Please help me welcome Doug Corleone to It’s Not All Gravy. Doug is the author of the Kevin Corvelli crime novels published by St. Martin’s Minotaur. A former New York City criminal defense attorney, Doug now resides in the Hawaiian Islands, where he is currently at work on his next novel. My daughter was stationed in Hawaii while she was in the army and as her brother said, “What a terrible tour of duty.” So I am not sure I feel too terribly sorry for Doug.
It’s tough to complain about living in Hawaii. And I don’t do it often. But as an American writer, I do often feel isolated, as though I’m still on the outside looking in. When a friend launches a new book at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York, I wonder if I made the right decision seven years ago when I moved away from the Big Apple. When the Southern California chapter of the Mystery Writers of America emails me an invitation to a gathering at a bar in LA, I immediately feel a pang of regret before striking the delete button. I’ve asked my literary agent and fellow writers, even my editor, about whether moving back to the mainland would be best for my career. But in this digital day and age, when the world is so small and everything moves at the speed of light, the answer I receive is consistently no. And they’re right.
Authors are touring less. Fewer physical books in existence means fewer books are being signed. Yet readers are closer to their favorite authors than ever. On Twitter, you can follow the writers you most admire throughout their day, learn what they eat, how much they drink, and where they shop, all in 140 characters or less. On Facebook, you can often see photos of authors reading their books at packed events, or even shooting hoops in the driveway with their kids. Many authors today maintain blogs. It’s almost as though you can sneak into their bedroom and thumb through a few pages of their journals or diaries each night after they fall asleep.
Still, living in Hawaii, I often miss sitting down to dinner or having a drink with my colleagues. I keep in touch with many authors via email, but of course, it’s not the same. That’s why I so look forward to writing conventions and conferences and other mainland events. My favorite event over the past three years has been Bouchercon, the annual world mystery convention. In San Francisco and St. Louis, I was afforded the opportunity to discuss the craft of writing with fellow scribblers, not just on author panels but at awards ceremonies, publishing parties, and simply sitting around the hotel bar.
As I write this I’m counting down the days until October 3rd when I’ll leave Honolulu for Cleveland for Bouchercon 2012. For four days I’ll be surrounded by readers and crime writers from all over the globe and I’ll relish every second of it.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to pass the time here in Hawaii. It’ll be tough. But somehow, someway, I know I’ll make it through.
In Doug’s latest book, Last Lawyer Standing, hotshot defense attorney Kevin Corvelli is juggling clients as high profile as Hawaii’s governor and as gritty as the career criminal who once saved Kevin’s life.