Writing a novel is, by definition, a lonely avocation. It’s just you and your computer–or just you and that legal pad. Thus any opportunity to hang out with a fellow writer is a welcome opportunity–but sometimes it can be a truly delightful opportunity. And that’s what I experienced last Monday night when I took the stage with two superb mystery authors who also happen to be genuinely charming, interesting, and funny guys.
First, some background:
On October 10th, the St. Louis County Library hosted an event it labeled a Celebration of the Poisoned Pen, which featured three authors published by Poisoned Pen Press. In addition to yours truly, the featured authors were Jeffrey Siger and Reavis Wortham. Up until that evening, I knew them only by their words. Jeffrey is the author of the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series set in Greece, and Reavis is the author of the Red River series set in East Texas in the 1960s. Poisoned Pen Press has recently published the latest in each of our mystery series, mine being The Dead Hand.
The three of us met for dinner beforehand with my wife Margi. As their St. Louis host, I insisted that our meal begin with an appetizer found on the menu of every Italian restaurant and sports bar in St. Louis–and virtually nowhere else on the planet. I refer, of course, to toasted ravioli. They both enjoyed it.
As I soon learned, each of us shared something else in common besides our publisher. Reavis and I both started our careers as public school teachers–Reavis in Dallas, me in Chicago. As for Jeffrey, in addition to our Pittsburgh connection (his hometown and my father’s hometown), we were both lawyers. Jeffrey, however, has been lucky enough to quite his day job and now spends half of each year on the Greek island of Mykonos. Not too shabby.
The rest of the evening was a delight. Each of us read a passage from our latest novel, talked a little about how we got our start in the writing world, and fielded several interesting questions from our audience, including one toasted-ravioli inquiry directed to my two fellow authors, each of whom wisely (and I hope honestly) praised that St. Louis appetizer.
I confess I was eyeing Reav’s ten-gallon hat with envy. I also contemplated that mustache of his, but my wife Margi quickly nixed that idea.
I’m hoping I get to see both of these fine men again before too long. In the meantime, I’d recommend sampling a book from each of their mystery series.