03 March 2014

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire

by Fran Rizer

Some of the fiction writers I know claim that we are "licensed to lie."  Today I'm giving you the opportunity to tell when I'm fibbing and when I'm not.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read the following accounts of four events that happened at my book signings and choose the one that did not happen.  Three of them are true.  The first person to correctly identify the false event will receive a copy of Callie's latest: A Corpse Under the Christmas Tree.


At a book signing for Callie's Christmas book last November, I looked up and saw the retired secretary from a school where I taught over twenty-five years ago.  I immediately jumped up and hugged her before I saw that her son stood behind her with a garment bag.  I had lent the mink coat my mother-in-law gave me to the secretary.  I transferred schools and the years passed.  The secretary (now retired) said she saw an interview with me in Free Times that gave info about the signing so she wanted to buy the new book, have her copies of the others autographed, and return my coat. The owner of the book store said that's the first time ever that a fan brought an author a mink coat to a signing in that store.  The only problem is that I'm afraid if I wear it anywhere, the PETA people will get me!


I decided to share this with you after reading Rob's column on February 19th about carrying the same characters into a new work. Recently, a Callie fan approached me at a signing and wanted to know why that same Free Times interview mentioned above said that I was working on something very different and would not be writing another Callie anytime soon, if ever.  This writer wanted to know if I would be okay with his writing a Callie following the Christmas story, using the same characters, setting, and hopefully voice.  I would, of course, have the option of Callicizing the voice where necessary and nixing anything that went against the established personalities and habits of the characters. Feeling a little like James Patterson (a very little), I said, "Yes."  


Same book signing:  My orthopedic surgeon's nurse showed up with a beautiful little girl.  Linda introduced the child as her ten-year-old grand-daughter Abigail who was visiting her and wanted to come with her to meet "a real author."  Abigail loves to read and likes to write stories.  To make a long story short, Linda bought Abigail a Callie book with the stipulation that they give it to Abigail's mother to determine when she will be allowed to read it.  The next time I saw Linda at the doctor's office, she told me that Abigail took a picture of her with me to "Show and Tell." The youngest readers before Abigail have been thirteen-year-olds. 


A red-haired woman approached me at a book-signing a year ago.  I expected her to ask me to autograph a Callie book.  Instead, she asked me to write a book for her.  I went into my usual spiel that she would do a better job of putting her story on paper than I would, but we agreed to meet in the coffee shop after the signing.  Writers are frequently approached to write or co-write someone else's story.  Most of the time, we decline politely, but there was something about this woman that made me hesitate to dismiss her so quickly

Upon a Midnight is Julie Bates's story, and it's like nothing I've written before.  Julie and I wound up together many days as I made notes and recordings, and since then I've spent countless nights alone with my computer, scaring myself as I wrote Julie's story from her point of view.  It's scheduled for release in about twelve months. 

Okay, dear readers, cast your vote for the false anecdote in the comments section.  I'll notify the winner how to send me a mailing address for your prize.

Until we meet again, take care of… you!


Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Fran, I think the one that didn't happen is your giving permission for a fan to write a fanfic Callie novel. It's the one I would have said no to. Actually, I'd also have said no to the woman who wanted you to write her story--immediately, not over coffee. I'd have taken the mink coat. And my older granddaughter turns ten in May, so I know what to do with your book if I win it. (BTW, it's okay if fellow SleuthSayers are disqualified.)

David Dean said...

Due to insider knowledge, I must regretfully recuse myself from this assignment. Is there any kind of consolation award?

Eve Fisher said...

I agree with Liz - I think the one who wanted to write a fanfic...

Eve Fisher said...

By the way, folks - off topic - but I'll be off-line for the next week in a desperate search for warmth. See you next week!

Unknown said...

Fran, I'm choosing the red head who wanted you to tell her story, but it was a hard choice between that and the Fan wanting to write the fanfic novel. Something about the woman wanting you to write her story didn't sound right.

Anonymous said...

I've been around fanfic people so that one sounds real to me -- especially since he asked if you minded and as I read it you said, "yes". Meaning yes, you minded. And I figure the last one is to tell us about a book coming out that's not your usual. That leaves the fur coat and the child. Since I can't think of many parents these days who'd make the determination about whether or not their 10-year old was allowed to read a book (unless maybe it was Fifty Shades of Gray), I will guess that's the ringer.

Fran Rizer said...

There is a winning comment posted already, but I'm not telling who has it right until this evening. Vote for your choice. I might award more than one prize. I like the way the answers are rationalized. And David,you're recused because you know the answer, but you'll definitely get a consolation prize.

Elizabeth said...

Like several other folks here, I also believe the false anecdote is the one about the wannabe fanfic author. I'm recusing myself though, because I already won a copy of the excellent A Tisket, A Tasket, A Fancy Stolen Casket in a previous contest!

A Broad Abroad said...

Aaargh! Such is your skill, Mz Rizer, they all sound plausible.

The Free Time article does exist (http://www.free-times.com/arts/finding-the-humor-in-murder-mysteries), so she could have found you that way. However, twenty-five years seems a lengthy absence, but from reading SS I gather it’s your ex-mother-in-law, so maybe the coat was not too sorely missed.

The James Patterson touch is inspired, but I find it difficult to believe, first, that you’d entrust Callie to anyone. Second, if you were to consider it, I’m guessing you’d choose a woman. - no offence gentlemen.

Sounds fair, supported by the photo I don’t think you’d show unless it were true (or you’d asked permission of those in the picture.) Checked http://www.tineye.com/ and couldn't find it anywhere else.

“…scaring myself as I wrote.”
Could horror be the new genre with which you are experimenting as mentioned in the Free Time article? Would it be published under your name or hers? A title nailed down so soon?

So, after all that blather - and much as I don’t want anyone one else writing a Callie novel - I’m guessing the last one’s untrue because Julie Bates is an anagram of Be just a lie.

Ryan said...

The Mink Coat is...A LIE (I think...)

Fran Rizer said...

We have winners! (pretend drum roll) Liz is a winner for being the first comment of the day though her answer is not correct. Vicki Kennedy is a winner for choosing the red head. That is the author's opening comment on the horror book and is not true. I'm going to send a prize to A Broad Abroad also because she's so clever to see Be Just a Lie in Julie Bates. That was totally unintentional. David, you've already won yourself one of the first copies of Upon a Midnight for reading it before my agent.
If you have a prize coming, please send me a mailing address to:
This was fun for me. The mink is real. Abigail is real. The man attempting a Callie is in his sixties and buys numerous copies for his friends. He's literate and I'm giving it a shot though I've retained the option of rejecting it if it's beyond hope.
Thanks to everyone and have a great evening.

Leigh Lundin said...

That was fun, Fran. I'm afraid I would have got the answer wrong– I would have guessed the fan fiction. Very clever article and way to fool us.