Hard to believe a full week has gone by since I was in NYC. I’ve started this post a few times, but each time the real world has gotten in the way enough that I knew I needed to come back to it to do it justice.
Much of my Friday got chewed up by my day job, but I made it over to the Grand Hyatt in time to catch Lee Child interviewing Megan Abbott. They are both such witty, entertaining personalities that the forty-minute panel seemed to fly by in a furry of laughs and one-liners, but there was a lot of content there, too, including her upbringing in Detroit, her study of noir, and–perhaps my favorite, loving The Wire as a I do–anecdotes about working in Hollywood on David Simon’s The Deuce.
After that, it was time to meet Cynthia and her other clients for a drink. Although not a “formal” event, this was one of my favorite times of the weekend. Getting to sit at a table with the likes of Raymond Benson, Robert Masello, William Myers, Jr., and Kathryn Leigh Scott was such a treat! I know the stereotype of writers is that they’re (we’re?!?) all introverted loners, but these folks are so intelligent, so witty, so thoughtful, that getting a ringside seat to watch them riff on politics and publishing and more was so much fun. I could have sat at that table for hours.
But we couldn’t, because my publisher Thomas & Mercer (and Bill’s and Robert’s) was having a cocktail party. The three of us hustled down- and cross-town to find a gorgeous rooftop bar where our editors, fellow writers, and others from the imprint were waiting. We’re talking an absolute murder’s row–not just Bill and Robert, but Lee Goldberg, Danielle Girard, Bryan Gruley, Hilary Davidson, Kirk Russell, Marti Green. My ego even got stroked when Matt Farrell recognized me without me having to introduce myself–that’s certainly never happened before!
The party was obviously a lot of fun, but if possible, the setting was even better. As we drank and talked, the sun set between the buildings to the west and painted the Empire State Building in golden light.
Once that party wrapped, I hustled back uptown to the meet the other members of the ITW Debut Class for a pizza dinner. Organized and shepherded by veterans Shaun Harris and Adam Hamdy, it was a fun group: I got to walk to the restaurant with Ellison Cooper and Lissa Marie Redmond, two of my new favorite authors. Ellison has a Ph.D. in anthropology and has done all kinds of fascinating research in places that will make you swoon with jealousy (Belize, Micronesia, London), but her book Caged is a dark, gripping thriller that is now at the top of my to-be-read pile. Lissa is also amazing–a cop for 22 years, she’s done just about every kind of police work you can imagine, including cold case investigation and hunting down real-life serial killers. I’m dying to read her book, Cold Day in Hell, as well. The best thing about both of them, though, is how wonderfully humble and down-to-earth they are. I think all three of us were still somewhat stunned to be included in such an auspicious group, and to have the chance to be on a panel the next morning.
After dinner, I got to walk back to the hotel with two other members of the class, Cheryl Reed and John Copenhaver, chatting about the advice we’d been given, the short speeches we had to give in the morning, and the amazing people we’d met.
All-in-all, Friday was a long day, but such a rewarding one! And the best was still yet to come….