Midwinter Friday: Women of Mystery

January 23, 2009

My last bloggable event of the day was the ERT Author Forum, subtitled "Women of Mystery" and featuring the mystery authors Erica Spindler, Francine Mathews, Mary Jane Clark, and Nancy Atherton. I had to miss the last half for a planning meeting, but I'd like to share some juicy quotes from the first half. Spindler: On mystery vs. suspense: "Over the years what I've done is start combining the idea of mystery and suspense. I really can't let go of the drama and emotion that isn't really part of mystery." On her history as a painter: "With paintings, you have sort of a skeleton of an idea and you go with it. [When writing] you kind of work with what you have and try to build up the emotion. It's kind of like when you're painting and it needs a little red—so you add it." Mathews: "It helps to be a high analytic [personality type] if you're going to write detective fiction. I'm an INTJ—they're all such attractive qualities that I spend most of my life in my basement alone." "Once your characters start speaking to each other, they acquire a life of their own. It always happens 300 pages in." Clark: "If there were no such things as criminals I literally would not exist because I was conceived by two people who met while working at the Federal Bureau of Investigation." "If not for the public library, I definitely would not be writing books today… The library was it for me and my little sister." Atherton: On her school librarian: "When I walked into the library, Mrs. Bailey could hear the angels singing because she knew I loved books." "I write mysteries with no murder, no crime, and no detective, and yet I'm told they're page turners. I think that's due in part to the fact that I just absorbed everything as a kid." "I've managed to come this far by doing everything wrong. I couldn't write an outline with a gun to my head."