It's good news Friday!
HANK: We love it when good things happen to wonderful people. Dear dear FO JRW Karen Olson's just got some terrific news...
NAL has just picked up two more books in Karen's tattoo shop mysteries. The third will be DRIVEN TO INK, with a possible pub date of late 2010 or early 2011. The fourth is tentatively titled INK FLAMINGOS.
And now, journalist Karen has forsaken the chic Connecticut life..and sets her new mysteries in VEGAS. Have you been there? I haven't...but Karen has!
KAREN: Vegas. Everyone knows it. Even if you haven’t visited, you’ve seen it on TV, in movies. It’s got an allure that was born of mobsters and celebrities and scandals and gambling. Bugsy and Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin and showgirls and casinos like the Sands and the Frontier and the Four Queens and the Sahara.
When my editor and I were discussing the setting for my new tattoo shop mysteries, she originally suggested Miami or southern California. Those are the places where those TV tattoo shows are located. But as I reminded her, those are also settings for great crime novels, too, and those novels are written by writers who actually live there. I was concerned I’d be exposed as a fraud, since I haven’t strayed too far from my native Connecticut. My editor said they were just looking for palm trees and heat.
So I suggested Vegas.
No, I don’t live there, either. And I’d only visited Vegas once, for a total of two days, 12 years earlier. But Vegas seemed easier to fake somehow. Since so much of Vegas really is fake. Like the canal and gondolas at the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes, where the tattoo shop in my books is located. And the Eiffel Tower at the Paris resort. And the Brooklyn Bridge at New York New York. And the Roman statues at Caesar’s.
Halfway through writing the book, I realized I needed to actually visit Sin City. So my husband and I took our daughter out of school (yes, bad parents that we are) and flew to the desert in June, where it was a scorching 105 degrees every day. But it’s a dry heat. Ha.
There’s something about the desert that I’ve always loved. It was too hot to hike, but we took a drive up to Red Rock Canyon, just outside the city. It’s spectacular; the red rocks rising high into the clear blue sky, the brown desert floor speckled with the green of Joshua trees and banana yuccas.
Yes, I’m a New Englander, but I feel so comfortable in the desert.
We also spent a lot of time at the Venetian, where I took myriad photos so I could remind myself of the ambiance. We ate at Bouchon, Thomas Keller’s French bistro. We wandered through the MGM, where we stayed, and I took in the gamblers at the slots and the table games. We saw the Bellagio fountains.
When I started writing my books, I loved setting them in New Haven, the city I was born in. When my editor wanted me to move out of my hometown, I was a little nervous. Could I do it?
It was a lot easier than I thought. And I got to go to Vegas.
If you were to pick a completely different setting for your next book, where would it be?
Karen E. Olson
SHOT GIRL, NAL/Obsidian, now available
THE MISSING INK, NAL/Obsidian, July