Wednesday, July 28, 2010

You've the Right to Six Words - Week 11

Oh, I'm giddy about this week. Did I say that last week? Can you believe how many authors there are to be excited about hearing from? Well this week's got it all: a man who made an incredible debut and is ready to turn his sophomore effort loose on the world. A woman who has helped define the genre as it is today and a man who is making waves with his thrillers across continents. Can you believe they were all willing to talk to me about six-word memoirs? I am not worthy, but I'm more than willing to share, so let's see who we've rounded up today:

Charles Cumming graduated with honors in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh before he was approached for recruitment by the Secret Intelligence Service, a.k.a. MI6. His experiences with the MI6 would then become the basis for his first novel, A SPY BY NATURE. As he moved around: Montreal, Madrid, ultimately back to the U.K., he continued writing. In March of 2008 he published the interactive online story THE 21 STEPS as part of Penguin's We Tell Stories project. Now, with four published works, he's working on his next book due to be published in 2011, THE TRINITY SIX. In addition, he's an Assistant Editor of The Week and writes book reviews for The Mail on Sunday.

Charles is the founder and President of the Jose Raul Capablanca Memorial Chess Society. He lives in London with his wife and two children where philosophically he ponders:

Possibly none of it meant anything.

Next up is a man who recently rocked my reading experience with his debut novel STARVATION LAKE. Bryan Gruley decided he wasn't going to enter the crime fiction world quietly, oh no! He was going to do it with hockey sticks smashing, with panache and damn it, awards! This hockey-playing journalist graduated from Notre Dame and worked for various Michigan newspapers before snagging a position at the Wall Street Journal Washington Bureau. There he wrote a front-page story that earned the Pulitzer for Breaking News and another story that was an alternate finalist for the feature writing Pulitzer.

These days in addition to publishing a debut novel that earned an Edgar nomination, an Anthony nomination and a Strand Award for best first novel as well as an Anthony nomination for Best Paperback Original, Bryan is the Chicago Bureau Chief for the Wall Street Journal and he's an amateur musician. He fits hockey and blogging at The Outfit in there somewhere and oh yeah, next week he's releasing THE HANGING TREE, his follow-up to STARVATION LAKE. I know you're use to my personal commentary in these little bios, so I'm sure you won't mind me saying that I CAN. NOT. WAIT. to meet Bryan in person this October. How does Bryan sum up all that leaves me in such awe?

From fact to fiction to truth.

Our final memoirist today is a woman who has left her Anna Pigeon on the Mystery World. Nevada Barr will release the 16th book in her best-selling, award-winning Anna Pigeon Mystery Series next week. Nevada was born in Yerington, Nevada, but grew up in California. Her parents were both pilots and mechanics. While her sister followed in their footsteps, Nevada took the logical alternative: the dramatic arts. After earning her graduate degree in Acting, she headed east where she would work on stage, commercials, films and radio for almost two decades. Meanwhile Nevada and her husband developed interests in the environmental movement and she started working seasonal jobs in the National Parks. Her first position was boat patrol on Isle Royale National Park. Eventually she would take a permanent Park Ranger job on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.

At most of the stages of her various careers, Nevada incorporated writing in what she was doing: teaching storytelling, writing travel publications even working as a restaurant critic. Then in 1983 she added novelist to her resume when BITTERSWEET was published. The Anna Pigeon series would come to life for the first time in 1993 with the publication of TRACK OF THE CAT, which also earned her both an Anthony and an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery. Of course, Anna Pigeon is a park ranger and her character was originally based on Nevada and Nevada's experiences with the National Parks. However, Nevada says that she and Anna evolved in different ways. Regardless, Anna did evolve and now, again almost two decades later, Nevada is publishing BURN, the 16th Anna Pigeon mystery.

Nevada Barr has the arts in her DNA. In addition to her acting and writing, she paints. For the past fifteen years she has put brush to canvas under the name Paxton.

I'd love to sit down and chat with Nevada Barr because she lives with her husband, "four magical cats and two adorable dogs." Hmmm, subtract the husband and the adjectives and that sounds like a familiar living arrangement. But this is not about me. For Nevada, she

Loved books. Loved cats. Got lucky.

Yeah, there was some talent mixed in there, too, but we're sure glad luck was on her side! Luck is also on our side considering these three people write crime fiction for us to enjoy.

Please help me in thanking all three wonderful authors for their contributions this week. I had a blast getting to know each one a little better and I hope you did, too. Best of luck to Bryan and Nevada on their releases next week. And to all of you...Happy Reading!

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Anonymous July 28, 2010 at 11:37 AM  

Hello Jen
Just to tell your readers that my next book will be 'The Trinity Six', a thriller about the Cambridge spies, not The Hidden Man. To be published in March 2011 in the US.
Great site!
all best wishes
Charles Cumming

Anonymous July 28, 2010 at 7:56 PM  

I love the mix of six word contributors...

kathy d. July 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM  

Thanks. I must say I'm waiting for Nevada Barr's new book to be at my library, have not missed an Anna Pigeon mystery yet.

Unknown August 8, 2010 at 4:51 PM  

Hi Jen,
I have read the blog and Charles Cumming's comment about his next novel, I have a copy of The Hidden Man which was his second novel. Superb writing and story. Will be anxiously waiting The Trinity Six.Currently have The Spanish Game on order Another Le Carre!

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