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(with writers Ann Voss Peterson and Julia Spencer-Fleming)
This past weekend, I had a lovely time at the Muskego Library’s Murder and Mayhem program.Â Not only did I share theÂ bill withÂ fabulous writers, I also got the chance to party with them as well!Â (For more images, and a complete list of the guest authors, check outÂ Jon Jordan’s website at http://centralcrimezone.blogspot.com/)Â
The most interesting things I heard, though,Â didn’t get saidÂ during the official program.Â Rather, it was what I heard during theÂ informal huddles over drinks and chili at Jon and Ruth’s house, while we all sat around getting slightly tipsy.Â Â In the comfort of each other’s company, we admitted to all the fears andÂ anxietiesÂ we have about our careers,Â the publishing business, and about who we really are, once you get past our public personas.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an introvert who finds hanging out in crowds exhausting.Â I love being shut away alone in my office, and a book tour leaves me feeling like my soul’s been sucked out.Â But imagine my surprise when the maniacally effervescentÂ JA Konrath admitted that, during his 600-bookstore driving tour, he too was desperate for some time by himself.Â But he was traveling on a budget, staying in the homes of friends and acquaintances, so he spent almost every waking moment feeling the need to perform his schtick.Â It was emotionally and physically draining for him.Â Â We other authors, hearing this, somberly nodded in agreement.Â We don’t know how heÂ came out of it sane.Â (At least, we think he’s sane.)
David Morrell offered his own fascinating insight into the psychology of writers.Â “Why do we choose to write what we do?” he asks.Â And he believes that the answer lies in theÂ childhood traumas we’ve experienced.Â Â A child who was abandoned by his parents will find that as an adult, he can’t stop writing about that theme of abandonment.Â The childÂ who was an outcast will later write about heroes who are outsiders.Â I think he’s absolutely right.Â Â I see it inÂ my own writing, and I suspect that almost every writer, when he thinks hard about it,Â will probablyÂ find something in his own past to explain his chosen genre.Â
Over barbecued ribs and tequila shots the second night, weÂ whinedÂ about Hollywood,Â gossiped about bad books, and came to the unanimous conclusion that Blake Crouch looks like James Spader.Â Â I think I may have said (or done) a few blackmail-worthy things.Â
I just hope the photographic evidenceÂ doesn’t rear its ugly head.