I've got a pretty special event lined up for this Tuesday: Steve Hockensmith and I have a little gig down at M is for Mystery in San Mateo. (7:00, here, if you're in the area.)
Let me tell you a little about my history with ZB, as I have come to call my dear friend (short for Mr. Zombie Boy). My first book came out in August of 2009. Because I am an impatient person, I find it nearly impossible to believe I've only been a published author for only a year and a half. Back then - it feels like eons - I was very unsure of myself as I stumbled about all the new-author things one does. Most intimidating to me was trying to line up signings; I didn't - and still don't - want to do them alone, so I was trying hard to find some coat-tails to ride on.
I had met Steve at the Sonoma Book Festival the prior year when he was on a panel with some mutual friends. He was bright, funny, self-effacing, and friendly. Turned out we had the same publisher, and when I bumblingly mentioned that we also had the same release month for our mysteries, Steve generously invited me to join his signing at the M.
I was so nervous. My friends the P's not only came but brought their parents, a source of great consternation due to the spicy language in the passage I planned to read. But Steve, with his aw-shucks friendly ways, made everything easy. A little later he emailed to say he had read my book and was relieved that it was good (I'm paraphrasing, but you know what I'm talking about, right? - when you meet someone and like them and desperately desperately want their book not to suck because of how awkward that would be); I had read his book and damn, he's brilliant.
Fast forward many wonderful evenings with friends and colleagues, new publishers, new series, ebbs and tides in lives both business and personal, and here we are, a couple of hardened zombie writers. Well, actually, neither of us is really all that hardened, tough, or world-weary at all, which is I think key to why we get along. But we are zombie writers - gleefully, unapologetically, enthusiastically so - and we're even assembling our own court, having named ourselves the ruling monarchs.
The point of all of this is that writing needs to be fun, and you have to respect and enjoy the people who make up your world, or what's the point? Without Steve and the rest of my cherished friends and co-workers (sounds weird but really, that's what we are, harkening back to days of punching clocks at the HoJo's) I'd just be a mumbling grim soul locked in a dark room.
So a toast to you, ZB - virtual for now and for real in a couple days.