But this is by way of an introduction. Throughout the month of September, the 3000-strong gang of Sisters and Misters known as Sisters in Crime are having a blog-hop.
I know this is Criminal Minds!
But I'm hijacking it.
Here's how the great SinC Up September bloghop works. Anyone who blogs is invited to answer any or all of the following questions and then tag another blogger to chip in with their tuppenceworth. (We Sisters don't go crazy with the rules.)
All the details and lots of information about Sisters in Crime is available at the SinC website: click here.
The questions are:
- Which authors have inspired you?
- Which male authors write great women characters? Which female authors write great male characters?
- If someone said "Nothing against women writers, but all of my favorite crime fiction authors happen to be men," how would you respond?
- What's the best part of the writing process for you? What's the most challenging?
- Do you listen to music while writing? What's on your playlist?
- What books are on your nightstand right now?
- If you were to mentor a new writer, what would you tell her about the writing business?
The only bit of this that raises my hackles is "nothing against women authors". Doesn't that sound a wee bit too much like "with all due respect", which, as we all know, means "You are a moron."?
Apart from that, my answer is: "Good for you. Isn't it lovely to live in a free country?" (NB, take out "my favourite" and replace it with "the best" and I will spit on my hands and pound you to a splat. Verbally, of course.)
However, I happened to read this question out loud in my husband's hearing and his response was different. His response was "Yeah, right!"
This from one who, when we met, owned a single book written by a woman - Maxine Hong Kingston's THE WOMAN WARRIOR - adrift in a sea of Tolkien, Vonnegut, Heller, Shute and Malamud. And it had been a present from an ex-girlfriend.
Hah! She was an amateur. Within months, I had him on Jane Austen, George Eliot, Joyce Carol Oates and the writers he called "the green stripy lesbians". (Others know them as the authors published by Virago and The Women's Press.)
So anyway, I also asked him this morning who his favourite authors were now. The answer came back - in this order - Jane Austen, Tim Binding, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates and a tough choice between Nevil Shute and "Old Line and Length" aka Anne Tyler, so called because Nick Hornby gave her a blurb that said she was "the best line and length novelist writing today". Her publicist must have wept. Can you imagine less helpful praise for an American literary author than a cricketing metaphor?
(N.B. I was interested to note that no Scottish crime novelists were mentioned . . .)
And now I tag RJ Harlick to pick one or more of these questions for her next Criminal Minds blog.