Blog in a Bog, Day 101: A La Recherche du Temps Perdu

January 10th, 2011

I know about the missing accent above. And even if I didn’t, this would be a ruse.  The French title, the picture of Proust — they’re just a tardy and transparent claim to class.

In fact, the past time I wish to recall is last weekend, essentially yesterday and the day before yesterday.  At the ALA convention.

What I really want to say is that mystery and thriller writers are among the world’s nicest and most generous people.  They may spend their time plotting murders and putting themselves inside the consciousness of fiends, but get them together, and it’s hard to figure out who’s the kindest and most generous. This is not pablum; it’s Gospel.

We all write different kinds of mysteries: we had writers of historicals, cozies (gardening mysteries, cooking mysteries, you name it) contemporaries, gay mysteries, hard-boiled — you name it.  We had lots of down time, and what we did was chat.   As different as our books were, our challenges and inspirations were virtually identical.

I especially enjoyed Hank Phillippi Ryan and Rosemary Harris, the women who get the lion’s share of the credit for Mystery Day at ALA, along with Naomi Hirahara, who was a prime mover but was felled by stomach flu and couldn’t attend. As tired as I was on Saturday night, Hank and Rosemary, who hadn’t stopped working all day, had the energy to invote Vicki Doudera and me to some bar somewhere and talked: book, story, writing habits, publishers, new ideas.

On the new ideas front, it was amazing to see the generosity and support they offered the most fledgling notion. You know, on some level, we’re supposed to be competitors.  But there wasn’t a smidgen of that in evidence. So: Drive Time, Hank’s latest.

And Vicki Doudera’s:

And Rosemary Harris upcoming (April) book:

This is the way it felt at the signing sessions.  The little glimpse of orange at the end of the line is me:

8 Responses to “Blog in a Bog, Day 101: A La Recherche du Temps Perdu”

  1. Suzanna Says:

    Look at all those fans! Who’s that skinny guy at the book table???

    That’s terrific that you had such a supportive connection with your writer friends. It really sounds like you had a great time.

  2. EverettK Says:

    What I want to know is why it’s all WOMEN who are lined up to see him. You mean to tell me there were NO male librarians in attendance??? Does Munyin know about this?

    I did buy a copy of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s first book “Prime Time,” as it sounded interesting. The other two authors sound interesting as well, but they’ll have to wait their turn. I’ve already got a growing “to be read” stack of files. Sigh.

  3. Laren Bright Says:

    Nice people who are sort of competitors. What a concept. Sounds like a great time, Tim — though I know it’s also plenty of hard work.

  4. Gary Says:

    Respect, Everett, respect!

    This isn’t just Tim any more. This is now Awesome Tim, the Award Winner.

    No wonder all those pretty young blondes are lining up to see him.

  5. EverettK Says:

    Aw, shucks, Gary. I guess I’m just an old razzaholic who keeps falling off (or under) the wagon.

    Honest, Marshall, I’ll reform my ways, I promise. Don’t shoot, Marshall, don’t shoot!

  6. Rachel Brady Says:

    Hi Tim. I’m glad you enjoyed your time at the ALA convention. Like you, Hank and Rosemary have been very generous with their time and words as I enter the mystery writing community. Thanks to people like you all, there has always been a sense of big brother / big sister guidance for me. I do everything I can to pay that forward. We are lucky to be in such wonderful company.

  7. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Hello, there. Once again I apologize for taking so long to respond. I had no time to write over the weekend, so yesterday I didn’t do anything else.

    Suzanna, it’s not so much that I’m skinny as it is that I’m sitting down. It was great, I have to say, to have that kind of reaction, and it happened at all three signings.

    Everett, I was definitely the csrefully-aged (as they say of steaks) boy bait at the convention. I actually had one nice and probably very nearsighted lady compliment me on my hair. And thanks for buying Hank’s book; I’m reading it after I finish a (terrific) book I was asked to blurb.

    Hi, Laren. Writers are remarkably nice people. I think it may be because we confront our failings and limitations on a daily basis.

    Gary, some award winner. I’m no longer at HarperCollins and am searching for a new publisher, like half the writers I know. But this has actually been good for me (and I’m not just being a Brave Little Man) and I’ll probably write about that soon.

    Hello, Rachel, and thanks for dropping by. The mystery community is the best I know: writers, booksellers, editors, fans. We are truly fortunate.

  8. EverettK Says:

    Tim said: …after I finish a (terrific) book I was asked to blurb.

    Okay, now you have to tell us the title and author!

    Tim said: I’m no longer at HarperCollins and am searching for a new publisher…

    You mean your Poke publisher won’t be publishing the 5th Poke book?

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