Saturday, November 07, 2009

Carolyn Hart Days

Donis today.  I’ve just enjoyed three most inspiring days.  Carolyn Hart was in town, promoting her latest novel, Merry, Merry, Ghost.  I was able to spend a lot of time with her, mostly eating with friends and talking about writing.  Carolyn Hart is the author of more than 40 published mysteries.  She is best known for her two series, the “Henry O” books, and the “Death on Demand” series.  In fact, her 20th “Death on Demand” book will be out soon.

As anyone who knows her can attest, Carolyn is the dearest person in the world, and a true mentor and guardian angel for new and aspiring authors.  She was an amazing help to me when I first started out, and still is.  Besides, we have something of an extra bond, since we’re both Oklahomans, of which there aren’t that many, at least in comparison to Californians or New Yorkers or Massachusettsians.

We spoke of many things writerly, and every evening as I drove home from our latest supper outing, I was practically electric with ideas, and actually speeding to get home and write.  When writers get together and discuss the Craft, something occurs that is more than just an exchange of ideas - it is, as my friend Judy Starbuck noted, more like an exchange of molecules, and you become more than the sum of your parts.

I have hermit-like tendencies, as do a lot of authors, but I cannot deny that getting together with fellow practitioners is extraordinarily energizing.  This is the major benefit of writer’s conferences, I think, just to be in the presence of others like yourself, and be able to exchange molecules.

One interesting discussion we had fits in very well with Charles’ observations of the previous post - playing God.  Carolyn has just started a new series featuring a ghost, Bailey Ruth Raeburn, as the sleuth (now, there is an original idea).  She said that it is quite exciting to create a whole new world, deciding what her ghost protagonist can and cannot do, what powers she has, how much she can know, the whole circumstance of her presence on earth.  

All kinds of things can happen in a book that don’t happen in the real world. Yet, once Carolyn sets the parameters of Bailey Ruth’s existence, she can’t change them just because she wants to.  Bailey Ruth can’t be able to move objects in one book and unable to in the next, for instance. Even if you are writing about the most imaginative alternative universe, the world of which you are god, like the world Actual God created, has to function by its own internal logic.


Our very own Vicki Delany is guest blogging today for the Fatal Foodies (  She’s writing about the most wonderful time of the year - for writers!  Happy eating.


p.s. Okay, you East Coasters, what do Massachusettsers actually call themselves?