Sunday, February 21, 2010
Michael Connelly Speaks About Inspiration, And I Reveal My Obsessive Nature
It was wonderful to meet Michael Connelly on Saturday at Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee. He spoke as part of their Fine Arts fundraising weekend. My friend Caroline accompanied me; we made a day of it, following the book signing with a day in the Nashville/ Murfreesboro area (World Market, Target, Ann Taylor LOFT -- you know, the important things we don't have in our smaller town).
We learned that he has at least a niece and nephew who attend CIA (possibly more, but I know that those two are both seniors at the school), which meant that the school had connections which brought Connelly to Nashville. I'm very grateful that they did! It was an honor to hear him speak. He began with a short speech about inspiration, both in general and in his own life. He showed the audience a painting his father created, and spoke about his parents' giving up their dreams (his father was admitted to a prestigious art school, but ultimately made his living as a builder) to raise a family. He also communicated their pride in him and his siblings, and their constant inspiration to him as they encouraged him to follow his dream to be a writer.
Connelly began his writing career as a crime beat reporter, which he referred to as "slumming it as a reporter" until he could launch his real career -- that of a novelist. He stated that he knew writing novels was what he ultimately wanted to do, but he also knew that as a crime journalist he would gain daily writing practice and important knowledge about crime that would lead to reality-based detective novels. Connelly then took questions from the audience, which led to discussions of his characters and their real-life human inspirations, Connelly's longtime protagonist Harry Bosch, and the writing process (among many other topics).
At long last (well, actually we kind of "merged" ourselves into the signing line, so it wasn't that long...) we actually met Connelly, or the creator of Harry Bosch (as I often think of him). He was very cordial, and agreed to take the picture you see in this post of the three of us. It has to be difficult to smile and sign for so long, even though it must also be a rush to meet your fans/ readers face-to-face.
He also officially thinks I'm a crazy person -- I told him that I had read all of his books in chronological order so that I didn't miss anything or a reference to anyone who had appeared in a previous book.
"Would that be so bad?" he asked.
"Well, it would be for me..." I replied, a bit flustered.
"My publisher is always telling me I need to get new readers, but it's hard to say 'Hey, you should read the fifteenth novel in a series,' to people," he looked at me as though I were definitely part of the problem.
"Oh,well, I've read all of your books in the past 6 or 8 months, so I was ready for the newest one when it came out," I tried to better explain.
"Wow," was his only response. At this point I posed for the picture, thanked him, and walked away, realizing that I sounded slightly stalker-ish. And that the great Michael Connelly now thought I was some sort of mad woman.
All in all, a good day.