Thursday, March 09, 2006

Stupid Ideas, Dumb Luck & Interviewing

Last week when I was visiting friends, it was of course an excellent opportunity to do all the things we girls love to do.

As in go to White Rock, stroll along the beach and collect rocks, build sandcastles, each Italian ice cream. Ummm.

And negotiating with small children who wade into large puddles and then cry because their parental unit won't retrieve them so they don't have to walk in water (child wearing rain boots, btw). Ah, child logic. Comes in handy if you've got that code down before marriage...

But, back to favourite activities, after the beach it was on to furniture shopping, of course.

My friend had her eye on a Mexican coffee table. As soon as she told me I just knew which design she wanted. So, after the husband whined and moaned, we wrangled him into the purchase.

Which is when things got really entertaining.

Steve picked up the coffee table when he went out for an evening meeting. So he returned with it, and in that hazy brain late-at-night kind of way that we all get into every now and again, he starting to wonder if he could fit inside the coffee table.

And he made the mistake of wondering this aloud.

Sandra made the mistake of only having her phone handy for photographs, so they suck, but I think you'll get the idea here.

So Steve managed to fit inside. And then we closed the flaps and instead of taking a picture, Alison and I sat on both sides so he couldn't get out.

You've got to love a man that'll get into his own cage.

Now, I had a really stupid idea yesterday.

I decided to look at the line-up for Left Coast Crime 2006.

It was one thing when I knew Stuart MacBride and John Rickards were going to be there.

But Simon Kernick will be there too. Not only is Simon one of the nicest people I've met in the business, but he's a damn good writer. But I get to interview him soon, so it makes missing out a bit easier.

If you're going to LCC, I recommend slapping John, 'cos he probably deserves it and he's into that sort of thing anyway and his books are the perfect size for a good wack upside the head or across the ass. And get Stuart to draw in your copy of Cold Granite when he signs it because it'll be really valuable.

And, of course, if you don't have them already, buy all 4 of Simon's books. All three of these talented authors come highly recommended by me, personal faves of mine each one. I wasn't sure what I'd think of Simon's books at first, because they're well outside my usual love of police procedurals, but wow. I had to work out how to shower and read simultaneously because I couldn't put them down. And to add to the shock for all those that know my usual preference for 3rd person over 1st person narrative, Simon's absolutely top of the list for authors in this house. In fact, of my top 8 authors, 3 are doing 1st person narratives now!

But only one does the other side of the law like Simon does.

Now, this isn't to say I recommend Simon over the other boys. Just different, and I haven't raved about him on here nearly enough (but I plug John and Stuart a lot, and they know I think they're amazingly talented and highly recommend their work). I'm such a complete cheerleader for authors I like - when I find an author that wins me over hook, line and sinker, I want to tell everyone. So sue me - I'm never going to apologize for being passionate about books. Ever.

In a double stroke of dumb luck, when I reviewed A Good Day To Die last summer, it gave me an opening to ask Simon about doing an interview. Maybe I shouldn't say this here, but I don't think he reads my blog. He's too busy traveling the world. And Stuart and John have already been through this with me so it isn't news to them.

I always feel a sense of reticence to ask people anything in interviews, because I hate to impose.

Unless I know the person. Tee hee. Then, be prepared for anything. I do my homework. I'll usually read at least a few if not all of the author's books, and I'll read at least a handful of other interviews.

And every time I read an interview answer that makes me think, "Ask this next," but the interviewer doesn't, guess what I'm going to do? I'm going to take that topic one step further.

I love reading interviews. Interviews influence books I buy. If I get a sense of an author, and there's something there that appeals, I'm on their books faster than a fat kid on a smartie.

So, when I was going to Harrogate last year, I looked up the authors I wasn't reading yet and started checking out websites, and Simon clicked for me right away.

That's why I'm really glad I get to go to conventions like Harrogate. I'll be back this year, and at BoucherCon this fall. I get to meet so many great authors and get introduced to so many new books, it's heaven.

And occasionally, I get to meet someone who influences me more than they likely realize.

I've had the better part of a year to read up on Simon, and to search online for interviews. The poor man has no idea what he's in for. And we're doing a two-parter, so I'll get a chance to ask all my questions.

This is why I'm going to take a suitcase full of maple treats and Canada stuff to Harrogate. To placate my victims.

I love having the chance to talk to an author, and I love the fact that I can dictate in Spinetingler that if my interview's 20 pages, it's 20 pages. There's definitely a place for shorter, focused interviews, but sometimes I think it's nice to go a bit deeper and ask different questions, the ones the shorter interviews can't get to.

But despite saying all that, I'll be nice to Simon. Because he's one of the people in this industry that has really shown me the amazing spirit of generosity in the mystery writing community and never made me feel like an outsider.

So I'm plugging LCC, and saying thank you to Simon, for more emails than I can remember, enduring patience, and honesty that blew me away. Thanks to Stuart and John, for a million little things and some very big things as well, and especially all the laughs.

I owe you guys many, many, many drinks at Harrogate.

Yes, that's me, gushing again. But sometimes we don't tell people how much they've helped us, and it's not like this is the kind of thing I'd be say to them in person because it's embarrassing.

I consider myself so incredibly blessed to know these talented writers (amongst others!), to have the chance to interview them, to learn from them.

And I must also say thanks to Kevin. You're the love of my life, even if I don't always tell you, and I wouldn't be where I am right now without all the support and encouragement.

Or the money.

And you know what? The regulars who drop by, like C, Boy Kim, Kate, MG, Dana, Bernita, Trace, Erik, Jason, James, Bonnie, Christa...oh, a zillion more I'm forgetting I'm sure... You all mean a lot to me too. I could never do a blog without comments, because I love hearing your thoughts, I love the banter.

I love how you guys all make me laugh.

Now it's late, and I know I've forgotten someone, but I've got to go to bed before I fall asleep at the keyboard!

This one applies to more than Canadians, because you might have gotten one of these quarters and not realized it yet...

Hang on to any of the new Newfoundland Quarters. If you have them, they may be worth much more than 25 cents.

The Canadian Mint announced today that it is recalling all of the Newfoundland quarters that are part of its program featuring quarters from each province. This action is being taken after numerous reports that the new quarters will not work in partking meters, toll booths, vending machines, pay phones, or any other coin operated device.

The problem lies in the unique design of the Newfoundland quarter which was designed by a team of Newfoundlanders.

Apparently the duct tape holding the two dimes and the nickel together keeps jamming up the machines.

(Speaking of stupid ideas.)

My apologies to Sean Chercover.

Gabriele! I forgot Gabriele. Oh damn, lists.

Wonder if I should have explained 'top of the list' here is just like my top shelf porn remarks of old - my favourite authors are all crammed into the top shelves of my bookshelves so the cats and dogs can't chew on them.

Or the husband when I forget to make dinner.


Bernita said...

Two in one morning!
Writer Beware thinks ice starts at the Canadian border.

JamesO said...

Sandra's been watching the Oscars, methinks.

Sandra Ruttan said...


I don't watch the Oscars.

I don't watch the Emmy's.

I don't watch the Juno's, the Gemini's or the Golden Globes either.

And I don't read reviews in local papers and magazines.

I'm hopelessly misguided.

And now I need to say "Thanks Mark Billingham" for my morning laugh.

Erik Ivan James said...

Didn't take the time to read. Just wanted to say Good Morning!

Christa M. Miller said...

Sounds like you're feeling better! I'm glad to see that. :) However, you're making me wish I could attend conferences. Unless and until we move (or I sell a book which gets nominated for enough awards that I get a free ride... um... let's just stick with moving), we're too broke for me to go. :( Sounds like I'm missing out on a lot! May you have a great time!

Trace said...

You're welcome, Sandra. And thanks for being you :)

Hey, I think I'm moving back to Canada :)

Sandra Ruttan said...

I can post elsewhere but Blogger keeps eating my comments here.

So I'll try again.

Hi Erik! I write these long things for you, you know.

Christa, BoucherCon 2008 - Baltimore!

Trace, WHERE? Western Canada's nice...

Christa M. Miller said...

Baltimore, seriously? That would be TOO cool - I have a friend, also a mystery author, who lives an hour away in Wilmington! So I'd only have to worry about air or train fare. :D

Sandra Ruttan said...

Yep, Baltimore seriously! I can't wait to see Baltimore.

Of course, in 2007 I may drive when it's in Alaska...

M. G. Tarquini said...

My goodness! Was that all just ONE post?

Spinetingler Magazine: Online Reviews said...

See what happens when you post really late at night? It's one run-on brainflow that might or might not make sense...