by Susan Rogers Cooper
This is my first time writing an article for SleuthSayers and I thought I'd start with something a little personal.
once wrote a short story with the title "Family Tradition," but it
wasn't a particularly nice family tradition. Today I want to talk about
a good one -- like three generations of writers. I started writing
when I was about eleven years old, but didn't try to get published until
I was in my mid-thirties. Since that time I've been managed to pump
out twenty-something books, several short stories, and been nominated
for an Edgar award. But although we writers like to think we write
totally in a vacuum, in my case that's not necessarily true. When I
started my E.J. Pugh series, my late husband Don had already come up
with the characters and the first horrific scene (which began a new
sub-genre, I was told -- the grizzly cozy), and when I got to a point
where I actually needed a plot, Don, my daughter Evin and I sat on our
king-sized bed and my teenager gave me the McGuffin. And also one of
the best lines in the book.
Evin started writing as a
teenager -- mostly romances -- but now, in her mid-thirties, she's an
accomplished blogger (FOOD GOOD, LAUNDRY BAD) and has been called an
"influencial" blogger (she's now driving a Cadillac Escalade as a result
of that -- just for a week, but still....) She's got lots of followers
and is heading this year's Austin Blogathon, which is a very big deal.
however, I went to the bookstore and bought my ten year old grandson
two chapter books. He's a voracious reader and I'll do whatever I can
to feed that. When he got to my house to pick them up, he said,
"Grandma, I have an idea." Then went on to tell me of a story he
thought of about a boy and his parents on an airplane, the airplane
crashes, and the boy is the only survivor. Or is he? "I'll write the
survival stuff,," he said, "and you put the mystery stuff in, okay?"
And I answered, "You betja." Now's the time to encourage this, to sew
that seed, to get the ball rolling. Yes, I mixed my metaphors, but
what's a grandma to do?
Maybe we'll write this book
together, or maybe just start it before something shiny catches our
collective short attention span, but the spark is there and I will be