Thursday, November 10, 2011

Panel from Hell

By Kelli Stanley

So today we're supposed to supply six "gotcha" questions ... you know, the kind 60 Minutes used to zing some sleazebag with, whereupon the sleazebag would yank off the mike and walk off camera.

That would happen at least once a year, and it was always a highlight of the season.

So, to riff on my fellow CMs' panel dystopia, a 60 Minutes-style Panel from Hell (with me as an innocent victim) would be ...

1. You've been writing for, what--over five years now? And yet you admittedly haven't made a profit of any kind ... no, don't bother, here's your IRS return. So let me ask you--why are you doing this?

2. I've read that mystery writers are usually emotionally unstable, obsessive-compulsive control freaks, many of whom suffer from borderline personality disorder. Where do you fit in?

3. What's James Patterson really like?

4. How do you respond to charges that you're a hack?

5. Please tell us--and remember, you're on camera--what are you hiding underneath that hat?

Of course, I'd wake up from the nightmare at #3, since I've never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Patterson, and I'd realize it was all just a bad, bad dream, and Mike Wallace wasn't really persecuting me.

Now, as for real life ... today I'm actually on my way to a REAL conference with REAL panels (the wonderful Murder in Muskego), where I'm looking forward to answering questions about, among other things, whether I outline, how I do my research and where I get my ideas.

Let's just hope I don't run into Mike Wallace ...

Kelli Stanley is the award-winning author of the Miranda Corbie series, the newest novel of which is CITY OF SECRETS. Rumor has it that copies are out in the wild, roaming the country and looking for good homes. She also writes a Roman Noir series, various short stories and the occasional limerick. Visit her at


D. P. Lyle, MD said...

Kelly--Here are some answers you'r welcome to use.

1--Because I'd rather spend time with my imaginary friends than with you.

2--Right in the middle--and there is nothing borderline about it.

3--He's a very nice man who does write his own books.

4--With a hack saw. Step right up.

5--Chocolate, bourbon, and a handgun. Which would you like to see?

Have a fun day.


Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Bravo to Dr. Doug for some outstanding responses!

I actually get asked a form of #1 all the time. It's more along "with so many books out, why do you still work a day job?" Um, because I'm addicted to food, shelter and health insurance. Then the question morphs into "so why are you doing this?" To which I confess to being needy and unstable, which answers #2 before it is even asked.

Michael Wiley said...

Here are my guesses for #5:

a. Another hat (and then another and another and another)

b. An orgasmatron

c. A shot of whiskey, just in case

d. A bunch of really good books, already published and forthcoming.

I would put my own money on "d."

Meredith Cole said...

Have a wonderful time in Muskego! Wish we were doing a Criminal Minds panel there... We'd have them rolling in the aisles, I'm sure!

Graham Brown said...

Ha. Kelli you should add book of wry humor to your list of Genres. Maybe that's what you're hiding under that hat.

Rebecca Cantrell said...

Love the questions, Kelli! I think most of those questions just get asked inside our heads. Over and over.

Love all the answers posted though. I'm definitely thinking twice before I ask Doug anything. :)

Enjoy Muskego!

(Meredith is right: we need to do a 7criminalminds panel!)

Reece said...

You'd make a good interrogator, Kelli! Have fun in Muskego!

Gabi said...

What are you hiding under that hat? It never occured to me it wasn't your head until the question was asked.