Saturday, December 1, 2007

Guest Blogger Clea Simon


I'm thrilled to have author Clea Simon guest blogging here. Clea is the author of Mad House: Growing Up in the Shadow of Mentally Ill Siblings (Penguin), Fatherless Women: How We Change After We Lose Our Dads (Wiley), The Feline Mystique: On the Mysterious Connection Between Women and Cats (St. Martin's), and the Theda Krakow mysteries, Mew is for Murder, Cattery Row, and the upcoming Cries and Whiskers (Poisoned Pen Press).

She's also a writing instructor at my beloved UCLA online and a journalist for my other beloved, The Boston Globe. Clea is also one of my favorite people on the planet and one of the most giving to other writers. And so with no further introduction, I give over my blog to Clea:


How’d she get that?

Doesn’t matter what “that” was: placement in a bookstore window, a review in the New York Times. A bookseller recommendation on a little shelf-talker card. When I was first starting out as a writer, I was envious of everyone. I wanted it all!

Amazing what a few years will do. Six books in, and my appetite hasn’t decreased. I still fall in love with every one of my creations, and I can’t understand it when reviewers/bookstore staff/the nice couple across the hall don’t respond as I do. But I’ve gotten a bit mellower in my response to other writers.

How could I not? This group of potential rivals – often better established, more practiced in the craft, more gifted in the art – has proven to be the most generous community I have yet to meet. Other writers have read my drafts and made kind, but useful comments. They have hosted me at their neighborhood bookstores (and on their blogs!) and shown up to cheer me on. They have given me the use of their guest rooms while traveling, and their shoulders, when everything gets to be too much and I need a good cry.

These wonderful colleagues have also crept into my books. I have long been a believer in the wonderful nurturing qualities of “families of choice,” the warm group of people we choose to be around us. But now that I’m writing fiction – mysteries – I find that same type of family coming to life in my pages. And as much as I work on burying clues, killing people in ingenious ways, and making sure all the cats in the book come out okay (my number one rule with my mysteries!), often it’s the characters readers email me about. It’s the characters I come back for, too, and now, with my third mystery, “Cries and Whiskers,” coming out, I look forward to revisiting my heroine, Theda, and her own family of friends. There’s Violet, the punk rocker/shelter worker, and Tess, her high-strung buddy, and Patti, a prim realtor, and the antithesis of Theda’s free-wheeling rock fan.

What do they have in common? Very little. But I like to think that, as in my life, they’ve found some bond in being women, being friends, making it in what can be a tough world. They’re my homage to my real friends, the writers who have helped me become a better writer.

Do I still get jealous? Sure. But only of the writers I haven’t yet met. --Clea Simon

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Clea Simon said...

Hey, I don't know what the etiquette is of posting on your own guest blog, but I have to jump in and add that Caroline (and Sue O'Doherty and Susanne Dunlop) did it again - on a frigid, dark, nasty cold Monday, they came out to my event at Partners and Crime and turned a long cold day into an incredibly warm evening, and a nurturing memory. THANK YOU!!!

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