Friday, June 30, 2006

Bryant Park Reading Room

Wednesday was a glorious day--really, it was. What with all the rain in New York and surrounds, I bet you think I'm lying, but no... Rain clouds threatened, but we managed to stay dry in the park even though it was terribly muggy. The "Reading Room" is really an outside venue in a park with books available for all the park people who sit there during their lunch hour. They munch and read the books for free.

The occasion was a panel discussion of female mystery writers which I moderated. It was the first time that I've done that job and I must say it was made pleasant by the panelists that were assembled: Carol Goodman, Laura Lippman, Cynthia Baxter, and Sandra Scoppetone. I fielded them questions--and they ran with it--piece of cake--kinda'- sorta'. They did very well. Range of their writing is incredible.

Sandra is known to be one of the 100 Masters of Crime Fiction and writes a kind of nostalgic hard-boiled crime fiction and broke ground early in her career with a lesbian PI who went about her day to day affairs without all the angst usually associated with gay characters.

Laura Lippman, a former reporter from Baltimore has won every mystery award imaginable with her books with her heroine PI Tess Monaghan and she contributed one of the best questions re: our responsibilities as crime fiction writers.

Cynthia Baxter, president of the Tri-State/NY Chapter of Sisters in Crime, presented intelligent comments about the "cozy" genre and we became acquainted with her amateur sleuth, veternarian Jessica Popper.

Carol Goodman is also a mega award winner and her category of fiction is literary suspense--all of her books thus far allude to "water." Interesting. Her husband also writes the poetry that is often included in her books.

Gives one a warm feeling to be among women with such intelligence, warmth and charm. I'd do it again in a NY minute--it was that pleasureable. Hmm..have I spelled pleasureable correctly?

One sour note--not really--I was concentrating so much on the other authors I don't think I described my own book to great effect. Well, my turn next time. I hope there'll be a next time and I get another opportunity to moderate. Not only do I get introduced to some authors I don't know about--it's a way of picking other people's brains. I like that.

Plus, no matter how I try to disguise it, as a actor, I still like to jump up in front of people. And contrary to some other authors, I loooove to read my stuff--I love to read other people's stuff. Hey, I love to perform!

A year ago, I was sitting on a panel next to a much admired author (who shall be nameless) and we were all asked to read our stuff. Good for me, bad for some others. The person was such a good writer, but wasn't doing justice to her material and the audience had zoned out--I wanted to snatch the book out of the author's hands and read it myself! It left me trembling. If I ever do a workshop for writers I think it will be, "How to Read in Public." Think I'll get any takers?


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