DEBORAH CROMBIE: This seems to be our double-barreled week! I wish these talented writers
who can manage to be two people at once would teach me their secret... Although today's guest, Peg Cochran, actually manages to be four people at once.
Meg London is the pen name for writer Peg Cochran. Peg grew up in a New Jersey suburb about 25 miles outside of New York City and now lives (on exile from NJ as she likes to joke) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
She has two cozy mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime— the Sweet Nothings Vintage Lingerie series, written as Meg London, set in Paris, Tennessee, and the Gourmet De-Lite series, under her own name, set in Connecticut. Her Cranberry Cove series for Berkley Prime Crime will debut in August 2015. She also writes The Lucille Series for Beyond the Page Publishing.
Here Peg gives us a hint--
PEG COCHRAN: To use an expression that has become something of a cliche…it takes a village to
create a writer.
My relatives were the first supporters to join my team. I had decided at the tender age of seven that I was going to be a writer (it’s been a long journey!). I figured that since I didn’t have the time to write an entire novel (second grade is pretty intense, you know), I would write a short play. Which I did. I then forced, er, coaxed, my cousins into performing the three minute skit at Christmas dinner. When it was over, and everyone in the family shouted, “Author! Author!” I was hooked.
My high school English teacher (another cliché, I suspect) was my first supporter outside the family. She very graciously worked with me after school on my short stories (which only further confirmed my extreme nerdiness to the rest of my class.) She told me my writing was very “visceral.” As soon as I got home, I ran to the dictionary and looked up the word “visceral” to confirm that that had been a compliment. Apparently it was, and I took that as a
My late mother-in-law was also a huge supporter. She would send me clippings about Janet Evanovich. Janet Evanovich! In my dreams, right?
I even “came out” at work about my writing and found an unexpected source of support in my boss who read my manuscripts and encouraged me to keep going. She also suggested I show them to John Russell, former art critic for the New York Times, and a very elegant writer, who was doing research at the art foundation where we worked.
He very kindly read several manuscripts and pronounced them “jolly good fun.” (I imagine they were compared to Kafka or Tolstoy or the other greats I pictured him reading.) He said he particularly liked the ending of one of my manuscripts (a jet ski chase scene), and that it reminded him of
something his good friend would have written. “Maybe you’ve heard of him,” he asked casually, “Ian Fleming?” Believe me, I was both shaken and stirred!
Finally I found enormous support in the on-line mystery writing community. Publishing is a hideously competitive business but instead of running into Tonya Harding type writers, I found wonderfully giving people without whom I never would have made it to publication. I won’t do the whole Oscar speech thing and name names, but you guys know who you are! Thank you!
Who has been supportive in helping you realize your dreams?
DEBS: Peg, I absolutely love your story. And the photos! I wish I had one of my--yes, cliched but true--tenth-grade English teacher, who read a poem I submitted for a class assignment and told me I had "talent."
But I did NOT have my work critiqued by a the former art critic for the New York Times, who just happened to be friends with Ian Fleming. Ian Fleming!!
And you, by the way, were adorable!
REDS and READERS, Peg would love to give away a copy of the upcoming A FATAL SLIP, and we'd both love to know who supported and inspired you.
(And one last thing--the winner of Daryl Wood Gerber's ( or Avery Ames's) book is Pat D. And the winner of Terry Shames's THE LAST DEATH OF JACK HARBIN is Joan Emerson. Pat D and Joan, if you will email me your addresses at deb at deborahcrombie dot com, I'll pass them along to the authors.
AND THE BEST NEWS, JUST IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T ALREADY HEARD--OUR OWN JRW HALLIE EPHRON IS NOMINATED FOR THE 2014 EDGAR MARY HIGGINS CLARK AWARD FOR HER NOVEL, THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN! We are over the moon, so raise your glasses--or your teacups--with us in a toast to Hallie!