The Sisters in Crime authors, Mary-Ann Tirone Smith, Cindy Davis and Hank Phillippi Ryan, were wonderful! Their talks inspired the teens at the afternoon high school panel and the adults at the evening presentation. I recorded the evening talk and you can listen to it (as soon as I get it to work right.) Just get past the rustling papers at the beginning. I don’t have the software to edit my recordings yet. Jan at the library took some wonderful pictures to go along with the two I took at the evening program.
Two anecdotes stick out in my mind. Tirone Smith, in response to a question about how she gets her ideas, said that sometimes she starts with a picture in her head. One time she thought of an image of a young girl peeking out from behind a beach chair. In her head, Tirone Smith pulled back a little from the image and saw a sort-of bum sitting in the chair. A little further back, and it turned out that the chair was on a beach and it had to be Miami Beach. Thinking a little more and she “recognized” the bum as a member of the infamous Chicago Black Sox. From there the story, Port of Missing Men, developed.
The second anecdote came from Hank Phillippi Ryan. She has always been interested in mysteries and writing fiction, but couldn’t figure out a good plot. Then one day as she was clearing her email box of spam she accidentally opened one about refinancing. To her surprise the contents of the email read more like a passage from Shakespeare. She wondered if it was some kind of code. This became the plot of her first novel, Agatha award winner, Prime Time.
The authors also shared their suggestions for beginning writers.
1) Write every day.
2) Take a course or join a writing group.
3) Read some of the wonderful books out there about writing such as Stephen King’s On Writing and Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron (on order.)