Wednesday, August 17, 2016

30 Years and Counting

On the 19th I'll be signing copies of Survivors Will Be Shot Again at Murder by the Book in Houston at 6:30.  For a while I didn't think I'd be able to be there, but things look good for now.  I'm planning on it. 

It occurred to me only today that this is a significant anniversary for me.  It was 30 years ago that I did my first book signing, also at Murder by the Book, for Too Late to Die, the first book in the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series.  At the time I had no idea that it would be a series, much less that it would last for 30 years (and there'll be another book next year, too).  If anyone had told me that, I'd have had a good laugh.  I wouldn't have thought it was possible.

Yet here I am, and the sheriff is still in office.  My life has gone through a lot of changes, many of them happy ones, some of them not nearly so much.  Sheriff Rhodes hasn't had the same experiences, so he's a lot the same.  That's by design, though.  I never thought of having him be one of those protagonists who changes much.  My models have always been Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, marching pretty much unchanged through the years.  Others take a different approach, which is great.  I gotta be me.

The next book in the series, Dead, to Begin With, completes my current contract, so it remains to be seen whether there will be more.  My health could be a problem, and St. Martin's might decide that there's no more room for a sheriff like Rhodes on the list.  I'm going to try to get a proposal done before I begin chemo, however, so at least there's a chance of more to come.  

And how about that cover for the hardback of Too Late to Die?  One of the worst ever, right?  But the book did get a nice review in the "Criminals at Large" column in the NYT Book Review.  It had two printings and even a paperback.  I miss the old days.

10 comments:

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

There will always be room for Sheriff Rhodes and the denizens of Blacklin County, IMHO.

One question: how come the Sheriff's daughter is never mentioned?

Bill Crider said...

I couldn't figure out what to do with her, so I just jettisoned her. A cruel fate.

George said...

I remember reading the NYTBR and seeing your first book mentioned in "Criminals At Large." That was pre-email so I think I may have called you with congratulations. Your books also were mentioned in LOCUS a few times, too!

Gerard said...

I'm glad I am not the only one to think that cover stinks.

Howard said...

I just finished this book today. I liked it pretty well. In fact, let me just say, for a first novel, it was great!

I like your writing style, it is simple, direct and to the point. Sometimes reading a book is like slogging through a swamp wearing snowshoes. It seems to take forever to get through it. This doesn't mean it wasn't a good story, but it was a lot of work to read it. Example: Gerald Seymour. The book was "Vagabond." A good story, a difficult read for me.

On the other hand, some authors seem to have the gift of writing prose that you can just cruise through. Kind of like piloting a motorboat across a mirror-smooth lake. You are one of those writers, and I commend you highly for that.

Bill Crider said...

Thanks, Howard.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I loved the Keith Richards bit in the new book.

Glen Davis said...

I have the entire series so far, and I'm hoping you can write at least several more.

Cap'n Bob said...

I went to B & N today to pick up your book--finally. Just as I walked in the door there was a card table set up with a very lonely looking author and a display of his books. I paused for a moment to see what he was hawking and it looked like self-published quackery. As I turned to walk off he said, "Any questions?" I didn't answer so he said, "I guess not." I felt bad for him. I know the agony of being ignored like that and I almost stopped on my way out to commiserate, but I was in a hurry.

I trust you'll have better luck at MBTB.

Bill Crider said...

I never sign at the chains anymore. I have enough humiliation in my life without that.