Sunday, June 7, 2009

I DREAMED A DREAM

About a year ago, I dreamed about this grog. Literally ... I woke up and immediately set up a Blogger account for it. Not the first time I've had odd dreams, of course--either the sleeping or the waking kind. But it's a special feeling when one of those twilight hour inspirations comes to life, and I'm thrilled to be here with good friends, ready to launch what we hope will be an inspirational destination for rumination, conversation and a lot of fun. Think of these intros as the program book before the conference starts, where hopefully you'll get to know us all a little better!


I'm Thursday's Child, Kelli Stanley. I live in San Francisco, grew up in rural Redwood country but lived in a number of places as a kid, hold a Master's Degree in Classics, am a film noir and classic film aficionado, and my life's ambition (other than figuring out a way to keep my dog from shedding) is to write full-time.

Y' see, I've always written. Poetry, mostly, short stories, essays. Wrote my first play (a noir) in the third grade, and starred in it, too (my first college major was Drama). Tried my hand at screen plays once, gave up and went on to graduate school when I realized I'd have to move to Los Angeles to break into the business (I love Los Angeles, but figuring out how to get a script in someone's high ball glass at a party isn't for me). I didn't consider writing as a career until I was in graduate school and wondering what the heck I was going to do with a Classics degree ... and, well, the clouds parted and I saw a rainbow.

In other words, I dreamed. Decided to take the gamble. And I discovered that the very best thing about being a writer isn't about seeing your words in print. It's about meeting wonderful readers and being part of a fantastic and supportive community of people--readers and writers, creative, dynamic, determined, with something to say. People who care, people who try to make the world a little better by sometimes showing it at its worst.

So that's enough about me ... if you hang around, you'll discover more about what makes all of us tick. And remember, this is about us responding to your questions, so please email us! I thought I'd leave you with three bits of biographical trivia that don't usually make it into conference programs ...

1. My first trip out of the country was to Expo '67 in Montreal, when I was three. This also qualifies as my first (and only) World's Fair. I remember riding a camel and an elephant, and speaking French. I studied the language in high school and college, and can still sing Chevalier de la Table Ronde (a drinking song, naturally). ;)

2. I once sold advertising to an escort service. It was a summer job during college, and I got to work in the Flood Building in downtown San Francisco--where Dashiell Hammett worked when he was a Pinkerton (though they changed offices by 1940--there's a Pinkerton in CITY OF DRAGONS). I visited the offices of the escort service to close the deal and met the head guy and a couple of the escorts. I suspect this experience made more of an impression than I realized, since Miranda Corbie, the protagonist of CITY OF DRAGONS, is a private investigator and former escort.

3. I am simultaneously living in the DC Universe. From 1989 to 1997, my family and I owned and operated a comic book/pop culture store in San Francisco. I've got a lot of wonderful memories associated with The Funny Papers--from seeing kids grow up and have kids of their own to meeting comic book legends like Will Eisner and Jack Kirby. One of the highlights was Norm Breyfogle, the artist, drawing our store into an issue of the Batman comic book (#462) when the Dark Knight Detective was traveling to San Francisco. Of course, in order to maintain my simultaneous DC existence, I have to be able to recite the membership of the Legion of Super-Pets on demand.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week for the official debut of Criminal Minds!


The fine print: my debut novel, NOX DORMIENDA, is a playful distillation of hardboiled style and ancient history I call "Roman noir." I was very, very honored to win the Bruce Alexander Award for NOX, which is also currently nominated for a Macavity. My second novel, CITY OF DRAGONS, is set in 1940 San Francisco, and introduces Miranda Corbie--former Spanish Civil War nurse, ex-escort and now private investigator. CITY OF DRAGONS will be released next February by Thomas Dunne/Minotaur.

6 comments:

Leighton Gage said...

Hi Kelli,

What a lovely idea this bl....uh grog.
I'll be checking into Criminal Minds several times a week, which means that you guys can now claim, in all justice, an international audience. Eide and I will continue here in Paris until the end of September.
And, after Bouchercon, you're going to have readers in Brazil as well, because that's where we'll be next.
If only it was as easy to get our books out and around the world, right?

Warmest Regards,

Leighton

Kelli Stanley said...

Leighton, thank you so much!! :) You are such a sweetie, and we're really looking forward to getting together with you and Eide at Bouchercon. :)

Give Paris a big hug from the Criminal Minds, and thanks again for the support!!

xoxo

Kelli

P.S. I still have my yellow ribbon!

Anonymous said...

Mary D
zenrei57 (at) hotmail (dot) com

I've never been to Criminal Minds prior to this morning, but I'm really enjoying these wonderfully in-depth reviews :)

Kelli Stanley said...

Mary, thanks so much for stopping by!! :)

We really want Criminal Minds to be a fun, entertaining and thought-provoking experience for everybody ... just like a really good "live" panel. :)

Take care, and thanks again for letting us know!

Best regards,

Kelli

Mari said...

Hi Kelli! And Leighton! You are two of my favorite hard hitters, and I agree with Kelli. My favorite part of being a writer is meeting other authors such as the two of you. Mysteries to Die For in Thousand Oaks, Ca. is a marvelous place, and since it is two blocks from my home, all I have to do is to wait for you wonderful people to come to me.

But to get back to the topic at hand, my favorite criminal mind, at least right now, ties in with Kelli's comic book background, and I'm sure she will recognize this name instantly. Walter Joseph Kovacs, A. K. A. RORSCHACH, is the single most diabolical, tough guy, the brightest and most evil character I've ever met.

I missed WATCHMEN until the movie came out, and the movie blew me away. I'm not a comic or graphics novel fan, not having the patience to wade through the pictures and finding most comic characters disappointingly simple, so I wasn't "watching" the Watchmen when the crazy tee shirts first came out. My husband, who IS a comics fan and had more than sixty comic boxes full at one time, tells me that Watchmen is not a comic lovers book, that it is too dark and too cynical for comic lovers, and that he is not surprised that I would love it. His favorite still is Superman, a character I find BORING. he talks big but my Sweet Man is just that, a regular boy scout in 'bad man" disguise.

What ever it is, I love RORSCHACH and applaud his "level the playing field and let God sort them out later", attitude. He is a real bad guy and I'm probably WAY over my word limit for this entry.

:-P Mari Sloan

Kelli Stanley said...

Mari, sweets, I am SO glad to see you here!!! :) You could never be over your word limit, and it's a delight to welcome the honor of BEAUFORT FALLS to Criminal Minds!! :)

As a comic book fan, I loved Rorschach, too ... haven't seen the movie yet, but I read the graphic novel when it was first collected into book form.

I also love "V"--Alan Moore's V for Vendetta character ... hero or villain? Great stuff!!

Please give yourself and your sweet Superman-loving hubby a hug from me--and thanks again for stopping by!!! :)

xoxo

Kelli