Wednesday, August 09, 2006

J.A. Konrath comes to town...

I was one of the stops on Joe Konrath's tour last night...

Hmm... that came out wrong. Perhaps a bit too much to drink. That's what happens when you go out with a bunch of writers.

I'll start over. J.A. Konrath was in Raleigh last night as part of his already legendary Rusty Nail Tour and I had the great fun of going out to dinner with him and other local mystery authors J.D. Rhoades, David Terrenoire, and Stacey Cochran, who managed to wrangle us all into the same place at the same time (thanks, Stacey!). Photographic evidence here.

If you don't know J.A. Konrath stop reading this now and get yourself over to his website - but I can't imagine anyone in the mystery world DOESN'T know about him and the Rusty Nail Tour by now.

I'd met Joe briefly at the whirlwind that was ThrillerFest and have been an avid reader of his blog, but last night I really fell for him. (Really. Literally.).

He was worn out, obviously (he'd done ELEVEN bookstores in two states that day, covering a staggering number of miles), but the man just doesn't quit. He lights up talking about books, promotion, publishing - is just a fount of information - and more generous than anyone (in what is a remarkably generous community) about sharing tips and strategies (just check out the free stuff on his website!) He's a total inspiration (get him to show you his tattoos some day. There is the sweetest story behind them - but you need the visuals. Great arms, too!)

I know he could make a mint selling what he knows in CD form and on the lecture circuit, like Hollywood story structure gurus Robert McKee and John Truby. But when I told him so, he said that a) he thought the information should be out there, free, for everyone, and b) he didn't want to be known as "that marketing guy" - but for his books.

He gave me a copy of RUSTY NAIL and I read a little into it when I got home - and he's right. The only purpose of this landmark marketing should be getting these books out there. He's got a unique voice - wry and blunt and really interesting, coming from a sympathetic and prickly heroine - Jack Daniels is simply a perfect name for her. The sometimes laugh-out loud humor (great dialogue!) is startling in juxtaposition to the brutality of the serial killer plot line, but makes the story more accessible to people who wouldn't normally pick up a serial killer story (I myself have written them, but there are certain places I just don't want to go. I may have to avert my eyes sometimes while reading this one, but it's not anything I won't be able to take).

So do yourself a favor - go out and BUY a copy of WHISKEY SOUR if you haven't read it, or RUSTY NAIL if you have, and start working your way through this series.

And check out J.A.'s tour schedule - there's a frighteningly good chance he's coming to your town any minute. Buy him a beer, give him a bed, do his laundry. He's out there on the road for all of us - and he's giving us all the direct line on what he knows. Plus, he's a fun date.

Looking forward to many more drunken nights with Stacey, J.D. and David, too.

(Umm... that came out wrong, didn't it?)


JT Ellison said...

Joe came through Nashville, and he's quite the fun date for an evening. I was so happy to be included in a dinner for him. The lovely Tasha Alexander kindly brought me into the Joe Fold, and it was a good time. Ask him about his prediliction for port next time around...

Stacey Cochran said...

Hey, Alex, thanks for the mention. It was great fun getting to meet you. I'm all for the the four of us getting together more regularly. Seriously, JA, was kind'a the focus the other night, but I would love to get to know you, David, and Dusty better. We should do it.