Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Co-Author Pick

by Tracy

It would be tough to decide which author I would work with if given the opportunity. Although there are many great authors both past and present that would be fantastic to work with, one would also have to carefully consider the personalities involved. Talent alone could not be the deciding factor. For instance, Charles Dickens is probably one of the greatest writers but let’s face it - the man wouldn’t know a concise sentence if he fell on it and had a tendency to instill his “good” woman characters with annoying traits like repeated fainting and large foreheads. (Seriously, what was his obsession with foreheads? It’s weird. And I think it would end up being a deal breaker for me.)

Then of course, there are the Bronte sisters. To work with the minds that created Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights? How fabulous would that be? But about a week into the collaboration I know I’d be snapping at then to get some therapy and slipping anti-depressants into their afternoon tea.

Now Ernest Hemingway is another brilliant one. That clean crisp prose – not a superfluous word anywhere. But probably a tad too macho for my taste. As Zelda Fitzgerald once famously replied when asked what Papa’s latest book (The Sun Also Rises) was about she said, “Bullfighting, bullslinging and bullsh*****.”

Dorothy Parker would be a top contender, as she is a kind of hero of mine. She had a razor sharp wit and was devastatingly funny. But she wasn’t above using that wit to reduce those around her to tears and that would be the problem for me. I’d be weeping in the fetal position under my desk in no time. To put it nicely, she did not suffer fools gladly.

So, with all that in mind, I would pick Ms. Agatha Christie to collaborate with. First of all, she is in my humble opinion, one of the world’s best the best mystery writers, if not THE best mystery writer. Second of all, she was by all accounts a very nice lady who did not drink or verbally abuse those around her.

I’ve always loved mysteries and not surprisingly that’s what I decided to try when I started writing. And while I think I’ve got a good sense of characters (thanks in large part to an eccentric extended family and a couple of crazy ex-bosses) I’ve always had trouble putting together the actual crime. I would make a lousy killer – which is nice for my neighbors – but not so great for book sales. But not Dame Agatha. She had a mind that seemed made for creating brilliant and devious puzzles. She was also a master at hiding clues in plain sight. I think one of her greatest books is A Murder Is Announced. In it there is a character named Lettie, however, in one chapter she is called Lottie. It’s a major clue that is passed over by the reader, assumed to be nothing more than a typo. And what about Death on the Nile and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express? All brilliant! So, to have the opportunity to work with the mind that could consistently turn out such inspired plots would the chance of a lifetime.

10 comments:

Bpoelle said...

I agree with you! Although I would be remiss if I didn't say I miiiight choose Hemmingway just to have a drink (or seven) with him...

Graham Brown said...

Hi Tracy - clues in plain sight - love when writers do that. Maybe thats the thing - we could learn a lot from a co -author.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Tracy, you are so sane! I like the idea of remembering their crazy personalities when choosing a co-author. It makes for a much more pleasant collaboration. I now have a picture of you tiptoing into the kitchen to slip anti-depressants in the Bronte's tea. Too funny!

Later, though, I bet they'd thank you.

TracyK said...

Have you read Jasper Fforde? His book have real characters interacting with fictional and the entire "cast" of Wuthering Heights is in anger management!

TracyK said...

Sorry - that would be his bookS have...

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Tracy: I love it! I'm putting that on my TBR list!

TracyK said...

Oh, you'll love them! The first in the series is the Eyre Affair - they are BRILLIANT!

Shane Gericke said...

Tracy, perhaps they got the large foreheads because they fainted and hit their heads repeatedly. Just sayin'.

Gabi said...

You're no fool and Dorothy Parker couldn't take you down so easy. Heck, I'll meet you at the Algonquin and we'll tag team her. We'd have a ball. The haven't seen a vicious circle yet.

Kelli Stanley said...

Cool, Tracy! And if you collaborated, maybe you could find out what really happened during those weeks she disappeared, huh? ;)

I liked the take of the film "Agatha", but it would be great to know the mystery behind one of the greatest mystery writers ...

xoxo