Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Kim Powers--Dig Two Graves

DEBORAH CROMBIE:  I love my college (Yay, Austin College! Go Roos!!!) I have some of the coolest fellow alums, including writer Kim Powers with whom I did a writing seminar at Austin College last year.

Here's a little bit about just how special Kim is:
Kim Powers is the author of the novel Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story as well as the critically acclaimed memoir The History of Swimming, which was both a Barnes & Noble “Discover” Selection and a Lambda Literary Award finalist for Best Memoir of the Year. He also wrote the screenplay for the festival-favorite indie film “Finding North.”

Powers is currently the Editorial Producer/Senior Writer for ABC’s 20/20, and has written for numerous ABC shows includingWhat Would You Do? with John Quinones, and primetime specials with Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters, Robin Roberts and Katie Couric. He won both Emmy and Peabody Awards for his 9/11 reporting for Good Morning America, and for the past two years has received the Edward R. Murrow Award with ABC News for Overall Excellence.

A native Texan, he received an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, and lives in New York City.
(He's not just a native Texan, he's from my town!)
And as if Kim didn't have enough writing credits, now he's written a cracking good mystery that's getting reviews like this, from  Publisher's Weekly--"A heart-tugging child-in-peril plot drives this thoughtful crime novel....Powers nicely depicts the pathos of Ethan’s situation...as the story progresses to a twist-filled resolution." 

Here's Kim to tell us more about Dig Two Graves

KIM POWERS: Thanks, Deborah Crombie and the Jungle Red Writers, for inviting me in today. I have to start by telling you a story: several months ago, I invited a young gay male friend (30 or so) to my house in Asbury Park, NJ (go Bruce!) for the weekend. We were watching DVDs and I was giving him the 101 on gay movie classics, none of which he had ever seen, or barely heard of: The Women, All About Eve, Some Like It Hot, Stage Door. You know, the essentials – for gay men and ALL movie lovers. We got to the fingernail scene in The Women and I said, “Now pay attention. This is important.” The famous “jungle red” scene came on. He said, “So that’s a thing? Jungle Red?” I said, “Yes, a very big important thing!” Educating young minds, one at a time... and passing on the legacy!

With that said, I thought I’d do something a little different. Not so much about writing my new thriller, Dig Two Graves, but selling it. (Plus it’s got some fun visuals! Stay tuned.) It’s the part of publishing they never tell you about: actually selling the book. I don’t mean to an editor at a publishing house; that’s hard enough, as a newbie. (Maybe harder than actually writing the book in the first place – and I used to think nothing could be harder than that.) No, I mean “selling it” to the book-reading public. Getting it in their hands. Launching a book, especially when it’s your first entrée into the mystery/thriller world, something you hope might become an on-going series. Which now leads to this question: what do eight semi-naked men, wearing only nylon running shorts, sneakers, and fake gold medals (six bucks for a dozen, made in China) have to do with selling a book? Actually, a lot.

Let me start at the beginning, some ten years ago. (Build suspense!) I had just published my first book, a memoir called The History of Swimming – that had very little to do with swimming. There was water in it, and my fear of swimming, and a suicidal tumble into a river; there was a college guy in a speedo, and there was my tortured twin brother, who had disappeared. The book is about my equally tortured and over-the-top journey to find him.

And despite how serious the book was, how many times do you get to celebrate your first book being published – and the years and years it took you to get that point? Once, and only once. No matter how many times you take that journey from typeset proofs to galleys and ARCS and finally hardbound books, nothing can top that first time. (Sort of like sex – only a lot better, in my humble opinion.) I think part of my fantasy of “being a writer” even came from Carrie Bradshaw and the Sex and the City TV series: you write a book, you throw a big party, even if you spend as much on the party as you made selling the book. I had read about a new boutique hotel that had just opened in mid-town Manhattan; one of its bars was built around a swimming pool. My mind started working. What if I rented that space and hired male models in speedos, to go along with the title of the book? (Word to the wise: finding speedos in late October is not an easy thing to do.) The guys would lounge on inflatable rafts in the pool as the party began, “reading” the book, then socialize and mingle and pose for photo ops with the guests. (But pre-social media being the machine it is today, there weren’t many places for those photos to go.)

Well, the party was such a hit that people immediately started teasing me about what my next book and party would be: The History of the High Dive? The History of Spandex? Turns out there wasn’t much of an opportunity for semi-clad male models in my next book, Capote in Kansas, a sort of “fantasia” about the legendary friendship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee. Actually, I’m sure there WERE semi-clad men in Truman’s life, but at that point, I was still paying for the first party. By the time Dig Two Graves was published, this December, I was ready to be a party planner again. And now I had the perfect new vehicle for it.

Even though I consider all three of my books to be mysteries in some way – something tragic happens, and someone tries to figure out why – Dig Two Graves is a dyed-in-the-wool thriller. Ethan Holt, a one-time Olympic gold medal winner of the Decathlon, leaves the world of the body for the world of the brain, and now teaches classics at a small New England college. It’s always been his first love: the study of ancient cultures and languages, where passions seem bigger; it’s what got him interested in the Olympics in the first place. When his teenage daughter is kidnapped, he begins getting ransom demands not for money, but to perform modern-day versions of the 12 Labors of Hercules. (“Hercules” was his nickname during the Olympics.) He’ll have to call on that muscle memory from decades earlier to save her – but use his brain to discover who’s behind it all. 

I had to top my three paltry models from the History of Swimming party, and the answer was right there in my new plot: this time I’d have TEN male models -- to represent the ten different events of the Decathlon. Genius, right? I started joking I planned the party first, then wrote the book around it. After all, who doesn’t like a little male flesh, after solving a case? (As the character Coco (Irene Cara) in the movie Fame says, “Ya’ gotta give ‘em some visuals.”)

I used an online modeling agency to put out my casting call, trying to replicate the body type of a Decathlete as much as possible. (6’1” or 6’2”; 180 pounds to a little over 200, just in case you’re wondering.) I would supply them with running shorts and a gold medal; I even taped the name of the specific event each one did on the back of his medal, in case someone asked them!

Everything was so carefully planned, and then – disaster. Only eight of the ten models showed up! I was devastated. After all the careful planning of my theme – decathlon, ten guys, no more, no less – the party was about to go down the drain. At one point, one of the model’s friends showed up – a good-looking guy with a great body, sausaged into a tight t-shirt – and I almost said, “Strip! Put on this medal! You’re hired! Now work it!”

But I didn’t. I took a breath – and a sip of the party’s signature drink, the “Dig Your Own Grave Daiquiri.” (Theme drinks are important too!) And I calmed down. Nobody was counting to see if there were ten models or not. Nobody was wondering what they had to do with my book in the first place – although I did make a speech and explain. Nobody was doing anything except having a good time. My beloved ABC colleague Diane Sawyer showed up and gamely posed with the guys, holding a copy of the book, of course. It became the most posted and re-posted photo of the night.

So did that party do anything to help sell the book? Who knows. All I know is this: I got a lot of mileage out of the pictures. Some people came from book blogs, who otherwise might not have come, just because the party sounded like so much fun. I got to share something I’m very proud of with my best friends. After all those years of hard work, of literal blood sweat and tears, I wanted to do something silly and fun to celebrate. After so much tension and tragedy in Dig Two Graves itself, I wanted to do something that said, “Not really. You all know what a goof I am.” Lesley Gore said it best, “It’s my party and I can spend if I want to.” Well, she sang something like that. There was already enough crying in the book; I didn’t need to do anymore.

If there’s any take-away from this, I think it’s just about how hard and creative we all have to be, as writers. And how much work there is to be done – after the writing is done. With fewer publishing companies having the resources or budgets to launch a book, it’s on our own shoulders now to do the work. And it can be done – with so much social media now at our fingertips. (Shoulders, fingertips. I’m sensing a “body parts” theme here.)

I want people to get to know my characters Ethan Holt and his daughter Skip, and the sassy detective Aretha Mizell, who throws proper procedure out the window when it comes to doing whatever she has to do, to save a teenage girl. It’s strange, almost like wanting your friends to like your other friends, when they meet them for the first time. You don’t want them to think, “How could he waste his time on people like that?” For so many of the Jungle Red Writers, who write ongoing series, you’ve passed that test. People obviously DO like your friends – your characters – and keep coming back to them, to see what they’re up to next.

That’s where I am now, with Dig Two Graves just having come out: waiting to see if people like my “friends” Ethan and Skip and Aretha. If they want to spend more time with them. I know I do. 

So writers and readers, I leave you with this question: what makes a great mystery book series? Why do you come back, time after time, to revisit your favorites? And for the series writers here: do you ever have book ideas that don’t naturally fit in with your established characters or their world? Do you bend it to work – or launch a new series or a one-off? And when does a publisher decide to make a single book a series? Do they wait to see how sales do on the first one?

But in the meantime: how do I top that Decathlon party? My next book (already written, soon to go out to publishers) has nothing to do with athletes or great looking guys in spandex. It’s about old movies from the ‘60s. Sean Connery impersonators, anyone?

Here's more about Dig Two Graves--

In his twenties, Ethan Holt won the decathlon at the Olympics and was jokingly nicknamed "Hercules"; now, in his late thirties, he's returned to his ivy-covered alma mater to teach, and to raise his young daughter Skip as a single father. After a hushed-up scandal over his Olympics win and the death of his wife in a car accident five years ago, Ethan wants nothing more than to forget his past. Skip is not only the light of Ethan's life—she is his life. Then, Skip is kidnapped.
A series of bizarre ransom demands start coming in that stretch Ethan's athletic prowess to its limits, and he realizes with growing horror that they are modern versions of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, demanded in tricky, rhyming clues by someone who seems to have followed every step of Ethan's career. As images from Ethan's childhood become an onslaught in his mind, he finally comes face to face, literally, with the secrets of his past and understands who the kidnapper is. Drawn to the arena of their final showdown, the Twelfth Labor—a cemetery where the dog Cerberus guards the gates of Hell—"Hercules" must do final battle with his nemesis one last time, to free his daughter, and solve the mystery of the childhood that has haunted him all his life. 

DEBS:  Kim is giving away a copy of Dig Two Graves to one of our commenters, so REDS and readers, chime in and tell us what you think makes for a good mystery!

To learn more about Kim, please visit his website: kimpowersbooks.com

And just for fun, here I am with Kim and our very talented fellow alum Robert Stikmanz at Austin College, 2015. (I, of course, am talking...)

Oh, and I want to go to Kim's next book launch...


Joan Emerson said...

I think Kim wins the award for most inventive book launch parties!
What makes a good mystery book series for readers? I think there is an intangible something that "clicks" between book and reader, probably because of believable characters and a story that pulls you in and leaves you wanting to know more about the people, the place, the events.
I'm looking forward to reading "Dig Two Graves" . . . .

Gram said...

I just put this one on hold at my library. Thanks Reds!

Karen in Ohio said...

You are my kind of party person, Kim! The launch party is as inventive as the book premise, and that's saying something.

An "Old Hollywood" party would be exciting for the next book, complete with slinky gowns, jewels, and elbow-length gloves. Why should the boys have all the fun? Unless the male models were in drag.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

This is SUCH a good book! I am reading it right now, and I am riveted. And what a terrific premise. Grr. I think a good nthirlled has a premise you wish you would have thought of. And yours is it.

But let's cut to the more important part. (Kidding.) Diane Sawyer. Is she wonderful or what? (We actually dated the same person---not at the she time!-at one point in my life. Hey, the 70's. )

And parties. It is such fun to celebrate! But I keep thinking--if I used all that money and just bought books…might that be better?

.Kim are you still juggling your TV job?


Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Kim, we all want invites to that party. And Hallie knows something about Old Hollywood--she should be a consultant! If you're this creative with a party, I can only imagine how interesting your books must be.

I love writing series, as with each book I understand the characters better. And I think that's why I read series too--watching those people grow and change as they're challenged...

So glad you're visiting today!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Welcome, Kim! LOVE the idea of special cocktails... Kim, I'm in NYC and if you ever want to talk about creating party-specific cocktails, I'm your gal! Adore this quote: "It’s strange, almost like wanting your friends to like your other friends, when they meet them for the first time." I feel the exact same way -- thank you for putting that feeling into words.... Off to catch up on your books (which sound fantastic....adore Truman Capote...)

Kristopher said...

A strong series is all about the characters. Of course, one needs good plots to go with them, but for most of the series I read regularly, those plots spring from the characters themselves. If I think to myself - this could have only happened with Jane/Jake, Maggie, Russ/Clare, Gemma/Duncan, Hayley, or Lady Georgiana, then the author has done their job.

If that then leads to a fabulous party, all the better!

Hallie Ephron said...

I'll bet you have standing room only, whatever party you throw for that book launch. The biggest turnout I ever got was at an ice parlor in Cambridge, SRO. I love the title, Dig Two Graves - I'll be looking or it

Mary Sutton said...

Sounds like one heck of a party, Kim. And yes - old Hollywood. I can see it.

It's definitely the characters and seeing them grow that makes a series "work" for me as a reader.

FChurch said...

Old Hollywood glamour? Hmm, must have been some pool boys lounging around those Hollywood swimming pools....

Ethan sounds like an interesting character--former Olympic athlete turned academic? Lots of story potential there to keep a series going, I would think.

Sometimes when I pick up a new book to read, I won't be aware that it's the first in a series--like Julia's In the Bleak Midwinter. And this may sound obvious, but it's the quality of the writing that will make me rush out to look for more or wait impatiently for the next book to come out. A writer who can flesh out his/her characters--the major ones and the minor ones--so that I want to know more about them, whose dialogue reveals not just plot, but character, whose setting captures the nuances of a time and place so that I feel I could visit it and recognize it, who creates a strong plot that keeps me turning the page and up late to finish. Oh, and some humor goes a long way and I personally like a bit of romance, too. Just like in life!

Susan Elia MacNeal said...

Trying to think of how I can incorporate half-naked men into my next book party....

Deborah Crombie said...

Hi Kim! So lovely to have you here today! And what good questions. For me there are so many things that go into making me want to pick up another book in the series. Characters I like and become invested in are probably tops, but there is also the quality of the writing, the setting, the whole atmosphere of the book. Is the fictional world a place I want to revisit?

I loved your characters in Dig Two Graves and would most definitely like to see them again. But tell us more about this "old movies from the 60s" book? Fiction? Non-fiction?

Susan is definitely your girls for the Old Hollywood cocktail recipes, and I'll volunteer to bartend!

Julia said...

Oh, Kim, PLEASE invite the Reds to your next party! I vote for a GOLDFINGER themed party: you can have Goldschläger cocktails and people portraying Bond, Jill Masterson and Pussy Galore - something for every taste.

I agree with everyone who says characters are the key to an enduring series. A good story is important, good writing is important, but first and foremost, readers have to love the characters.

Julia said...


WWII Pin-up boys?

Kim Powers said...

You Jungle Reds are the best! You all say you want to come to my next party, but I want to come to YOURS! I've never received such a warm and witty welcome - and I have to confess I've been nervous about trying to throw myself into the mystery writers community, because I've felt like I didn't have the goods to back it up!

And what I said in the essay is so true -- silly maybe, but true -- we all work so hard on our books, not just writing them but publishing them - that throwing your own book party is one way to guarantee at least ONE night of fun before the next wave of hard work begins -- getting the book to readers, or starting the next book in the series.

I'm going to try to figure out how to post a video of my first book party, for The History of Swimming. It's the one that started the ball rolling, so to speak.

And one last little tid-bit: the main ingredient in my specialty cocktail was blood orange! Plus a LOT of vodka!

Susan said...

I lean strongly toward series in my reading, actually. There are quite a few I follow. I really like the feeling that I am gradually becoming acquainted and eventually friends with the characters. I like it when there is enough backstory to make me actually appreciate the character as a person -- to care what happens in the character's life, beyond just solving the mystery. I also like to see the character grow in believable ways.

And I have been known to dump a series after investing in several books if I feel the author is not being true to the characters he/she has established. There have been a few times when I really felt that the author didn't follow where their character wanted to lead because it would have done away with a central conflict or drama in their lives. But you know, sometimes people actually do get the guy/girl of their dreams and go on with an interesting life. Being in a happy relationship doesn't preclude being interesting. (Note, I don't mean every character needs to get the happy relationship. I just mean, don't suddenly veer away from it for no organic reason.)

Your books all sound fascinating, and will be added to my TBR list!

Kim Powers said...

Let's see if this works - a link to Youtube that has a video from that first book party for The History of Swimming. Budgets were smaller then - just three guys!


Kim Powers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deborah Crombie said...

Yes, Kim!! Love the video! They guys in the Speedos weren't bad either... :-)

Kim Powers said...

Looks like you have to copy the link into your tool bar to get it to play - having my "IT" guy help me with a better embed, but in the meantime, a few more responses:

Hank asked if I was still at my "day job" - at ABC. Yes. I began here some 19 years ago, as a writer for Good Morning America. I had never gone to "J school" - journalism school, like most of my colleagues. I didn't know the first thing about the rules of news. Maybe a good thing, in retrospect. One of my first assignments was to write a 20 second intro to an Eddie Murphy movie spot. All I knew is that journalism was supposed to be the truth, so I wrote this: "Even though Eddie Murphy has not had a successful movie in a while, he still keeps trying." The truth, right? What could be wrong?

My boss called me in - my second day on the job - asked me if I liked it and wanted to keep it. "Yes, of course," I replied. Then she said, "Then live TV 101: we don't insult the guests, right before they appear." Lesson learned.

The most valuable lesson I learned in my 8 or 9 years, besides "don't insult the guests", was about suspense. I wrote a lot of teases at the end of segments, signally what was coming up next. It had to be suspenseful enough to get guests back after the commercial break. Some kind of question, that demanded an answer - a minute or two later. That - believe it or not - is how I learned to write mystery!

Now, I'm the senior writer for 20/20, and a big part of my job is writing and producing the "open" as it's called, that's at the top of the show. The sort of movie-trailer that shows the audience what's coming up - and hopefully whets their appetites for watching it. In essence, a little short film in two minutes, with all the highest moments and big drama I can squeeze in. (Hank - as a fellow tv journalist, you can relate - but at least I don't have to look fabulous doing it, like you always do! No one ever sees me behind my computer screen!)

Sometimes I wish I had the freedom to work on my books all the time, without the necessity of a day job. At least now, that just isn't in the cards for me. But at the same time - and I pose this to all the writers on JRW - maybe I'd go a little stir crazy doing that 24/7. Working by myself, having to have that discipline to deliver on time. I don't know how you come up with plot after plot - I hand it to you!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, absolutely, Kim! Writing for TV is the best-ever practice for writing suspense..it's EXACTLY the same thing .Except you have to make stuff up. Which is sometimes harder, but sometimes easier, right?.

My news director will say: Can;t you find a better sound bite, one that's a full sentence? And I'm like--NO! That's what the person actually SAID! (Sometimes I'll ask an interview question again, or even again-again, until someone gives a coherent answer.)

At least in fiction, they'll say it the way you want them to.

And promo writing, definitely. What's the most interesting thing about this--and how can I tempt you to stick around and find out what it is?

ANd when you quit your day job--if you ever do, and why would you?--I am betting your sense of deadline will never leave you. xoox

Kim Powers said...

Try this - I think it's an automatic, clickable link: don't want to deprive you of those brave boys in their speedos!


Kim Powers said...

I love talking to you all - so just shut me up when I overstay my welcome! A few more things:

The "writing" at GMA consisted of writing those intros, of course, but more doing a pre-interview with the guest on the phone. Reading research, writing up a briefing note on it, and coming up with the questions that the anchors would ask the guest. Because I was such a pop culture and movie and TV fan, I was the go-to guy for most of the celebrity interviews. (Give me that over writing politics or hard news any day!) Got to talk to so many great people that way, and I wanted to give a shout out, Hallie Ephron, to your wonderful sister Nora. I was at GMA when Diane Sawyer was anchor there, and of course you know what a buddy she was to Diane and Mike Nichols, but I did several "pre-interviews" with her on her various movies over the years, and she was always so kind and funny to me -- this little kid from McKinney, TX! (Where Deborah now lives!)

Deborah, you asked about the next book - the movie book! Can't wait to see what life it has; it's something I've been working on for some eight or nine years now. And it's actually got a GMA tie-in. It's fiction, but very autobiographical. Read how one writer described something lately as "not memoir, but fiction with a lot of memory." That's this book - currently called "Rules for Being Dead" -- part of what I jokingly call my "Cemetery Suite," along With "Dig Two Graves."

It's about a little eight year old boy -- let's call him, hmmm... ME - whose mother dies unexpectedly. Nobody will tell him how, so he begins playing detective to find out (shades of my obsession with Nancy Drew.) Every week, he goes to the local movie theater -- the Ritz in downtown McKinney - and watches whatever is on - from all the James Bond, Matt Helm, In Like Flint movies, to Alfie and A Patch of Blue and My Fair Lady and even Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? No one cares that he's too young to be watching adult material. He starts putting together a weekly scrapbook with his movie ads clipped from the local newspaper - and I even went back to that very same paper, the McKinney Courier-Gazette, to get those ads. They're in the book.

At the same time, his dead mother herself is floating around in the either, trying to figure out what happened to her - and to see her last moments on earth. Was it murder, suicide, or something else? Sort of like The Lovely Bones. I had grown up thinking I knew what had happened to my mother - but after I did an appearance on GMA promoting The History of Swimming, I got an email from an old grade school teacher telling me something about my mother's death, that I had never known before. And that changed everything!

My agent is taking it out to sell in just a few weeks.

Pretty creepy, right? Anyway, that's the new book. Maybe characters dressed up like actors from those kitschy old 60s movies, all the Beach Party Bingos!

Margie Bunting said...

Kim, this is a great example of how a guest blog can convince readers they want to read your book! I've seen it at Barnes & Noble and it looked intriguing, but this article made me put it on hold at the library. Of course, it is evident you are a real professional at promotion--wish I could have attended that launch party!

I am not a writer (although I am on the Board of my local Sisters in Crime chapter), but in 2015 I read 170 books, about half of which were mysteries, so I know what I like. And what attracts me equally are, of course, likeable characters, an engaging plot (I'm not someone who tries to solve the mystery before the ending, though), and something I probably haven't read about before--could be idiosyncrasies or interests/avocations of the main or subordinate characters, unusual setting, unexpected twists, etc. I love series entries, but one-offs also attract me and often provide the greatest payoff in originality.

By the way, your next book sounds equally fascinating!

Congratulations on the 5-star rating on Amazon. If I win a copy, I'll add to the 13 reviews (hint, hint). Seriously, best of success with your books.

Pat D said...

Oooh. Thanks for the link to your party. The speedo boys party must have been a real hoot. The hero of your new book sounds like a winner to me, an irresistable mixture of classics professor and athlete. And with his own secret back story. Better and better! I want to read his story! Now, your sixties movies book. You wonderfully narrowed down the time period with mention of those movies. We were in the midst of the spy craze and the British invasion influence. Mondrian dresses and go-go boots? Men in 3 piece suits or tweeds and turtlenecks? Hmmm. I know. . . men in wetsuits with white dinner jackets on underneath. Don't forget the spearguns.

Kim Powers said...

It's so much more fun to throw a party than write a book! That said - I so appreciate all the great comments - they're making me feel more and more like keeping my characters going. At one point, at the end of the book, I had contemplated an ending that was still unresolved -- one bad guy had been found, but another one - the true puppet master -- was still out there somewhere. Automatically leading to a second book.

But not sure that was going to happen at the time, I resolved it, and hopefully left readers wanting to spend more time with those characters -- not frozen in time, but maturing (hopefully) - or at least aging with the rest of us.

We have Ethan Holt, my hero - who would have ongoing access to mysteries that are so particular to college campuses - and all those over-heated young minds! And we have a character that hasn't been mentioned a lot, my Detective Aretha Mizell. (Ethan says to her, "How'd you feel being cursed with a name like Hercules?" She says back to him, "You're preaching to the choir. I'm stuck with ARETHA." She's a sassy woman with mysteries of her own, but a way to get us into the police department and official police procedure. And talk about a sea change: in the early drafts, "she" was a cranky old man. Now, after watching a few too many episodes of How to Get Away with Murder, she was reimagined as my version of Viola Davis, complete with an ever-changing array of wigs. (Plus a few other characters I can't mention without spoiling some surprises.)

I've just finished a blog called "Campus Confidential" for another site, about why college campuses are such fertile grounds for murder mysteries - starting with one of my favorite series, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse books. In addition to so many of the ongoing series and wonderful characters of our Jungle Red hosts -- and I'm holding Deb Crombie to a personal tour of her Duncan and Gemma haunts -- I'll mention a few others I like: Laurie King's Mary Russell series, Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. Of course, loves me some Nordic noir and the late Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander.

Kathy Reel said...

Oh, dear Reds, how I have missed you all while I was in the hospital with my husband! We are now at home, where he is recuperating and letting his hand heal. Just as a quick reminder, he was in the direct path of a meeting of gunpowder and kerosene heater. If anyone needs some information on how a burn unit operates, a helicopter crew packs a patient in a small helicopter, sitting with someone you love with a breathing tube in their throat. You get the picture. Hey, maybe I've finally found a starting point to write.

What a great post here today to greet me! Kim Powers, you are the poster person for "go big or go home," and I love it. I'm a theme fan myself, and the inclusion of a theme drink, Dig Your Own Grave Daiquiri, is genius, but then, I am guessing you probably are a genius, what with your illustrious career and previous books. I really can't believe that I haven't read the one about Harper Lee and Truman Capote. It may have to do with my displeasure with Truman Capote over his dearth of gratitude toward Ms. Lee concerning In Cold Blood, among other lapses of loyalty. The History of Swimming sounds fascinating, too, as I often wonder how two people in the same family, let alone twins, turn out so differently. And, of course, being an avid mystery fan, Dig Two Graves and Ethan Holt are of great interest. The labors of Hercules is a unique vehicle to guide a mystery, and I can't wait to see if Ethan is up to the task(s).

Being a book blogger, I enjoy being involved with promoting books for authors, and my mind is always running along the lines of how an author could get their book out there. If I were a younger player, I would probably be interested in a PR career in books. Ah well, I will do my bit as I can now. If I can overcome an awe of your brilliant career, Kim, I'd love to have you come visit my blog sometime. Now, Sean Connery! That's a load of promotion possibility!

Kait said...

I definitely want an invite to your next party. Sounds like way too much fun to miss. Loved Capote in Kansas, now I'm so looking forward to Dig Two Graves.

Deborah Crombie said...

Kathy Reel, so glad to see you back here! We've missed you! And so glad Phil is home and doing well.

Kim, Rick rode his bike to the Ritz every Saturday afternoon for the double-feature matinee:-) Small towns (as it was then, anyway) are such fertile ground for stories, aren't they?

Kim Powers said...

Wanted to check in one last time, and thank the Jungle Red Writers - and their readers - for being such great hosts to me today. Had an absolute blast answering questions and sharing stories. But I'm "here all night" so keep asking away. And please check my website at kimpowersbooks.com for more upcoming posts.

Debs, I loved that your husband Rick used to go to the Ritz! It was the only game in town back in my childhood and I'm embarrassed to say how long ago that was - and how cheap the tickets were! Eudora Welty once said -- and I'm paraphrasing -- "if you can survive a Southern childhood, you have enough material for a lifetime of writing!" And she's right - so many of my stories have found their way into my books, whether I was writing autobiographically - or about a classics professor with a kidnapped daughter in Massachusetts!

I had gone through several titles for the book: The Labors of Hercules (gave too much away); The Language of the First Time (sounded too much like a bad porn film); and then finally Dig Two Graves, which I found in a Confucius quote: "When first you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves." !!!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Kim! Crossing fingers..let us know instantly, okay? And let me know whatever i can do…xoxoo