Thursday, July 27, 2006

More than anyone ever wanted to know about me . . .

Number of husbands: one

Number of children: four (3 boys, 1 girl—ages 5 to 13)

Daily goal: to have the same number of husbands and children at the end of each day that I had at the beginning

Best thing about 2006: a tie between our Africa trip in June and my baby starting kindergarten

Favorite book: yeah, right, like I can pick one! So we’ll subdivide the topic . . .

Favorite mystery: a duo by Elizabeth Peters, THE FALCON AT THE PORTAL/HE SHALL THUNDER IN THE SKY

Favorite historical novel: a quartet by Ellis Peters (no relation to above) about the last true prince of Wales in the 12th –century, THE BROTHERS OF GWYNNED QUARTET

Favorite fantasy other than the obligatory LOTR: Juliet Marillier’s DAUGHTER OF THE FOREST

Favorite mainstream novels (afraid to use the very loaded term "literary"): A. S. Byatt's POSSESSION

Favorite non-fiction: READING LOLITA IN TEHRAN by Azar Nafisi

Favorite classic: Charlotte Bronte’s VILLETTE

Authors whom I always buy in hardback: Ruth Rendell, P.D. James, Elizabeth George, Elizabeth Peters, Minette Walters, Juliet Marillier, J.K. Rowling (I think that last goes without saying!)

Favorite film in the last year: tough call, what with GOBLET OF FIRE and NARNIA, but I’m going to have to go with the film Orson Scott Card called the “best sci-fi film ever made”—SERENITY

Favorite TV show ever: the too brief, brilliantly written, superbly acted, emotionally resonant 15 episodes of FIREFLY

A brief history of my writing (all-too brief as of yet): I've had one short piece accepted for publication in an anthology titled LETTERS TO MY MOTHER. I also have a drawerful of rejections, ranging from form letters to cutting indictments to encouraging optimism. Last year I submitted an alternate-history novel to several publishers and that's where the encouragement came in--though no one was encouraging enough to want to see the entire manuscript. I've just submitted query packages on a mystery novel, KEPT SILENCE, set in 1899 Yorkshire. Below is my query letter blurb that makes it sound like I'm writing late-Victorian soap opera.

QUERY: In the summer of 1899, Susannah Garrett returns from four years of medical school to her Yorkshire home in order to marry her cousin, David. When she discovers a girl’s body the very hour of her return, a cascade of secrets begins to unravel—from David’s involvement with the dead girl to the mystery of Susannah’s sister who vanished without a trace seven years before. Inspector Simon Grey tries to focus on investigating the murder at hand, but his heart has its own secrets and time is running out to reveal them before Susannah’s wedding. In a world balanced between past traditions and future possibilities, Susannah and Simon both work to uncover the secrets long since kept silent.

WHEW! To anyone who made it this far, congratulations. I wish I had a prize to offer, but the satisfaction of a good deed accomplished shall have to be your reward. Now that we've covered me, I'll turn my attention in future to topics of (perhaps) more general interest.