The Sisters in Crime have deemed the month of September as SinC-Up for bloggers.
They asked us to answer the following questions and blog about it-- and mention some other blog that you might like.
Which authors have inspired you?
They really do number in the hundreds. I've been a voracious reader for 50 years, and been inspired by so many good books and writers.
Mystery-wise, the line of writers from Dashiel Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jim Thompson, Patricia Highsmith, John D. MacDonald, George V. Higgins, and Ellis Peters, through to the modern day, with Walter Mosely, Robert B. Parker, James Lee Burke.
Other writers: Mark Twain, Victor Hugo, Edna Ferber, Dorothy Parker, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Shirley Jackson, Cordwainer Smith, Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, and two of my favorites, Stephen King and Harlan Ellison.
Which male authors write great women characters? Which female authors write great male characters?
Male authors- Have to give a nod to Stephen King. In the movie versions of two of his books, Kathy Bates played both Dolores Claiborne and Annie Wilkes (from Misery) and you won't forget either of those characters!
Female authors- Of course Harper Lee, who gave us Atticus Finch. The Ideal Man- as noble as Lincoln. Lesser known is Edna Ferber- the range of her characters was incredible, and both genders rang true, with all the strengths and weaknesses.
If someone said "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
Give them a copy of Jo Bannister's Deadly Virtues and a couple of other good examples.
What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?
When the words sing, and characters come alive. The most challenging thing is making that happen, day after day, story after story. Anyone can type, but it's an enormous task to put words on a page that matter.
Do you listen to music while writing? What's on your playlist?
Classical only, no words, softly in the background.
What books are on your nightstand right now?
We're having Hank Phillippi Ryan come to our Mystery Book Club night in Groton, so I'm in the middle of The Wrong Girl.
If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
It's a business, so you have to understand that side, while trying to create art. It's tough, extremely difficult, you'll likely be underpaid and underappreciated, and you'll get a ton of criticism, no matter how good you get.
If that doesn't scare you off, you have a chance to create real art and make your life matter. It is a fine thing to give light to new stories of quality. Write something they'll read a hundred years from now, for people that haven't even been born yet.
Now for the other blog mention. One is Connie Johnson Hambley, who I interviewed here.
And if you're not following the Maine Crime Writers, you're missing out. This is a collaborative site from the top names in Maine crime fiction, and is chock-full of great stuff and news from all of them.