New Orleans 2016 – Blood on the Bayou
Nancy Gallt and I got up early on Friday to be at the 7:30 New Author Breakfast at Bouchercon. Twenty-four first-time authors got three minutes each to stand up and talk about themselves and their books while their semi-hungover audience eats very good eggs, sausage, and biscuits. It’s probably not too surprising that many of these first-book writers had backgrounds in law enforcement, armed services and other careers that gave them plenty of material. The moderator/master of ceremonies was Boyd Morrison who was introduced as a best-selling author and Jeopardy champion.
One of the early writers to speak was Shaun Harris who told us “I am not a badass. My father is a badass.” But, he assured us, his father is very supportive, unlike the father in his book The Hemingway Thief (published in July by Seventh Street Books). When Harris’s hero, Coop, a successful writer of romantic thrillers, sends his novels to his father he is told he is “no John Grisham.”
Coop writes under the pseudonym Toulouse Velour. He is drinking in a run-down Mexican bar trying to decide if he should kill off Alexander MacMerkin, a Scottish vampire detective who is the main character of his series, when he sees the only other customer at the bar being assaulted by two thuggish American men. Coop and his friend, bar owner Grady, decide to intervene and somehow Coop ends up with a gun pointed at the bad guys. Conversation ensues:
“I got paid good money to find this kid,” Andy said, “and I’m not about to hand him over to some fag who writes chick books.”
“Don’t let the looks fool you Andy,” Grady said. “Coop’s not above shooting an unarmed man.” Andy laughed.
“I gotta say, I ain’t too convinced,” he said. “He can barely hold the thing straight, let alone shoot. Ain’t man enough to shoot, I bet. Ain’t even man enough to write a man’s book. You know who’s good, Toulouse? You know who writes really good shit? That guy, aw fuck, who’s that guy. Wrote the thing they made into a movie with the guy who did the other movie. Grisham! You should write something like John Grisham.”
“That’s when I shot him.”
The rest of the caper novel unfolds around an obsessed collector and the suitcase full of Ernest Hemingway’s manuscripts that his first wife Hadley famously lost in 1922 in a Paris train station. Or did she? Light-hearted fun. I downloaded sample chapters from all 24 authors who introduced themselves that morning and will be writing about more of them in the next few months.