Sarah Stewart Taylor's Blog

July 30, 2009

So, I have this friend. Many years ago, she went on a date with a gentleman (or not so much a gentleman, as it turns out) and had a swell time. "I'll call you," he said at the end of the date. And . . . he never did. My friend, no longer a naive ingenue, didn't think much of it. Until two years later, when her phone rang. It was the guy and he was wondering if she wanted to get coffee. No explanation, just "I had a great time on our date and I was wondering if you wanted to get coffee." She declined, but we always wondered about those two years. Were we dealing with a Rip Van Winkle scenario? Had he been in jail? Wandering the Sahara desert?

I feel a little bit like that guy.

So . . . hello. Where have I been? Lost in the jungle? Imprisoned for my political views?

Not exactly:

If you look closely at this picture, you will see that there is yarn tied to the chair that was pulled up to the counter in order to access the flour during my extremely momentary absence from the kitchen. That yarn is what's left of a web, constructed the day before. Web, as in . . . Spiderman. As in . . . builds a web, any size, catches thieves, just like flies . . except this web was made to catch the baby. And it did, and . . . anyway, that's pretty much where I've been.

I've been getting wonderful emails over the past year, wondering where Sweeney is, what she's up to, whether she and I have disappeared off the face of the earth. The answer is no, not really, we've just been a little busy. I apologize for being so terrible about returning those nice emails. They mean a lot and they often keep me going when it seems hard to find time to write. I'm working away on another Sweeney, as well as another project I'm really excited about and I hope to get to each one of those emails soon.

But now, for something completely different.

I'm really excited about this project, which will be out in February, 2010. It came about through my teaching at the Center for Cartoon Studies and it's been a profound learning experience and a pleasure working with Ben Towle, who did the fabulous art, and Jason Lutes.

I'll be posting more about this soon, but for now . . . It's good to be back. Watch out for webs and stay tuned . . .
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Published on July 30, 2009 07:24 • 183 views

May 2, 2007

I had a really good time talking to Heather Stephenson (who just happens to live around the corner from Sweeney!) for this Rutland Herald/Times Argus Vermont Sunday Magazine story.
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Published on May 02, 2007 19:11 • 69 views

April 30, 2007

I'm guest blogging about Barbie doll bans and Marie Osmond today over at The Lipstick Chronicles. If you're a fan of Marie's music, you may not find this funny . . . Thanks to the Book Tarts for the opportunity to spend some time on their page!
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Published on April 30, 2007 02:46 • 59 views

April 22, 2007

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Published on April 22, 2007 07:07 • 50 views

April 16, 2007

The posts, that is. I know, I know . . . But I wanted to get back to the blogging tonight by writing about a most remarkable book. I just finished Christine Falls by Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) and I'm pretty much stunned. I love John Banville. I loved The Sea, which has to be one of the most sharp and lovely and haunting accounts of first love, and married love, ever written. I love the way it makes the case for hunting your demons and describes what happens when you do.

I had been looking forward to Christine Falls for a long time. Because, hey, a mystery by John Banville. Set in Ireland, in Dublin, a place I lived for a few years and love in the aching, ridiculous way you love a place you left a little too soon. What could be better?

Banville always struck me as a fan of the mystery. He's obviously fascinated by crime and he drops clues in a familiar way, and The Sea functions in many ways as a mystery novel. But Christine Falls is unabashed in its embrace of the form and the result is grand and devastating. It's a heartbreak of a book, detailing the losses and violences of this ensemble of lives in such a richness of sentences you lose sight of how beautiful each one is. I'm half in love with every single character in the book . . .

While reading, I had the experience of rushing ahead, then pulling myself back to read every sentence a second time. Run, don't walk, to find yourself a copy of this bleak, gorgeous novel.
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Published on April 16, 2007 09:03 • 45 views

April 9, 2007

Check out Julia Spencer-Fleming's conversations with her fellow Agatha nominees for Best Novel. There's fascinating stuff here and it's a great slate of nominees this year.
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Published on April 09, 2007 06:54 • 48 views
Thanks to everyone who entered the Gravestone Girl "Friends" contest. I'm a bit late, but I'm sending out emails today to alert the winners. Books will be winging their way to the friends soon!
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Published on April 09, 2007 06:22 • 53 views

March 28, 2007

Stop by Good Girls Kill for Money today to read my guest blog. Thanks to Sara, Laura, Diana, Tasha, and Regina for the opportunity!
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Published on March 28, 2007 07:33 • 69 views

March 26, 2007

A short post today. I just finished Laura Lippman's What the Dead Know. This book is getting a lot of attention and I have to concur with all the lavish praise I've read. It's the kind of book that makes me remember why I love mysteries and why I wanted to write mysteries in the first place. The novel uses the disappearance of two sisters to explore the impact of abduction and assumed murder on a family and the law enforcement community. It's about loss and parenting and identity and how to move on after a tragedy. It's just beautiful . . .

On a similar note, I just saw -- for the third time, I think -- the 2000 Australian film Lantana, directed by Ray Lawrence. The film also uses a disappearance to explore the impact of murder on those left behind. It's a graceful, achingly true piece of filmaking. If you haven't seen it, put it on the old queue.

At the top of my To Be Read pile? Christine Falls, by Benjamin Black, aka John Banville. I am so excited about this one.
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Published on March 26, 2007 11:32 • 44 views

March 19, 2007

When I was researching Mansions of the Dead, the second book in my Sweeney St. George series, I became obsessed with mourning jewelry, to the extent that Victorian jewelry made from human hair makes a prominent appearance in the novel. I ended up buying some pieces of hairwork jewelry and I've since gotten interested in how we use contemporary objects as mourning items. Today you can buy pieces of jewelry that contain the ashes of a loved one or establish a memorial website containing pictures and stories accumulated during a lifetime.

Recently I came across the blog of a Texas artist named Amy Huff. Amy makes beautiful cards and jewelry and after reading the Sweeney books, she made some gravestone-inspired artwork that I absolutely loved. I got in touch and she made me a beautiful charm, with a photograph of a memorial statue on one side and a quote from Balzac on the other: "While seeking out the dead, I see nothing but the living." She also made me some gorgeous cards featuring gravestone art. Thanks Amy! I'm going to wear my charm in the spirit of mourning jewelry old and contemporary, as a means of remembering death even in the midst of life, and in appreciation for the virtual friendships I've formed with readers since I've been writing the Sweeney books.
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Published on March 19, 2007 06:27 • 49 views

Sarah Stewart Taylor's Blog

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