A Busy Week At Parnassus Books

 

It was a busy week at Parnassus Books! On Tuesday, I did my signing for Resurrection Bay and had a great time. Three days later, my old friend Cathie Pelletier did a signing for her new novel, The Summer Experiment.

With Cathie Pelletier at Parnassus

 

Cathie and I have known each other for twenty-eight years. In 1986, I just happened to walk into the-long-gone Bookworld Bookstore in Nashville, where Cathie was signing copies of her first novel, The Funeral Makers. We struck up a conversation and I confessed I was trying to publish my first novel and she very graciously (and amazingly) offered to read it…

 

We’ve been pals ever since. Congratulations, Cat!

Parnassus Book Signing for Resurrection Bay

 

Wow, what a great night at Parnassus Books. The signing last night went really well. A good crowd, lots of good questions, and the chance to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen in awhile. I’m grateful to all the folks at Parnassus for hosting the event. It’s a marvelous bookstore and I encourage everyone to spend their money there!

Signing copies of RESURRECTION BAY at Parnassus Books in Nashville--June 17 2014
Signing copies of RESURRECTION BAY at Parnassus Books in Nashville–June 17 2014

As for catching up with a few buddies, here are a couple:

With Author Rob Simbeck
With Author Rob Simbeck
With Author/Screenwriter Randy O'Brien
With Author/Screenwriter Randy O’Brien

 

Resurrection Bay Signing at Parnassus Books in Nashville

 

Tomorrow, June 17th, is my first signing for RESURRECTION BAY. It will be held at Parnassus Books in Nashville at 6:30 p.m. We’ll also have copies of BY BLOOD WRITTEN for sale as well. I look forward to seeing friends, family, colleagues, supporters and anyone else who wants to come and support independent bookselling!

 

 

Here’s a link to the event:

 

http://www.parnassusbooks.net/event/author-event-steven-womack-author-resurrection-bay

 

 

RESURRECTION BAY is here!

 

The pub date for Resurrection Bay is just a few days away! My author’s copies arrived today and my wife, Shalynn, snapped a pic!

Womack With Res Bay

 

And even though pub date’s not quite here yet, Resurrection Bay has gone live on Amazon.com:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Bay-Wayne-McDaniel/dp/0738740659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402010674&sr=8-1&keywords=Resurrection+Bay

 

and on Barnes & Noble:

 

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/resurrection-bay-wayne-mcdaniel/1117011378?ean=9780738740652

 

Thanks for taking a look!

 

On The End Of A Long Dry Spell…

 

I admit it: I’ve been in a long dry spell the past few years. From time to time, it happens in a writer’s life. About all you can do is put on your big boy panties and soldier on through it.

 

So when my former agent and friend Nancy Yost sent me an email on May 12, 2011 and told me about an acquaintance of hers who was looking for a collaborator, I was open to talking about it. She hooked me up with Wayne McDaniel, a writer who lives on the west side in upper Manhattan, a few miles north of my old apartment in Chelsea.

 

Wayne and I began talking and emailing. He had a spec script he’d written that was based on the life of Alaska’s most famous serial killer, a twisted little eff-stick named Robert Hansen.

 

This guy was a genuine piece of work. He was a baker in Anchorage with a wife and kids. He was a deacon in the church. Every summer he’d put his wife and kids on a plane to the Lower 48, then he’d go kidnap a woman, fly her (in his illegally piloted Piper Cub) to a secluded spot in the wilderness, then turn her loose in the woods and literally hunt her like wild game (this is the sanitized version; the reality was much worse).

 

The script had been optioned, Wayne told me, but as so often happens, it had wallowed in the black hole of development hell until it was dead. His agent advised him to write a novelization of the script, sell the book, and thereby get the script back into play.

 

It was a good strategy, but Wayne was struggling with the novel and wanted to take on a collaborator.

 

We talked, made nice. I read the script; it was dynamite. I read what he had of the novel; I wanted to get involved.

 

So we played Let’s Make A Deal and went to work.

 

Some writers are wary of collaborations, but let me tell you, when they work, it’s magic. And that’s the way it was for us. This was, simply, the most successful collaboration and partnership I’ve ever had. Wayne and I have become close friends as well as literary partners and we’re seriously thinking about a second book.

 

And almost precisely three years after we first talked and emailed, the end result is nearly here. Resurrection Bay will be published on June 8, 2014 by Midnight Ink. Here’s the link to the book on Amazon.com, where you can pre-order it:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Resurrection-Bay-Wayne-McDaniel/dp/0738740659/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396491836&sr=1-2&keywords=resurrection+bay

 

It’s a hell of a book, if I do say so myself. I hope you’ll take a look and I hope you enjoy it.

 

Want to know the really weird part? Wayne and I have never met. Never even been in the same room together…

 

More about that, and the whole collaboration process, later.

On The Passing of Elmore Leonard…

 

On August 20th, we lost one of our heroes.

 

Elmore Leonard—87-years-old and at work on his 46th novel—died after suffering a stroke on July 29th.

 

Marilyn Stasio eulogized him on the front page of the New York Times. Writers, critics, reviewers, readers, and academicians throughout the world have paid tribute to his exquisite style, his elaborate and quirky plotting, the incredibly memorable characters he created, and the sheer firepower of everything he wrote. He will be remembered as one of the truly great writers of his time.

 

I have a different memory of Elmore Leonard, though.

 

It’s a memory from twenty-two years ago, in August of 1991. My first novel had been out for just a little over a year and my second was on its way. When my agent sold that first book in late 1988, I decided I owed some karmic payback, so I contacted some folks at the Tennessee Department of Corrections. I had to jump through some hoops, but eventually I became a volunteer teacher at the old Tennessee State Prison, which was more commonly known as “The Walls.” The place resembled a medieval fortress. It closed in 1992 and is now used as a movie set.

 

For four years, for three hours on Monday night, inmate writers and I gathered in the schoolhouse and workshopped our writing. In the beginning, I had the misguided notion that I had something to teach them. The reality was I learned a hell of a lot more from them than they did from me.

 

One Monday night, I announced to the group that I was cancelling class the following week. A couple of the guys asked why…

 

“Elmore Leonard’s coming to town for a signing at Davis-Kidd,” I said. “And there’s no way I’m going to miss that.”

 

You’d have thought I told them Jesus Christ was climbing down from the cross. There was a ruckus like I’d never seen among this usually sedate and almost intellectual group of guys.

 

“Get him here!” one of the guys yelled. “We can’t go to him!”

 

Point taken. So in one of life’s what the hell moments, I called Elmore Leonard’s publisher the next morning and got someone in publicity to take my call.

 

“Elmore Leonard writes about criminals,” I said. “How’d he like to meet the real thing?”

 

Twenty-four hours later, my phone rang. Elmore Leonard would love to visit the Tennessee State Penitentiary…

 

That Monday afternoon, I picked Mr. Leonard up at his hotel and drove to the prison. I was amazed at how soft-spoken, even unassuming, he was. There was no trace of ego in him, or bravado, or the macho sensibilities you’d expect from a guy who wrote about hard-assed, bad-assed criminals and got rich and famous doing it. He wore jeans, a blue dress shirt and a jacket. Just a regular guy…

 

And the guys in the writing workshop loved him. He spent the whole afternoon talking to them about the writing life and the writing business. He asked them about their work and listened to their stories. He treated them with respect and dignity. For one short, sunny afternoon in August, they weren’t inmates anymore; they were writers, swapping war stories with one of their own.

 

Later, I drove him to the Davis-Kidd Bookstore, where a huge crowd attended his book signing. After that, a group of us all went to dinner. I got to sit next to him and while I can’t remember in any detail what we actually talked about (it was twenty-two years ago), I remember it as one of the most pleasant conversations I’ve ever had with another writer.

 

Later, he wrote me a handwritten letter thanking me for the day and signed it “Dutch.” That letter and a photo of us all at the penitentiary are framed in my home office. They’re two of my most treasured mementos.

 

So that’s how I remember Elmore Leonard. Yeah, he was one helluva writer. But he was also a really nice guy.So long, Dutch. We miss you.Elmore Leonard at TSPElmore Leonard Letter

Edgar and Shamus Award-Winning Author