HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Yes, the theme of the week. Great ideas!
Today the wonderful Ritter Ames has SUCH a great idea—and it's also a great excuse.
How about: It's not sittin' around watching movies. It's--RESEARCH.
(And she's giving away a book! Another great idea.)
It’s a Marathon Weekend—a Movie Marathon, that is
I love smart characters. In particular, I’m a sucker for old Cary Grant movies where the dialogue is fast, the humor is faster, and the lead actor figures a way around every obstacle—no matter how things are going. I also love television shows like “Castle” and “Scorpion,” where you have a little humor mixed with the drama, and unabashedly intelligent people to figure out whodunit or how to meet an objective, all while they acknowledge the talents of the others. Sometimes a bit grudgingly, sure, but still…
One of the reasons the titles I listed are favorites of mine is because there aren’t just strong male roles, but strong female roles as well. When Katherine Hepburn punches Cary Grant in the nose in Philadelphia Story, you have no doubt she could do it in real life—even if she’s wearing a designer gown at the time.
And while Beckett is a cop in “Castle” and Rosalind Russell was a reporter in His Girl Friday, both women are definitely respected and tops in their fields—regardless of the fact that the eras they lived in are more than half a century apart.
If the story has some funny—but natural—scenes, and quick dialogue is bantered between the male and female protags…Well, all the better.
Strong women—and the smart men who appreciate them—are a weakness of mine. As an author I can claim it’s research when I hunker down for TMC movie marathons, or stream back to back Avengers episodes so I can watch Diana Rigg take on any villain with those iconic kicks in those lovely iconic boots. And if she does have any difficulty, John Steed is right there to drop his bowler and toss his walking stick into the mix. Oh, yeah, and if the male actor has a British accent, well, I’m kinda hooked for sure then. Don’t even get me started on gadgets or James Bond.
This is one of the joys of being a mystery author. What looks like someone goofing off and watching movies to others is actual research. And if I’m sitting with my feet propped up on my desk, computer in my lap, and watching YouTube videos—well, I’m brainstorming locations.
Don’t believe me? Neither does my husband a lot of the time. But no matter. Let’s check out what’s on AMC and Netflix. I’m predicting a movie and television series marathon in the near future. It’s all research—really—I promise!
What do you do under the guise of “getting the job done” that others may not agree with the way you classify the task?
HANK: Ha! I love this. Well, sitting on a train and looking out the window. That is definitely not doing nothing. Sometimes I’ll lie awake in bed, staring at the (too dark to see) ceiling. “What are you doing, honey?” Jonathan will whisper. Writing, I say. And most absolutely definitely, watching movies. Reading the paper. Eavesdropping. And on and on…all research! How about you?
Ritter is giving away a signed copy of either Counterfeit Conspiracies or Marked Masters (winner's choice) to a lucky commenter on the blog. The contest closes at midnight on Feb. 20th
ABOUT THE BOOKS: Laurel Beacham may have been born with a silver spoon in her mouth, but she has long since lost it digging herself out of trouble. Her father gambled and womanized his way through the family fortune before skiing off an Alp, leaving her with more tarnish than trust fund. Quick wits and connections have gained her a reputation as one of the world’s premier art recovery experts. The police may catch the thief, but she reclaims the missing masterpieces.
Ritter Ames is the USA Today Bestselling author of the Organized Mysteries and the Bodies of Art Mysteries. She lives atop a very green hill with her husband and Labrador retriever, and spends each day globetrotting the art world from her laptop with Pandora blasting into her earbuds. Often with the dog snoring at her feet. She’s been known to plan trips after researching new books, and keeps a list of “can’t miss” foods to taste along the way. Visit her at www.ritterames.com.