Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You've the Right to Six Words - Week 10!

I'm very excited about the group of authors we have this week. I know. I always say that, but I really am excited. It always makes me smile to see the diversity each week brings. I think that says a lot about the genre. But these folks all share a link through their worldly travels. I'm always fascinated to learn more about these authors. I hope you are, too.

Our first author sharing a memoir today started out his working life as an electronic engineer. Alan Bradley worked for radio and television stations, then ultimately at the University of Saskatchewan as the Director of Television Engineering. He retired early in 1994 so that he could focus on his writing career. Alan helped found the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, published children's stories and taught Script Writing and Television Production classes. In addition to being a founding member of the Saskatchewan Writers Guild, Alan was also a founding member of The Casebook of Saskatoon, a society devoted to the study of Sherlock Holmes and Sherlockian writings. His involvement in The Casebook of Saskatoon brought him together with Dr. William A.S. Sarjeant and together the two men wrote MS HOLMES OF BAKER STREET. Have you heard of this? They theorized that Holmes was actually a woman.

In 2006, Alan published his memoir THE SHOEBOX BIBLE and 2009 brought his award-winning debut novel, THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE, which introduced the world to eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce. Alan said Flavia walked into a novel he was working on "hijacked the book." He never completed that novel, but Flavia stuck with him and in 2006 he began her story. Good thing! SWEETNESS earned Alan the Debut Dagger, the Agatha, the Arthur Ellis, the Dilys and the Spotted Owl Awards. It also collected nominations for the Anthony and the Macavity Awards. This past March brought the next book in Flavia's series: THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN'S BAG. These days, Alan Bradley, his wife Shirley and their two cats are calling Malta home. Even though Alan published a full-length memoir, he boiled his experiences down to

I always wanted to write mysteries.

My next author came to my attention during the Detectives Around the World theme week. Pop Culture Nerd reviewed Anne Zouroudi's THE MESSENGER OF ATHENS as part of the celebration. And I was immediately intrigued because this book, part of Anne's series "The Mysteries of the Greek Detective," is set in Greece. Folks in the U.K. are already familiar with this series as several of the books have been released there. This week Anne's Greek detective makes his debut in U.S. bookstores.

Anne's early career in the IT industry took her from England to New York to Denver. While she was in the United States she bought a type writer and began looking at her writing ambitions a little more seriously. Ingredient number one. She returned to the U.K. and decided to take holiday in Greece with her sister. With fondness she recalls her feelings at seeing Greece her first morning there as "a love affair which has lasted twenty years." Anne lived in Greece for a number of years, married a Greek and had her son in Greece. But ultimately she returned to the U.K. and continued writing. After a few unsuccessful efforts at publishing novels, she began a book set in her beloved Greece, and the magic that grabbed her on her initial holiday, grabbed her manuscript. Thus, the Greek Detective was born.

I'm absolutely fascinated by the fact that Anne writes her first drafts with a fountain pen, and she chooses the color of the ink to suit her mood. She says her ideas come most often from silence - or while peeling potatoes. Anne volunteers for Victim's Support in her Criminal Justice System and holds a seat on her Parish Council, which she describes as "like a Vicar of Dibley, only more absurd."

Anne illustrates the sweetness of life in her memoir:

Great adventures bring the sweetest homecomings.

Perfect! Let me introduce our final memoirist so I can go off and figure out what MY great adventure shall be.

Rounding out our memoirists this week is the man Clive Cussler calls "the master of the espionage thriller for the 21st century." Christopher Reich was born in Tokyo, Japan to a Swiss travel agent. He was still a wee little one when his family returned to the United States. In high school he ventured off again for a summer on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro for Outward Bound East Africa.

Chris earned his undergrad degree from Georgetown and found a job as a stockbroker. Not quite having the knack for the stocks and bonds, he opted to work on his business sense in graduate school at the University of Texas - are you keeping track of everywhere he's been? After graduating and being turned down by Wall Street, Chris opted for a job with the Union Bank of Switzerland in Geneva. Turns out he made the right move. In a meeting on his second day at work he found the inspiration for what would become his first novel, NUMBERED ACCOUNT.

Chris didn't begin writing immediately. Instead he went on to start his own business and get married. While earning six figures as the CEO of Giorgio Beverly Hills Timepieces, he decided he wasn't happy and he wanted to pursue writing. Yep, just like that. And his wife put her seal of approval on the idea and they moved back to Austin, Texas. Having saved enough to pursue his writing for two years, Chris set to work and the fates decided that they agreed with him - he should be a writer. In his first go round at this book-writing ordeal, his manuscript made its way to James Patterson who promptly dropped it into the hands of his agent who ultimately dropped it onto the New York Times Best Seller List.

Last week Chris released book number eight - third in his Jonathan and Emma Ransom series, RULES OF BETRAYAL. Not too shabby for a guy who set out to write a novel with no prior writing experience to speak of. Christopher Reich doesn't show any signs of slowing down, but he's already been

Round the world in 49 years.

I know I say this often when this series is going on, but I am so thankful to the authors who are participating. Alan, Anne, Chris your time and efforts and kindness are so greatly appreciated. These folks take time out of their schedules to just have fun with us. They could come up with a million excuses not to play in our sandbox, but they don't. They roll up their pant legs and jump right in. That says a lot to me. I hope to you as well. And I hope you enjoyed these memoirs this week as much as I did.

Happy Reading!


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses July 21, 2010 at 7:24 AM  

GREAT Post, Jen!
I love Alan Bradley's books, have not yet gotten to Christopher Reich, but intend to. Anne Zouroudi is a name I'm not familiar with. Since I adore Greece and can't seem to find many novels that take place there, I'm excited about picking up one of hers. Thanks, kiddo!

Naomi Johnson July 21, 2010 at 8:32 AM  

I don't know how you keep coming up with these fine authors, Jen, but I'm glad you do. Keep it up!

Anonymous July 22, 2010 at 10:38 AM  

WONDERFUL post, Jen! I love Bradley's mysteries, but am dying for those leather bound books he has in his photo... There's something about old books that makes me very excited!

thanks for sharing memoirs of more fabulous authors.

Jen Forbus July 25, 2010 at 5:57 PM  

Thanks ladies!! :-)

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