I left Mondoville yesterday afternoon, bound for Greenville and the monthly meeting of the Upstate chapter of Sisters in Crime. In a remarkable lapse of taste, they had invited me up to speak at the meeting, and who am I to say no to such nice people? I was particularly thrilled with the invitation because as the father of a daughter who writes, I think they’re doing valuable work.
I arrived at about 5:45 at Greenville’s Runway Cafe, and was directed to the meeting room in the back. A couple of members were already there, although dinner wasn’t scheduled until 6:30, and I got to meet and greet a number of the folks who came in — and no, they weren’t all women, although most were. The weather was a little heavy, but about 18 people turned out. I enjoyed chatting over a very nice burger and fries about the books and authors we love, and as we were finishing, the meeting’s business got underway.
The group is hosting an event in June at a local library in honor of SinC’s 30th anniversary, with Marcia Talley speaking on a couple of interesting topics. I may have to get up there for that. That marked the business of the meeting, so we went around the table and the attendees talked about what they’re writing and reading. I was struck by the range of work folks were doing, their mutual encouragement and support, and by their entrepreneurial spirit, as many of these people are self-publishing and having a good time at it.
Finally, it was time for me to talk about my meteoric rise from insignificance to near-insignificance. I told the story of Broken Glass Waltzes‘s two-decade slumber in a drawer, of how a casual e-mail to Lawrence Block resulted in a friendship, and how I think about the stories I write (Hint: I often think of them as funny — although in a really dark way.) We also talked about Studies in Crime Writing, which we hope will debut this fall, and about the occasional awkwardness felt by genre readers and writers in academe, although I think I’ve outlived much of that. I also read “Bowery Station, 3:15 A.M.”, and it’s always fun to hear the crowd gasp at a certain moment in the story. The audience was warm and welcoming, and I had a great time singing (or speaking) for my supper.
But we needed to have cleared out by 8:30, so I wrapped my bit up, and was lucky enough to sell and sign a few copies of BGW. It was a wonderful experience for me, and I’m so grateful to the SinC crew for making me feel like a big deal for an evening. It made the drive home in the rain much easier. Thanks, ladies (and gents) — see you soon!