Shortly after I bought my first computer, I discovered the joy of Usenet and newsgroups. One of the newsgroups I read regularly was on the topic of mysteries, and this is where I first met this week's featured author, Ann Parker. She was working on an historical mystery set in the old mining town of Leadville, Colorado, and I was inspired to tell her about searching for old ghost towns here, and that my favorite mining town was Bisbee, Arizona. (Still is.)
I've since gone on to read all four of her Silver Rush mysteries, centered around saloon owner Inez Stannert in the 1880s. Her latest, Mercury's Rise, is an award winner, and it's wonderful to see all Ann's hard work and talent be recognized.
There! If that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, you're on your own!
Now let's get to the really fun part-- the interview!
What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?I got very excited at your first question and actually went upstairs to rummage through my "way-back" bookcase to find THE book. It's The Tall Book of Mother Goose, copyright 1942, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. This book came out long before I was born, so it must have been handed down from a cousin or some such. I loved the beautiful illustrations first, before I could read. At some point a little later on, I taught myself to count and recognize numbers using the page numbers. And when I finally could read, the whole world of poetry opened up. I still get a great feeling of "resonance" looking through the book.
[Click on Ann's photos to see them in larger sizes in new windows.]
Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time?
Well, I don't have a lot of free time these days as I take on projects as a contractor/ consultant/very-part-time-employee for four or five organizations (mostly science writing, technical proposal writing, that kind of thing). Activities that put money in the bank have to take precedence right now. What little time I have left over, I try to spend with my family. Aside from that, I like to walk, visit with friends, go to movies ... movies being my guilty pleasure, I suppose. And reading, of course!
If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.)
|Livermore Public Library|
You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you?
Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction?
Besides my own you mean? *wink* I'm very fond of John le Carre's George Smiley, and Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko. Hmmm. Come to think of it, there are quite a few parallels between the two characters. That would be interesting to explore.
Name one book that you've read that you wish you had written. What is it about that book that made it come to mind?
Rose. (In fact, I did a piece about Rose for The Rap Sheet's "The Book You Have to Read" series of posts. I was wowed by the sense of time and place. Smith really nailed it, with all the senses.
How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?
When I first got "the email" from Chief Editor Barbara Peters at Poisoned Pen Press, it was late at night, the kids were asleep, spouse was on travel ... so it was just me, bouncing up and down on my chair and squeaking with joy (but quietly, so as not to wake the kids). There was absolutely no one in the house to tell. I believe I shot off a couple of emails to close friends. And I probably had some chocolate. *smile*
As for the first time I saw Silver Lies on a bookshelf in a bookstore, I think I took a photo. I remember that it all felt unreal... "Is that MY name and MY book?" Even now, four books in, it's hard for me to digest the fact that I have these works of fiction that I've produced. But hey, I'm not complaining!
I don't know if you've seen it, but I love Parnell Hall's video about book signings. What is the most unusual experience you've had at a book signing or author event?
I just took a look at it on YouTube, and yeah, you just have to laugh, basically! Everyone does their best--authors, bookstore owners, librarians--and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and it really isn't anyone's fault. Probably the most unusual event I had was for Silver Lies, when I appeared at Mattie Silks' "House of Mirrors" in downtown Denver along with a couple of paranormal investigators. The house--which was a restaurant at the time--is a fascinating place, and one can well imagine it might be haunted. Mattie Silks was a famous Denver madam in the late 1800s, and she appears in Silver Lies, playing a small but crucial part.
What's the best thing about eBooks? What's the worst?
I'm not a fan of reading books "on screen," as I spend so much of my time that way between work, fiction writing, and research. Still, with eBook readers, you can squash a lot of information into a small device, which is very handy. I also recently saw a children's book on an iPad and was astounded: the illustrations were interactive as was the text, and you could even have music playing to go with the book, if you wanted. I haven't looked into this any further, but if this is the direction children's books are moving, I'm impressed with how well the industry is applying all the power of computing and software to bring more dimensions to book "reading."
|Old books have magic in them...|
|On Sale Now!|
Thank you so much, Ann, for this opportunity to get to know you a little better. I would imagine that I'm not the only one who would love to have a peek at your "way-back" bookcase!