By Alex Segura
I’m a firm believer in being thankful. Thankful for what I’ve got and positive about what’s to come. Some days, it’s easier to feel grateful than others - but you try to do your best.
Nothing is done in a vacuum - even something as solitary as writing a novel. That being said, I hate writing acknowledgements or thank-you posts. You always remember someone you’ve missed the second you post, print, whatever. But that’s what I’m doing here, so please humor me.
The idea to write about being grateful popped into my head as I wracked my brain about what to write this week. After a series of tutorials that while (hopefully) helpful, were about potential minefields in publishing, thanking some fellow writers seemed like a perfect palate cleanser.
In terms of writing, I have a lot of people to thank. I could write a dozen entries thanking everyone that helped one smidge in terms of bringing SILENT CITY into existence, from my wonderful wife, our family and friends, my publisher, beta readers, coworkers, the amazingly welcoming mystery community (I’m looking at you Jon, Ruth, Dan, Kate, Oline, Connie, Ben, Erin and many more), etc. But that might lock in my blog posts for the next year. I mean, I only write at DSD every other week, ya know?
Anyway, I’d like to spotlight some of the great crime/mystery writers who’ve helped me - even if they don’t know they did - over the last few years as I tried to get SILENT CITY off the ground. As far as entertainment value to you, dear reader, I think this will serve dual purposes. I can thank some great writers/friends for being supportive, and you get a list of awesome books to read. Cool?
Steve Weddle: Steve is one of the kindest, most supportive people I’ve ever met. He’s a huge advocate for the writing community, and spends tons of energy making sure he gets the word out on fellow writers. Hell, even before we met in person, he was plugging SILENT CITY almost as much as I was. All that and a great writer. COUNTRY HARDBALL - a novel-in-stories published by Tyrus Books - was one of the best reads for me last year. Please do yourself a favor and read it. Can’t wait for the next one. And hey, he’s the reason I’m blogging here at all.
Chris F. Holm: The esteemed Jon Jordan introduced me to Chris a few years back and I’m really glad that happened. There’s a period with your first novel, even after it’s done, where you’re not really sure if it’s good or not. Chris was one of the first authors who read SILENT CITY and dug it, and that meant the world to me then and now. I’m so stoked for his success, and eager to read his upcoming work. You’re in good hands with his excellent Collector books from Angry Robot, an exhilarating, genre-bending adventure that I burned through in what felt like a few days.
Sara Gran: Sara’s one of those writers you’re supremely jealous of because of her mastery of not only plot and structure, but style and tone. I want to hang out with Claire DeWitt, the star of her last two novels. I want to live in the San Francisco she describes. I love the dreamy, ethereal quality she brings to the genre while still managing to craft a convincing and dangerous mystery. I can’t wait for the next Claire book. Sara’s also been hugely supportive of me and SILENT CITY - not just by blurbing the book, but by being a sounding board and great friend during the lean days before the book was a “real” book and just sat on my computer waiting for a home.
Brad Meltzer: I’ve known Brad for over a decade and we have a lot in common - we’re both Florida boys who love comics and mysteries, for starters. While Brad’s shown a knack for writing an edge-of-your-seat thriller and game-changing comic book, he’s also one of the sweetest people you’ll ever met. The second I mentioned to him, offhand, that I’d written a book he said: “Whatever you need, pal. Just let me know.” He wasn’t kidding. My personal favorite of Brad’s books is BOOK OF FATE, but you’re in good hands with any of them - and there are plenty. Enjoy!
Megan Abbott: She’s the best - I’m not really sure what else to say. I can’t put her books down, she’s exceedingly kind every time I chat with her and she’s been more helpful to me as a no-name author than she ever had to. She’s an amazing writer that elevates anything she touches, and you should read all her books. My personal favorite, though, is QUEENPIN. Cannot wait for THE FEVER this summer.
Kristi Belcamino: I’ve never met Kristi in person, but in this age of social media, she’s proven to be hugely supportive, and we seem to be on similar tracks as writers. So, it’s been great comparing notes and helping each other. We both write on this here website, too. Her first novel, BLESSED ARE THE DEAD hits soon, and it’s an amazing debut. I was honored to get to read it early and even more honored to provide a blurb for it. She’s one to watch.
Greg Rucka: Like Brad, I’ve known Greg a long time. Our paths have crossed at various points during our comic book careers. He’s always, always, always been a supreme professional and friend - kind, caring, honest and true to himself. It’s really something to aspire to, I think. I value every chance I get to see him in person and give him a hug. I love all his books, but really think he turned a corner with ALPHA, his latest novel from Mulholland. If comics are your bag, LAZARUS is one of Greg’s newest and one of my favorites in a long list of favorites.
I could go on all day, mind you, but this’ll do for now. Short version: the mystery/crime community is a warm one and full of great people. I’m lucky to know some of them.