Friday, August 30, 2013

The Secret Sarah

Jungle Reds: Let's just say we're in awe of Sarah Weinman. We are trying to be cool, but it is not working. (It is working for one of us, but we're not telling which one...)

Anyway. Yesterday Sarah gave us a bit of the scoop on her new book, TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES: Stories From the Trailblazers of Domestic Suspense. 

Say it with us:

Fourteen chilling tales from the pioneering women who created the domestic suspense genre…
In case you missed yesterday--where were you? --in Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives Weinman brings together fourteen hair-raising tales by women who — from the 1940s through the mid-1970s—took a scalpel to contemporary society and sliced away to reveal its dark essence. Lovers of crime fiction from any era will welcome this deliciously dark tribute to a largely forgotten generation of women writers.

She's the News Editor for Publishers Marketplace, where she works on Publishers Lunch, the industry’s essential daily read. She also writes the more-or-less monthly “Crimewave” column for the National Post.

A whole lot more about Sarah below...

but today, the Reds decided to explore the secret Sarah. By asking her cleverly posed questions (Hank, ever the researcher, got some of them out of the Neiman Marcus catalog. Do you believe that?) we will try to plumb the depths of the...we mean, well, here they are. 

Her answers are quite wonderful!  And at the end? You answer some of them--and we'll give away Sarah's new new book to a lucky commenter!

**You're penning an autobiography. What's the title?

The possibility of an autobiography is pretty remote at this point, but if that changes, the title would be NORMAL FEMALE, because when my mother was five months pregnant with me and got back the results of her amniocentesis -- it was the 1970s, and 36 was considered "older" for pregnant women then, no longer so much now -- and told her mother, she exclaimed, "A Normal Female!".

**Your idea of perfection?

78 degrees, sunny with a few clouds, a book in my hand, an iced coffee and a chocolate chip scone on a plate next to me. Rinse and repeat.

**What was the moment you got the inspiration for your new book?

I'm not sure there was a moment, but once I began writing the essay for the literary magazine Tin House that was the impetus for Troubled Daughters, I knew this whole idea of overlooked female suspense writers of a certain generation was one I needed to pursue for a very long time.

**What talent do you wish you had?

 Woodworking/carpentry. Would make so many things so much easier.

**What's your greatest fear?

Dying alone, my body undiscovered for weeks. I've seen the effects of that, literally, and it is horrifying. (Also: a fairly common New York City-based fear, I've learned.)

**If not your current occupation, what would you like to be?

Investigator/policy advocate for missing persons and long term unidentified individuals. But truth be told, I don't see myself leaving writing and journalism behind.



**What puts you in a creative mood?

A state of relaxation. Barring that, tenacity.

**What is your most treasured possession?

First edition of Shel Silverstein's LAFCADIO: THE LION WHO SHOT BACK. Which is not actually among my possessions at the moment, it's elsewhere.

**What is something about you that no one would guess?

I cannot wink. Don't have the right eye muscles to do it. Believe me, I have tried, and practiced, but it doesn't work.

**Favorite indulgence?

Chocolate chip scones. Sigh.

**If you could rewrite your history, what one thing would you change?

Sometimes I think my entire life is about rewriting past history.

**Which artist do you most admire?

Shel Silverstein. A career like his is impossible now.

**What would you do with one extra hour in your day?

Work, sadly. Or read.

**What is the first musical/concert you attended?

I have my mother's word for this, but again, when she was pregnant with me, she knew I was going to be a musical child because I kicked very hard in the womb while she attended a Mozart recital.

**Which single piece of art do you wish you'd created?

Sticking to crime fiction: Dorothy B. Hughes' IN A LONELY PLACE.

**How would you like to be remembered?

Kind, but fair.

**Secret junk food vice?

Seeing as I've already mentioned chocolate chip scones twice in this Q&A, I guess it isn't so secret....

**If you had to pick your theme song, what would it be?

"I Can't Touch the Sun", as sung by Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show.

Ed note--here's the song:

**What are you going to do next--right now?

After answering these questions? Updating the Domestic Suspense website, and then reading a few more pages of a forthcoming Sholem Aleichem biography.

Thank you, Sarah! Amazing.
Hank's three answers: The Juggler, Franz Marc's Deer in the Forest or Joni Mitchell's Carey, and Twizzlers.
How about yours? 
Remember, Sara's book to one lucky commenter!

More about Sarah Weinman:

Her articles, essays, and reviews have appeared in many print and web publications, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the New York Observer, the Los Angeles Review of BooksTin House, The Daily BeastMaclean’s, The Daily, The Guardian, The New York PostThe, the New Yorker’sPage-Turner blog, Quill & QuireTabletThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth”. She’s also appeared on C-SPAN’s BookTV, Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midmorning” and NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered to speak about crime fiction and the publishing industry.
Weinman’s short fiction has appeared in DUBLIN NOIR (Akashic Books), BALTIMORE NOIR (Akashic Books), DAMN NEAR DEAD (Busted Flush Press), EXPLETIVE DELETED (Bleak House Books), A HELL OF A WOMAN: An Anthology of Female Noir (Busted Flush Press), LONG ISLAND NOIR (Akashic Books) Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine.
Previously she reported on the publishing industry for DailyFinance and wrote “Dark Passages,” a monthly online mystery & suspense column for the Los Angeles Times, and “The Criminalist”, a monthly online column for the Barnes & Noble Review. Earlier in her career she was the Baltimore Sun’s crime fiction columnist and an editor for’s publishing industry news blog GalleyCat.
In a parallel life, she completed her M.S. in Forensic Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of New York in February 2004 and still harbors faint hopes of actually making use of her degree someday.
From October 2003 through January 2011, Weinman created and maintained the popular blogConfessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind,  which USA Today hailed as “a respected resource for commentary on crime and mystery fiction”. The blog has been mentioned in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the Ottawa CitizenLibrary Journal and the India Times Business-Standard.


  1. My three answers: Unknown; The Starry Night; Thin Mints

  2. Joan Baez and Bob Dylan on the Boston Common; Gustav Klimt—Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer II; Poutine, the regular kind.

    *I can't win any more books until I catch up on my reviews.

  3. My greatest fear is probably that something bad will happen to my loved ones.

  4. The Beatles in Dodger Stadium (my dad drove us and waited reading in the car); chocolate cruller; I hold a (long-ago) black belt in karate.

  5. Fascinating... Great questions, such interesting answers. But chocolate chip scones? May I just say: ICK. Someone once gave me a chocolate chip bagel. Double ICK. Chocolate chips belong in cookies.

    Gummy fish.

  6. Fascinating. Thank you, Sarah.

    Freddy and the Dreamers (honestly!) - an old German classical guitar - foreign service officer

  7. Hallie, I must disagree. Chocolate chips belong in, well, a lot of things not just cookies (chocolate chip muffins and scones are delicious).

    Sour Patch Kids or Skittles, for me.

  8. Oh, chocolate chip cookies are great, Hallie, no disputing that -- in fact, a batch of them were handed out at my book launch on Tuesday night. But I like scones because they aren't quite as sweet (and I don't get quite as headache-y after eating them.)

  9. Freddie and the Dreamers? CLASSIC! (I'm Telling you Now...)

    Chocolate chip bagels (think bread and chocolate) are lovely if you don't think about them as bagels.

    Theo there day at a restaurant, we had cookies for dessert. Cranberry, nut, chocolate chip. SOUnds awful, both they were GREAT.

    MAry, I don't get Skittles. DOTS, yes.

    Gummy fish, Hallie? YOu mean those red Swedish fish?

  10. LOrna Doone cookies.That's the answer to everything.

    Are they still as good as they were?

  11. Hank, I like Dots too - but they get stuck in my teeth (as do Swedish Fish) in a way that Skittles don't. As someone who was in braces for YEARS, I'm very sensitive to things getting stuck in my teeth! LOL

  12. A small gold bangle bracelet with a pale blue enameled flower (I just loaned to youngest daughter for her wedding -- it's old, blue, and borrowed). A gift from my grandmother.
    No pets.

  13. Hallie, I agree on the bagels and probably the scones (never tried them) but chocolate chips also belong in blond brownies which are, in the end, just a less greasy, less crunchy version of chocolate chip cookies.

    And then there was my grandmother's lost (and dearly missed) recipe for what is best described as chocolate chip, raisin, walnut mounds with chocolate glaze on top. She'd mail a case to me in the dorms, and all my friends on 4 Hewitt would line up outside my door.

  14. Chicago at Cincinnati Gardens, ‘Cupid and Psyche’ sculpture by the Italian artist Antonio Canova, pain au chocolat anywhere in Paris.

  15. Favorite secret snack....Good bread with generous blathering of butter.

  16. If I had an extra hour per day, I'd start learning to cook.

  17. Here are my three: Tostitos with M&Ms, spatial sense (I'm not sure that's really a talent, but it would be so helpful!), and a charm bracelet that was my grandmother's with charms from all over.

  18. FYI, this is a great book - I have a copy. And the chocolate chip cookies were not "handed out" at Sarah's launch, they were inhaled, pretty much.

  19. Giordano's pizza, from Chicago (sausage); Dogs. Lots and lots of dogs; Physical grace. Okay, spiritual grace would be good, too. So "grace."

  20. Holly Near's "Sky Dances," dogs and cats both, cranberry scones and Oxford Afternoon hot tea.

    Great interview!

  21. I share the same greatest fear, except I'll go one further: my dog and cat nibbling on my poor corpse..

    And, Shel Silverstein: Yes!

    The Osmonds :-) at the Oakland Coliseum, Pepperidge Farm Mint Milanos, any Rodin sculpture

  22. Rhys: Rolling Stones,(without parental approavel), The Kiss,Pims cookies.

  23. The ability to stay decluttered; I was among the top three girl checkers players in my hometown when I was twelve years old; The Music Man starring Bert Parks, on Broadway.

  24. Elton John's Your Song, pizza, my $30 wedding ring.

  25. Shenandoah on Broadway, Seattle's Top Pot doughnuts - especially the Pink Rainbow, (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding

  26. I don't think I've read any of the short stories in the book, but I have some full-length books by the authors, including Charlotte Armstrong, etc.

    Chocolate chips are great. I have a recipe to make a chocolate cake in a mug in the microwave. It's yummy! In addition to baking cocoa, it calls for chocolate chips (or a broken up chocolate bar) and then they melt and you have some nice gooiness in it. I got the recipe out of Reader's Digest magazine and I've seen similar recipes in other magazines. I'm sure there's a similar recipe on the Internet, if anyone's interested.

    I love chocolate, especially brownies. You'll have to have a chocolate chip party.

  27. Jars of Clay, peanut butter and chocolate, sleep

  28. Fear of flying(that loss of control thing), dogs, Haagen Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond. Not so crazy about chocolate chip cookies, I actually make them a lot to take places, I am not tempted to eat them.

  29. Idea of perfection: Sitting on a beach when it is 78 degrees and sunny.

    Talent I wish I had: Singing

    Favorite indulgence: fettucini carbonara

    First musical/concert you attended: Frank Sinatra

    If you had to pick your theme song, what would it be: Hey Jude

    What are you going to do next--right now?: Take a bottle of wine and a book by a Jungle Red author to the backyard and relax!

  30. Sarah— Downloading TROUBLED DAUGHTERS, TWISTED WIVES to iPad right now very excited about this book! It's about time. Truly.

  31. What a treasure you are, Sara. Thank you for your idiosyncratic mind, your persistence, your prodigious writing talent, for giving voice to otherwise forgotten terrific authors and so much more.

    Artist I most admire: John Waters

    My theme song: Love and Happiness by Al Green

    Title of my autobiography: Amazing Grace

    Favorite indulgence: Reading extravaganzas, spending entire days immersed in books

    Something about me no one would guess: I bought myself a motorcycle for my 19th birthday

    Talent I wish I had: Musical ability

    First concert I attended: Jefferson Airplane, at the Carousel Ballroom in San Francisco