Tuesday, August 15, 2017

David Handler--Hoagie and Lulu Are Back

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Is there anything more fun than a comeback story? For readers who have missed David Handler's charming celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag, Hoagie and his basset hound, Lulu, are back on the case. It seems that the Edgar award-winning series had some REALLY important fans, as David will explain!



DAVID HANDLER:  So Dan Mallory, executive editor of William Morrow, was having lunch one day with my literary agent, Dominick Abel, and I’m told the conversation went like this:

Dan: “Did you know that you represent my mother’s favorite author?”


Dominick: “Sara Paretsky?”


Dan: “No.”


Dominick: “Nevada Barr?”


Dan:  “No.”


Dominick: “Peter Robinson?”


Dan: “No.”


Dominick: “Okay, Dan, you’re going to have to help me out here.”


Dan: “David Handler.”


Dominick:  “David…?  I mean, David, certainly.  Very fine writer, Edgar winner…David?”
  


It turns at that Dan’s mother had been a huge fan of the series of eight novels that I wrote between 1988 and 1997 featuring the witty, dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful, neurotic basset hound, Lulu.  She loved the books so much she had even turned Dan on to them.  He recently informed me that he was fourteen when he read, and loved, his first Hoagy, “The Boy Who Never Grew Up.” What a remarkable coincidence, I told him.  That was the same exact age I was when I wrote it!
    

Anyway, back to the lunch. Dan asked Dominick if I’d ever considered bringing back Hoagy and Lulu.  Dominick gave him my standard response, which was that in our modern Internet age of 24-hour-a-day Tweets and viral videos there are no more celebrity secrets, certainly not the sort of juicy secrets that would make readers salivate over a star’s memoir and the failed novelist whose second career was penning those memoirs.  In fact, I’d already begun to see a major shift as far back as 1996 when America became riveted by the live, 24/7 cable news coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial.  The Hoagy series, I felt, belonged to a bygone era. It was over and out.
 

And so I moved on.  I wrote a thriller.  I wrote eleven books in my Berger-Mitry series, an extremely naughty mash-up of the traditional small town New England cozy, that takes place in the historic Connecticut shoreline village where I’ve lived for the past 30 years.  And I recently started another series featuring baby- faced 25-year-old New York City private eye Benji Golden, all 137 pounds of him, who is an ace at finding runaway teens.
 

But Dan Mallory, I quickly discovered, is not a man who takes no for an answer.  He gave a young editor at Morrow named Margaux Weisman a copy of my Hoagy Edgar winner, “The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald,” and asked her to read it.  She did, and reported that she’d gone ga-ga over all of the cool pop cultural references from way, way back in 1991 – when she was diapers – as would all of her friends.  Why didn’t I consider reviving the Hoagy series as period novels? 
 

Right away, I was intrigued.  After all, I did miss Hoagy.  And I really missed Lulu.  So I did some poking around on the Internet and, faster than you can say Joey Buttafuoco, I was transported right back to the year 1992.  Seinfield was on the air and Jerry still had hair.  Big hair.  It was a presidential election year, and candidate Bill Clinton, the former governor of Arkansas, seemed to be fighting off what became known as “bimbo eruptions” seemingly every week.  Speaking of big hair, remember Gennifer Flowers?  Remember Paula Jones? Remember who People magazine’s sexiest man alive was that year? Give up? It was Nick Nolte.
 

We did have personal computers.  I had a Mac LC, which was hooked up to a printer -- but not to anything else.  No modem.  No telephone dial-up.  There was no e-mail. American Online didn’t become popular until 1994 or so.  There were mobile phones for professional use but the wildly popular clamshell cell phone didn’t come along until 1996. The Internet arrived in 1997, Google in 1998.  Back in 1992 our idea of technology was the fax machine, churning, churning away.  That and a telephone answering machine. It seems like yesterday to me.  But it was a quarter-century ago.   Ancient history in techie world.
 

Soon I was more than intrigued – especially when Dominick phoned to say that Dan had just made me a two-book offer.  “Seriously, I would be absolutely nuts to turn this down, wouldn’t I?” I said to Dominick.  He agreed, in his understated British way.
 

And so here we are.  After a brief 20-year hiatus, Hoagy and Lulu are back on the scene in “The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes,” which takes them out to Hollywood in search of Richard Aintree, a famous American novelist who disappeared in 1970.  It also brings Hoagy back in contact with the first great love of his life, Reggie Aintree, a gifted poet who Hoagy knew long before he ever met his famous movie star ex-wife, Merilee Nash.
 

A number of people have asked me if it was hard to find Hoagy’s distinctive first-person voice again after so many years.  Not in the least.  I slipped right back into it.  He’s the same as ever, and yet he’s not -- because I’m not.  I’m 20 years older and while I won’t pretend to be wiser I am more battle scarred, wistful and insane.  I can’t begin to tell you how much fun I had writing “The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes.” I love this book.  In fact, I think it’s the best book in the series.  But that will be up to Dan’s mother to decide.  I’m just going to continue having fun writing the next one, “The Man Who Couldn’t Miss.”
 

So many fans have written me over the years asking when Hoagy and Lulu were coming back.  I politely responded each and every time that they weren’t coming back, because I truly believed they weren’t.  After all, things like this don’t happen in the publishing industry.

Except for when they do.


DEBS: Um, can I just say, Nick Nolte? Really? 

But, seriously, I love the title and the cover of THE GIRL WITH THE KALEIDOSCOPE EYES, and I can't wait to go back to the days of big hair (and no social media) with Hoagie and Lulu. 

Witty and dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag and his faithful, neurotic basset hound, Lulu, are back on the case in search of the legendary American author Richard Aintree, who vanished in 1970 and has never been seen again. Their hunt takes them out to Hollywood, where they find themselves caught up in a major star’s murder. It also brings Hoagy back in touch with Aintree’s daughter, Reggie, a gifted poet who was the first great love of his life.

And here's more about David, who describes himself as a recovering journalist, and is the author of nine novels about the witty and dapper celebrity ghostwriter Stewart Hoag, including the Edgar and American Mystery Award-winning “The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald.”  He has written eleven Dorset novels featuring the crime-fighting duo of New York film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut state trooper Desiree Mitry, as well as two featuring New York City private eye Benji Golden.  He is coauthor of the international bestselling thriller Gideon under the pseudonym Russell Andrews. He has also written extensively for television and films on both coasts for many years and was a member of the original writing staff that created the Emmy Award-winning sitcom “Kate and Allie.” He currently lives in a 200-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.


DEBS: Reds and readers, what do you miss about the 90s? Tell us and say "hi" to David!
   

49 comments:

  1. Happy Book Birthday, David . . . a new Hoagie and Lulu book is certainly wonderful news!

    As for the 1990s . . . remember Pogs? Beanie Babies? Tamagotchi and Tickle Me Elmo? Easy Bake ovens and American Girl dolls? [Sorry, my children were really into toys back then.]
    Mood Rings and Snap Bracelets fascinated my girls; they each had a drawer full of scrunchies.

    The telephone answering machine was a big deal in our house; we also had a computer and signed up for AOL . . . .
    There were moon shoes, too, which were a great hit with all the kids when we did our annual moon rock program in the school district . . . .

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was in college and on the internet in 1995. How my life has changed because of it. Heck, how all our lives have changed because of it. I also discovered ultimate Frisbee in the 90's while at college.

    And I can't be the only one who still watched Friends reruns any times he sees them on TV.

    However, my favorite TV show of all time is Babylon 5 - a show that was on from 1993 to 1998. So I have to go with that as my favorite things from the 90's.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mark, next time I see you, you and I are going to have a Bablyon 5 viewing marathon!

      Mary/Liz

      Delete
    2. Bab 5! Yes, a blast from the past. Still one of the best sci-fi shows.

      Delete
  3. Welcome back Hoagie and Lulu. And excuse typos. I blame the glare in here plos a sleepless night.

    Mostly I miss the nineties as the comoming out time of my life. I lived in Long Beach, in Belmont shore, on the sand. California days and nights for sure. I Red Rlizabeth George and Krishnamurti in equal amounts, and I thought my life was well nigh perfect. Until the Rodney king riots , until Oakland burned, until IK murdered Nicole and the job and relationship wee circling he drain and I landed in Oklahoma City to make hospisevhappen thete Then my world literally blew up. Down went the Murrahh Bildung, taking life as we knew it


    On hevothr hand, the world wide web spun into existent and change ny life forever

    Enuff. Can't se what I'm writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ann! are you fresh out of surgery? you're a trooper!

      Delete
    2. I have no memory of wring any of the above. I was gorked. And now I'm home. All is well

      Delete
  4. I can't say that I miss the 90s. I've never read this series by David; fortunately the library is getting a copy. I hope he's planning to write more Berger and Mitry books. My Mom and I really enjoy those.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Welcome David--this is such a great story and hope you sell many copies. I can totally picture the dial-up modem we had and the way I used to keep hard copies of website addresses I thought I'd like to visit. It's astonishing how things have changed. At least we were spared presidential tweets...(sorry, couldn't resist)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Roberta! Thrilled to be here. Who would have thought 25 years ago our government would be run by 4:00 am tweets?!

      Delete
  6. Wow. The 90s. I can't say that I remember the music, particularly, since I jumped into professional classical music with both feet around 1993 and didn't come up for air again until 2001. The music doesn't really change on the symphony side of life. I do remember my first telecommuting job, and how I had to explain to some folks that I could bring the work I did at home to the office on a floppy disc, and it would all be fine. I also did a fair amount of religious exploration back then, deciding that "pagan" was the handiest catchall category for where I land on that frontier. I began to try to develop my first garden. It was a happy time for me. Warren was healthy, I had steady work, I could afford to fix some things around the house that needed fixing, we did some epic traveling, and most of my older relatives were still alive. I stopped trying to cram myself into other people's expectations. It was all good.

    ReplyDelete
  7. congratulations on a new Hoagy and Lulu book! The nineties are a blur of kids, our last born in 1992. And technology: the first computer, when we had dial-up and AOL (and guess what? we still have the same email address), and cell phones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES to AOL! I still recall it with a shiver -- that squealing, sreeching modem; that greeting. The by-the-hour billing I remember less fondly.

      Delete
  8. David's very proud editor here -- Dan Mallory. (Even though I grew up in the nineties, I'm hopeless with the Interweb, so I don't know whether my name will appear above my comment. Also, what's a Google?) I wanted to wish David a happy pub day... and to note that The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes is part of a booming nineties revival, alongside Netflix's silly and sweet Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (set in the summer of 1991), new forthcoming seasons of Roseanne and Will & Grace on television, and much more. But Hoagy and Lulu have another arrow in their quiver, although I suspect that Lulu would probably chew on it: They got the their start in the 80s, with The Man Who Died Laughing in 1988. So these two straddle two of our most fondly remembered decades. There's such charm to that era, and I for one am delighted to revisit it in this new book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, and as for what I miss about the nineties: the clash between grunge (Nirvana, etc) and sparkle-bright pop (Spice Girls, Ace of Base) -- I was a sparkler, incidentally; movies set at the dawn of the Internet age (The Net, Hackers), where everyone's staring intently into screens the size of ovens crawling with neon-green code; signing up for AOL -- so exciting; the novels of Brian Jacques, who wrote a series about bloodthirsty woodland vermin; and Blockbuster Video.

      Delete
    2. Many thanks, Danno, for your insistence that Hoagy and Lulu are still relevant. I simply can't believe can't believe how many years have passed.. Seems like yesterday. And, just so you know, it took me ten minutes to figure out what a Google is and whether my name would appear above my replies. I miss Hoagy's Olympia portable.

      Delete
    3. I think it's so much fun that there is a nostalgia wave for the 80s and 90s. Life was certainly different back then. Thanks, Daniel, for bringing this series back. Did anyone else have a friend or relative who would never throw away an AOL disc because it must, somehow, be valuable? And David, why a Bassett hound?

      Delete
  9. NICK NOLTE? Musta been before the drunk-driving mugshot.

    Isn't it interesting how these career decisions get made! I often say I back into half of them. And I know Margaux! She worked with my editor at Morrow.

    There's so much I do not miss from the 90s. Where to start? Pantyhose. Definitely pantyhose.

    Looking forward to meeting Hoagie and Lulu this time around. How did you come up with their names??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hallie, it IS hard to believe that Nick Nolte was once a handsome leading man. Fast forward 25 years and he looks like Santa Claus on crack. If you are a vintage sitcom fan you might remember the famous sleepwalking episode of "The Honeymooners" in which it is revealed that the name of Ed Norton's childhood dog was Lulu. He keeps calling out her name: "Luluuuu..." I had a college friend whose name was Hoag and everyone called him Hoagy. And then of course there's Hoagy Carmichael. And cheese steaks. And now I'm getting hungry.

      Delete
    2. Cracking up at the idea of SC on crack... but yes, you nailed it. And you're reminding me how much I loved Art Carney. A comic genus. My LULU is Little Lulu... I was big fan of those comic books. And the TV cartoons. I know, I'm dating myself on beyond 1990.

      Delete
  10. What a story!

    Oh, the 90s. I graduated from high school in 1991; college in 1995. Married in 1996. I remember being at college when they rolled out this new-fangled thing called "e-mail." I had a Brother word-processor with a display and thought I was so cool. The computers in the computer labs ran MS-DOS, with the blue screen and WordPerfect; all papers were printed on dot-matrix printers. But I was on the newspaper staff, so I got to use the really cool Macs that offered different fonts and had a laser printer. The internet was the library. LOL

    I miss the mix tape. You know, finding all your favorite songs to put on one cassette for that really long road trip with your friends? Good times.

    Mary/Liz

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like a fun series. I might have to start at the beginning. I spent the nineties floating around dead-end jobs, and hitting dance clubs with some giant bar hair! MTV had changed my life. I loved new wave music. I'm not sure if that was more eighties or nineties! And sadly, I still have an old all address, although I finally created a gmail account!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is genius! Of course Hoagy and Lulu had to come back right where they left off! The 90's - scrunchies, combat boots, coffee houses, flannel shirts, Nirvana, Soundgarden - this was the decade of my youth! Thanks for bringing it back, David! I can't wait to read more Hoagy and Lulu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe me, Jenn, the pleasure was all mine!

      Delete
  13. HI! Are they re-issuing the early books in the series?
    During the nineties I sent three daughters off to college, taught Middle School English, and was happy I had the brilliance to give birth, in 1983, to daughter #4.
    We were in DC & I remember the Clinton Inaugurals -- it was so much fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks to the good folks at mysteriouspress.com and Open Road Media all of the earlier books are available as e-books in multiple formats.

      Delete
  14. How can we talk about the nineties without The X Files and Buffy??? I still miss them.

    The nineties were tumultuous for me. As my first book, got divorced, remarried, moved. Reinvented myself as a writer. Not to mention teenage daughter....

    I wrote that first book on my first computer on Word Perfect. Remember that blue screen?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I went on an X Files and Buffy binge on Netflix last winter. It was very satisfying, believe me. The only disconcerting part was how young everyone looked, especially Gillian Anderson.

      Delete
  15. Dan Mallory, thanks for dropping in!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I am SUCH a huge fan! Commenting from the road… But let me just say… Standing ovation! And if that story isn't proof of the craziness of the publishing world,… Well, it is.
    What I miss about the 90s? Easy. Shoulder pads! (Not the big ones of course) (You ssked....)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sending you a great big hug, Hank. xoxo

      Delete
  17. Happy Book Birthday, Dan. I remember the early 90's for many things, the most unforgettable: being a seasoned flight nurse; taking an unforgettable writing class by Warren Norwood, Gigi's spouse, that led me into a writers group where I met Deb; going to my first con--ArmadilloCon, and finding it was a great way to meet new people sharing my fascination with sci-fi and fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awww! Diane! One of my first memories of you was the day you walked into the Fort Worth Saturn dealership where Warren and I were waiting for an oil change. You were bored with your old car and bought a brand new one in some kind of flaming metallic copper. A sporty thing it was, and perfectly suited to your personality. Glad to know we're both still out here rockin'.

      Delete
  18. But I have to say, at one point, I had the worst haircut anyone has ever seen in the entire universe, bar none. Maybe that was the late 80s, though. I was maybe ahead of my time with bad hair :-)
    Plus, divorced, married again, and in 1991, a career making investigative story. I loved the 90s. But I still have way too many cassette tapes… What should I do with them?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha ha, cassette tapes! I had a lot of them too, many of which I had made from my extensive collection of 45s (those got sold to a strip club, but that's a different story). I finally realized that I no longer had anything on which to play the cassettes! So I looked through them and made a list of the songs that I still really wanted, and went out and found digital versions. I couldn't figure out any way to recycle the cassettes, so they're rotting away at the dump :-(

      Plus, where is the picture of that haircut?!

      Delete
    2. I had a haircut back then that might have rivaled yours, Hank, but the only photographic evidence of it has me heavily disguised by a trench coat and fedora. That's one memory I don't want to resurrect!

      Delete
  19. The main thing I remember from the 90s was living in Chapel Hill and having our sons go from six and four years old to sixteen and fourteen, by which time they were completely different people. A jazz fan, I was listening to Toshiko Akiyoshi's fabulous big band, along with Wynton, Herbie, and others. Other than early hip-hop, I missed out on a lot of the popular music. I was still reading more science fiction then than anything else, especially Gene Wolfe, Dan Simmons, Connie Willis. We had an extra phone line at the house, which I used to log in to work after listening to all those great noises as it connected.

    With all this, I somehow managed to miss David's series. The titles sound like a lot of fun, and I will see what I can find. Are you a fan of mondegreens? I hope at some point in this new book, a girl with colitis goes by.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't miss anything about the 90s. That was a bad decade for my family and we're very happy to have moved on.

    I read your books that were set in Connecticut and I loved them. (I'm a CT resident and always happy to read books set in CT.) However I had no knowledge of the Hoagie and Lulu books and I'm planning to look for them!

    DebRo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deborah, this was my first series and a lot of people were disappointed when I ended it and took up with Berger and Mitry so I hope you like it. I absolutely love this book.

      Delete
  21. Hilarious to think a novel set in the 90s is a historical period piece. I was a working drudge the entire 90s in Ohio. I loved Buffy and the X-Files and was totally hooked on Twin Peaks. Seeing the same actors with gray and white hair is killing me! The entire TP sheriffs department are codgers! I remember mad dashes to the store when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were available to buy for Christmas. Crazy. I will happily keep an eye out for Lulu and Hoagy. Sounds like my kind of story.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi David! I'm looking forward to adding your series to my TBR pile. The nineties were about college, entering the non-writing workforce, and dating my now-husband. I remember gathering with my dorm mates in our dorm living room to watch "Beverly Hills 90210" and "Melrose Place." I also remember the fall of the Soviet Union. I was a poly-sci major so that was especially timely. Congrats on your latest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Ingrid! Thanks! I look forward to Hoagy and Lulu winning you over!

      Delete
  23. I'm ancient, and the '90s seem like yesterday. I'm more likely to remember fondly the 1940s and '50s...the '60s, not so much. What I DO remember is every Hoagie, Lulu and Merilee book, which I still have on my bookshelves, and which I re-read the instant I heard about "The Girl With..." I quickly pre-ordered, and maybe today will be my lucky mail day? Thank you, David Handler, for bringing Hoagy back. Long may he weave his magic! Lenita Virtue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Lenita! I think you're going to find this one particularly satisfying since we find out some illuminating things out of Hoagy's past that we didn't know before. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for sticking with me!

      Delete
  24. This IS my day, David! Forget you, world, I have so good reading to do. By the way, I'm also heavily invested in Mitch and Desiree, so I hope we haven't seen the last of them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm heavily invested in Berger and Mitry, too, and hope to return to them. But right now I'm working on another Hoagy and I simply have no idea what tomorrow will bring.

      Delete
  25. Hoagie and Lulu - what a wonderful duo! Can't wait. The 90s. Wow, when did today become so, well, yesterday. Beanie babies, oh yes, I still have a few hanging around and AOL of course, followed by Earthlink so happening. Inline skates - those elbow pads itched, but they beat the alternative. Banana phones followed by brick phones and finally the tres chic flip phone. Analog went digital and the world was never the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can still remember that damned fax machine churning, churning away in my apartment. Who knew that it was merely transitional technology and would be gone as soon as they figured out how to attach PDF files to email?

      Delete