume. Michelle Gagnon has worked as a modern dancer, a dog walker, a bar tender, freelance journalist, personal trainer, model and Russian supper club performer? Doesn't that sound exotic? These days she calls San Francisco home where she indulges in stale popcorn and Hollywood blockbusters. When she isn't enjoying the movies she's bringing FBI Special Agent Kelly Jones to life in her IMBA bestsellers. Next month, Michelle will be releasing the third and newest Kelly Jones novel, THE GATEKEEPER.

Michelle is active in the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. And if that wasn't enough to keep Michelle busy, she's also blogging at The Kill Zone on Thursdays. Well grab your stale popcorn and sit back for the Michelle Gagnon show:

Dancer turns to life of crime.

Linwood Barclay was born in the United States but moved to Canada at the age of four when his father accepted a job there. Unfortunately, Linwood's father died when Linwood was only 16. He helped to run a cottage resort and trailer park until he snagged his first newspaper job with the Peterborough Examiner in Ontario. Linwood would join the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation newspaper, in 1981. Working there until 2008, Linwood wore many hats: assistant city editor, chief copy editor, news editor, Life section editor, and finally humor columnist. But, the world of novel-writing was calling him and in 2008 he hung up his newspaper hats to work exclusively on his books.

In the midst of all these newspaper experiences, Linwood earned his Bachelor's degree in English and met his future wife at Trent University in Peterborough.

Linwood's Zack Walker thriller series was born in 2004 and in 2007 Linwood's first stand alone thriller was published, NO TIME FOR GOODBYE. NO TIME FOR GOODBYE earned Linwood a nomination for the Arthur Ellis, the Barry and the International Thriller Writers awards. TOO CLOSE TO HOME, which came out in 2008 earned the coveted Arthur Ellis award for Best Novel. And this year his third stand alone thriller, FEAR THE WORST, was released in the U.S. in August.

And so how does Linwood sum up all this success?

Trailer park; father died; joined
And the rest, they say, is history!

And rounding out this distinguished group is a woman who came to writing via medicine. Tess Gerritsen earned an M.D. from the University of California and went on to practice as a physician. While on maternity leave the inkling to write snuck up on her and she began her first novel. In 1987 CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT, a romantic thriller, was published. She followed that book up with eight more romantic suspense novels and a television screenplay.

In 1996, Tess found her way onto the New York Times Best Seller list with her first medical thriller, HARVEST. And she just continued to role from there with eleven novels up to the most recent THE KEEPSAKE. Tess has teamed up medical examiner Maura Isles and homicide detective Jane Rizzoli for seven of those eleven novels and two of them have won her prestigious awards. For VANISH she received the Nero Wolfe award and for THE SURGEON she was awarded the Rita award.

These days Tess is retired from medicine, writing full time and residing in Maine. This international best selling author was

Told it was impossible. Tried anyway.
And the genre is richer for it! Thanks Tess, for doing the impossible!

I am so thrilled with this line-up this week. Michelle, Bill, Linwood and Tess, my sincerest and warmest thanks for taking the time to write your memoirs for this project. Your involvement has added tremendously to the series. I am honored to host you today.

And readers, thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you have enjoyed Week 20 as much as I have. And I hope you will join me next week. I'll be doing the mad scramble to make sure I have everything ready for Bouchercon, but I'm going to do my darnedest to get Week 21 posted. If by chance, I'm not able to get it done, please don't jump ship. I promise I'll have my act together for the week after and we'll resume!


le0pard13 October 7, 2009 at 9:16 AM  

You keep having these, and I'll keep coming for them. Happily. Thanks, Jen.

Corey Wilde October 7, 2009 at 5:49 PM  

I gotta read one of Barclay's books. He's been on my list for a little while now.

Anonymous October 7, 2009 at 6:06 PM  


Nice job. I've heard of all the writers except Michelle Gagnon. She sounds so fascinating (Russian supper club performer? Awesome!), I'll have to check out her books.


Michelle Gagnon October 8, 2009 at 2:37 PM  

Thank you, Jen, these are great! Will you be at Bcon this year? I'm moderating a panel with Linwood, so this is a funny coincidence...

Jen Forbus October 8, 2009 at 2:48 PM  

Yes, Michelle, I AM going to be at first time. I'll be looking for you! :) Can't wait to say "hi" in person!

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses October 8, 2009 at 3:55 PM  

ANOTHER awesome line-up, Jen!!! these are wonderful.

Serena October 8, 2009 at 5:15 PM  

Love the "Dancer turns to life of crime." quote!

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