On Feb. 6th, 2006, I reported here what it was like to see the galley of NO GOOD DEEDS. Today, a year and a week later, I received the final copy of WHAT THE DEAD KNOW. Ten years in, book #12 and, yes, it’s still thrilling. Also terrifying. But mostly thrilling.
A young author of my acquaintance saw his pages typeset for the first time recently, and asked if it was normal to be excited. Yes, I think so. In fact, I think it would be quite depressing to be jaded about it, ever. The transition still seems magical to me, almost as if elves had absconded with one’s pages in the night and returned with the promise of a finished product. Or, to quote a favorite Sondheim lyric: “Look, I made a hat/Where there never was a hat.”
Another review, Booklist, arrived on the heels of the book. Now Booklist has never been particularly kind to me. It has compared Tess, unfavorably, to Nancy Drew and said of TO THE POWER OF THREE: “[T]he book derails from mystery into pop sociology. For Lippman fans only.” So I count it as a victory that the the review is positive, with only a quibble about the ending. I expect I will see more such quibbles and all I can say, without being spoiler-ish, is: Um, have you been paying attention to the news lately? But, really, it’s very blurbable, although I’ve already forgotten all the nice adjectives.
Finally, the mail also brought news of a hat trick — for the third year in a row, one of my stories has been chosen for inclusion in the the Best American Mystery Stories, with Carl Hiaasen as guest editor this year. “One True Love” was written for the MWA anthology, DEATH DO US PART, and it’s a story (and character) of which I’m particularly fond. TMP visitor/eponymous blogger Nancy Nall has noted that women in my fiction often behave very badly and, well, true dat, as they used to say on THE WIRE.
Hat tricks, first times, criticisms you can’t quite forget, things that never get old, things that get old fast, the pleasures of craft, the daunting nature of trying to do a thing again and again and again — in other words, it’s a Baltimore snow day, so anything goes.