End-of-the-week exhaustion has set in, but thanks to the hardworking and dedicated officers and organizers in the Massachusetts Library Association, the annual library conference was packed full of programs, workshops, and panel discussions – including, on Tuesday, Boston’s Homegrown Authors Are Top-Notch, with Elizabeth Elo (pseudonym of Elizabeth Brink), Sue Miller, and Hank Phillippi-Ryan making up the panel of authors.
These three smart, funny authors spoke eloquently about Boston as a setting for novels, about their work, and about their love of libraries.
“I love Boston, and the way it changes from neighborhood to neighborhood.”
“It also has a nice criminal history.”
“Baffin Island is a landscape from my imagination.”
“Word of mouth is what creates an author’s career.”
Sue Miller, author of the upcoming novel The Arsonist, and many others
“I have set books in different places, but always a place I know well.”
“I once did a book tour that was only libraries. It was a lot of fun!”
About Billy, a character in Lake Shore Limited (Chicago after 9/11 setting) “How refreshing not to assume that her grief is something we all understand!”
Hank Phillippi-Ryan, whose latest, The Wrong Girl, just won an Agatha Award
“The ‘setting as character’ question is a great one. I try to create a strong sense of place.”
“The Charlotte McNally books – Prime Time, Face Time, Air Time, Drive Time – were all written in the first-person. It allows for Charlotte to be able to make mistakes. Switching to third-person [for Jane Ryland series] was difficult, but it was the best thing. With third-person, readers know more than the characters know.”
“Charlotte is not dead!”