Crime Pays: The Fall Mystery & Thriller Author Panel Discussion discussion

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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 8 comments Mod
When the discussion officially begins on Tuesday, I'll be asking each of the authors to discuss their writing process -- how they write each day, how they come up with the ideas and execute the intricate plotting involved in each of their work, etc. After that, I thought I'd ask the members of the group to suggest some good topics to discuss. What would you like to hear about from the authors? Feel free to suggest a topic here.


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I suppose your topic covers it, but I am very curious how Charles Todd, being two people, divide the work, decide on plot details, share the work, if you will.


message 3: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 18 comments Again, referring to Charles Todd, I would like to know whether their responsibilities have changed since the earlier books. I'm on A Fearsome Doubt and I have heard from other people, who don't read in order (as I do), that some of the later Ian Rutledge books don't seem quite as sharp as the earlier ones. Not something that I have noticed thus far. Just something that I have heard others comment on.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

That's a good question for any of the authors who write series: "How do you keep a series fresh?" I have read through several series where the stories got so formulaic, or I was frustrated by what the author did or didn't do in the detective's personal life, that I just couldn't keep going.

And then someone like Agatha Christie used the same detectives, but all of the stories (especially Poirot) seemed unique.


message 5: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 18 comments Perhaps that is the very reason she had multiple main characters. and, possibly that is one reason for the bess crawford books.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

The thing about the Poirot series, for example, is they all were independent of each other, even though they featured Poirot, and sometimes Hastings. I can read them over and over again.

But then some of the other series I've read just get repetitive. The same small town with way too many murders per capita, or the detective that can never find love (which frustrates me!), or a series where too many threads get left hanging and then just disappear.

I like the new series with Bess Crawford. I need to revisit the Rutledge series, too, because I really enjoyed the first five books.


message 7: by Jan C (new)

Jan C (woeisme) | 18 comments I need to try the bess crawford books. i picked up on the ian rutledge stories because it is such a rarity for books to deal in any way with mental illness.


message 8: by Kim_bab (new)

Kim_bab | 5 comments i'm curious, do the authors have role models of their characters in their real life?


message 9: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (readforfun) | 1 comments Is Lippman ever going to bring back her original main character? She was interesting and the reason I became a Lippman fan.


message 10: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth (kcb263) | 1 comments Has Laura Lippman ever considered, or have any plans, to collaborate on a book with her husband, author/journalist David Simon - creator of the Wire?

If not, do the two ever discuss their projects with each other from a creative perspective?


message 11: by Jodi (new)

Jodi For Laura Lippman: how challenging was the transition from Baltimore Sun reporter to novelest?
Was her journalism career her top choice or did she always have an inclination to write novels, but felt journalism as an initial career was the best way to pay the bills?

I also want to add that Laura has a great facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/lauralippman#.... She replies to many of the comments. It seems unusual for an author to do that. I think it is wonderful. It is quite a thrill to have a favorite author reply to you!


message 12: by Jodi (new)

Jodi For Sandra Brown: I can't believe I haven't read your books yet. For someone new to you, what book(s) would you recommend starting with in the mystery genre? Are they written in series or stand alone? (I read your Goodreads profile, which states you write in three genres-WOW).


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura Lippman | 20 comments Mod
I have answers to all these questions, but am waiting for the official discussion to start. Has it started? We had a rough morning at my house.


message 14: by Marilu (new)

Marilu | 3 comments I am curious to know who the authors' favourite authors are.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Marilu wrote: "I am curious to know who the authors' favourite authors are."

That's a good question! :)


message 16: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (bishops1) | 4 comments Marilu wrote: "I am curious to know who the authors' favourite authors are."

And could you recommend some of your favorite books written by those authors?


message 17: by Lisa S (new)

Lisa S (kasey_k_fan) I too would like to know the best book to start out with on all three authors.

Laura, I have read one of your books (I'd Know You Anywhere) and I'd love to read more. Are all your books stand -alones or do you have series? I like series.:)


message 18: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 8 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I have answers to all these questions, but am waiting for the official discussion to start. Has it started? We had a rough morning at my house."

Hi Laura,
For really specific topics or questions asked specifically of you, feel free to respond here. I'm going to post a new general topic each day (I think tomorrow we'll talk about the specific series/characters that each author writes about), but feel free to jump in here whenever you like.


message 19: by Laura (new)

Laura Lippman | 20 comments Mod
@Lisa -- I've written 10 books about Tess Monaghan, a Baltimore-based PI. Very different in tone from the stand-alones. If you are the type of reader who starts at the beginning, then do by all means,but bear in mind -- Tess and I both got better at what we do. If you're comfortable dipping into a series in the middle, I often direct people to The Sugar House or In a Strange City.

@Kenneth. My husband and I are collaborating on a project with a third writer, but it's in the very early stages and dependent upon some things we don't control. It is NOT what most people would expect from us.

@Jodi You got it: I went into journalism because it was a writing job that came with a paycheck. I liked it, too, and had a lot of fun. But the dream, always, was to start writing fiction and make that my fulltime job. So far, so good!

@Tedsandi: Tess returns in January in the novella (previously serialized in the New York Times) "The Girl in the Green Raincoat." I plan to return to the series, but it will be at least 2012 before that's possible.


message 20: by Lisa S (new)

Lisa S (kasey_k_fan) Thanks Laura. I like to start at the beginning so I will check into them.


message 21: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendyblue1) | 5 comments I would also like to know who the authors favorite authors are and also their favorite books.
When do you find the time to read?


message 22: by Meg (new)

Meg Mims (httpwwwgoodreadscommegmims) Such great questions! I also would like to know about the collaboration process - is it by character, or by plot points? How do you revise to make it consistent all the way through? I'll have to check out Laura's Tess Monaghan series, and catch up with Sandra's new thrillers. I've read several romances - such a strong writer and always a satisfying read.


message 23: by scherzo♫ (new)

scherzo♫ (pjreads) I'm also interested in favorite authors and books -- especially the elements in the writing of these that they each notice and appreciate the most.


message 24: by Laura (new)

Laura Lippman | 20 comments Mod
There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat.

Here are some writers I love: Kate Atkinson, Elinor Lipman (no relation), Gillian Flynn, Megan Abbott, George Pelecanos, Denise Mina, Peter Robinson, Ann Hood, Stewart O'Nan, Tom Perrotta, Nick Hornby, Jess Walter, Jennifer Weiner. The last two books I read were Hamlet's BlackBerry and Mary Ann in Autumn.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Laura wrote: "There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat.

Here are some writers I love: Kate Atkinson, Elinor Lipman (no relati..."


I can't imagine a writer who isn't a reader! :)


message 26: by Lynne (new)

Lynne (lyndaellen) | 2 comments Laura wrote: "There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat.

Here are some writers I love: Kate Atkinson, Elinor Lipman (no relati..."


It’s very interesting to see that you are a fan of Kate Atkinson, Gillian Flynn, and Denise Mina, because I’ve always thought of your books as sharing a certain sensibility with theirs. All of you are attuned to the secret power of young women, a group more often portrayed as either victims or sexpots (or both), with little agency of their own. Your work seems to play on the advantages and disadvantages of falling into that overlooked category. Being considered weak and helpless can be a great cover for murder but it also makes you more vulnerable. Do you see that theme in your own work? If you do, why do you think you are attracted to that subject matter, both in reading and writing?


message 27: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Davis (harleythethrowawaypuppy) | 5 comments For Charles Todd (mother and son): One of the best things about the Rutledge series is the sense of atmosphere in the setting. Have you visited Britain extensively? Do you feel that you must visit a place to write about it? Thank you! I love your books!


message 28: by Charles (new)

Charles Todd | 26 comments Mod
I'd like to answer some of the questions directed to Charles Todd.

1) How do we split up the writing? We don't. I expect that's one of the perks of being related, we know each other pretty well. And so consensus about each scene is what we aim for, choosing the right words or the right atmosphere. Getting it right is the key. You have to lose your own ego and concentrate on what the characters themselves would do or how they would react in real life.

2)Traveling to England is a must. If you aren't on the ground, you miss the small things that make a town come to life. You miss the atmosphere and how people feel about their history and their neighbors. Sometimes what we expect to find in a place we've decided to visit isn't "right" for a murder mystery. But the village ten miles away has something special that really takes the story line into new directions. That's the glory of England. So much of a book is the feeling we have as we dig into the past and start to create a world full of people. It's really magic.

3) There was a comment that the Rutledge books now aren't as strong as they were. Interesting! Because most people seem to think they get better with each book. A LONELY DEATH, coming out next winter, is in our editor's opinion, the best so far. It will be fun to see how readers and reviewers look at it. That's the real test.

I'm glad so many of you have read and enjoyed Rutledge and Bess, or are discovering them for the first time. We try to write books that will keep you turning pages and lead you to an exciting climax. That's always the bargain between writer and reader: let us entertain you for a few hours of escape from your own world.


message 29: by Meg (new)

Meg Mims (httpwwwgoodreadscommegmims) I am sure writing a series is *very* hard, not only to keep the consistency strong, but to keep readers happy. So far, on book 6, I feel that each Rutledge book was better. The twists and surprises have been fabulous. Keep up the good work. I need to catch up and also pick up the Bess series.


message 30: by Laura (new)

Laura Lippman | 20 comments Mod
Lynne,

In my case, I took one of the oldest bits of writing advice -- write what you know about -- and went deep with it, if you will. The one thing I really knew was what it's like to be female. And I felt the most surprising things I knew were about teenage girls. In my first stand-alone, I wrote a chapter about an 18-year-old girl accepting a ride from a lecherous man. She turns the tables on him in a very scary, but non-physical way. She scares him just by talking. My husband asked: How do you know things like this? I told him all women knew such things, but didn't realize they could be interesting.

Teenage girls can have immense power and they also can be incredibly vulnerable. That's an interesting combination.

The crime novel has often been a male form, about what it means to be a man in our culture. Where does violence fit in? Is a man stronger or weaker for eschewing violence? And I like those novels. But I felt that women had stories to tell, too.


message 31: by Lisa S (new)

Lisa S (kasey_k_fan) Charles, I've never read any of your books. Can you please tell me which one is the best to start out with? Also are all your books a series or do you have stand-alones as well?


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Meg wrote: "I am sure writing a series is *very* hard, not only to keep the consistency strong, but to keep readers happy. So far, on book 6, I feel that each Rutledge book was better. The twists and surprises..."

I read through the first 5 books, all within 2 months, so I may have burned myself out a bit on Rutledge. I think the first book was the best of the series A Test of Wills. The whole package of Rutledge and Hamish is just genius!

FOR Charles Todd: I was disappointed that some threads got dropped, especially Fiona, and Rutledge's godfather. Do you come back to these story lines again?


message 33: by RuthG (new)

RuthG Lisa S wrote: "Charles, I've never read any of your books. Can you please tell me which one is the best to start out with? Also are all your books a series or do you have stand-alones as well?"

I'm not Charles but I can tell you that the books are in a series. It's best to read them in order because they build upon one another. There is an Ian Rutledge Series and a Bess Crawford series.


message 34: by Lisa S (new)

Lisa S (kasey_k_fan) Thanks Ruth!


message 35: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendyblue1) | 5 comments Lisa I would like to try one of Charles Todd's books too.


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

Start with A Test of Wills. It is very good!


message 37: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendyblue1) | 5 comments Thanks Jeannette I will see if I can find it.


message 38: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth Davis (harleythethrowawaypuppy) | 5 comments Thank you, Charles, for your answer about setting. I, too, enjoy visiting Britain, and I look forward to future novels about Rutledge.


message 39: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Brown (sandra_brown) | 29 comments Mod
Jodi wrote: "For Sandra Brown: I can't believe I haven't read your books yet. For someone new to you, what book(s) would you recommend starting with in the mystery genre? Are they written in series or stand alo..."

Jodi,

I think I'd have to recommend ENVY. It's over 5 years old but still one of the books I get quite a lot of email about!

Sandra


message 40: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Brown (sandra_brown) | 29 comments Mod
Sharon wrote: "Marilu wrote: "I am curious to know who the authors' favourite authors are."

And could you recommend some of your favorite books written by those authors?"


Sharon and Marilu...I try not to read within my genre while I'm writing but I have to mention Lee Child's entire Reacher series--for starters. I'm also a big fan of Elizabeth Hoyt's historical romances.

Sandra


message 41: by Wendy (new)

Wendy (wendyblue1) | 5 comments Then Envy it is! I am going to start with that one :)


message 42: by Jodi (new)

Jodi Ditto to what Wendy said above. I just put ENVY on my TBR list. Thank you Sandra for your reply!


message 43: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Brown (sandra_brown) | 29 comments Mod
Jodi wrote: "Are they written in series or stand alo..."

PS few of my books are part of a series. My latest, TOUGH CUSTOMER, is the follow-up to SMASH CUT, but it's also the first 'tie-in' book I've done in over twenty years.


Best,

Sandra


message 44: by Sandra (last edited Sep 10, 2010 12:37PM) (new)

Sandra Brown (sandra_brown) | 29 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat."

Laura...love this! Just love it!

I read constantly and in a wide variety of genres. I also read *every* day, a few hours a day and take my Kindle with me when I travel. Reading is my treat before bedtime, and usually I have to force myself to turn out the light.

A few other auto-buys include John Sanford, Karin Slaughter, Anita Shreve, & Allison Weir.

Sandra


message 45: by Lisa S (new)

Lisa S (kasey_k_fan) Sandra, I just love Karin Slaughter. I just recently found her and I have read all but 3 of her books. I'm also working my way through John Sandford's Prey series.


message 46: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (bishops1) | 4 comments Sandra wrote: "Laura wrote: "There's always time to read. Don't trust a writer who doesn't read. It's like eating food prepared by a cook who doesn't eat."

Laura...love this! Just love it!

I read constantly an..."


Thank you Sandra! I am always looking for new authors to read. I have read the complete John Sandford "Prey Series" and a couple Anita Shreve novels. I have just added Karin Slaughter to my Goodreads 'to-read' list and I also added Allison Weir's debut novel "Innocent Traitor" to try out some Historical Fiction.

It is such an honor and a pleasure to be able to talk to you in this forum. I am a big fan.

Sharon


message 47: by Charles (new)

Charles Todd | 26 comments Mod
The question about which book to start with has already been answered by another reader, but it's true, A TEST OF WILLS is the first Rutledge. Still, we try to make each book stand on its own. And so if you start in the middle or with the latest, you can catch up without any problem. A lot of new fans do just that. In the Bess Crawford series, there are two books, the first one just out in paperback (A DUTY TO THE DEAD) and the other (AN IMPARTIAL WITNESS) new in hardcover. On our latest tour, we saw people buying both, delighted to get in at the beginning. And we've done one stand-alone, THE MURDER STONE, set in the same period (the Great War) and in England. It has been very popular,and is still out in paperback, like all the Todd books. Last week, I think we signed all 15 or 16 books for one delighted fan who'd finally caught up with us. We'd just missed each othr half a dozen times, schedules not quite meshing until now. It was good to see him at long last. He'd signed up for Author Tracker,and knew where we were to be this time.


message 48: by [deleted user] (new)

I always like to start a series at the beginning, even in books that can stand-alone, there has to be some history or character development that has happened in the preceding volumes, even if it is just the fact that the character has aged. Isn't this the case with your series?

I have only seen one series, Nero Wolfe, where the author didn't change anything in the lives of his detective and side-kick.


message 49: by Carla (new)

Carla (carla121) | 2 comments I would like to ask the authors: how much the publishers determine what you write? For several times I found myself not enjoying so much the books of an author I used to love, because suddenly he/she changed their way of writing. Is it hard to impose your way of writing and your stories to publishers? or do you have total freedom?


I hope you understand my english.. Thank you.


message 50: by Marjorie (new)

Marjorie (marjorie_taylor) | 2 comments I finished reading Tough Customer a couple of days ago and I really enjoyed it. I have several of your books Sandra and have read most of them. There are some that I am working on now as well. I do have Envy and that will be one of the to read books. I really love how you bring the characters to life and make it seem as if they are right there in the same place as you are. Keep writing. I love reading your books.


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