Last night at M is for Mystery, a full house of writers, friends, and fans watched Sophie Littlefield launch her first published book, A Bad Day for Sorry. At Thrillerfest last month, Sophie’d told me she was worried about being nervous, and so arranged to be accompanied by two other authors on her maiden voyage. If Sophie was nervous, the audience either couldn’t tell or didn’t mind. She more than held her own with eloquent veterans Steve Hockensmith and Jilliane Hoffman. (She won whoops of approval from the audience when she read an excerpt from A Bad Day about her heroine's ruminations on lesbianism in women’s prisons.)
Sophie had written novels before A Bad Day that she hadn’t sold. Her reaction? She got pissed off and that anger, she told us, drives the plot of the book. In it she tells the story of 50 year-old Stella Hardesty who’s dispatched her abusive hubby with a wrench. She’s now providing comparable correctional services in rural Missouri on behalf of other women whose men are not behaving. (What writer hasn't dreamt of taking a little vengeance on those who have abused him or her?)
When asked last night if prospective agents had pressured her to make her hero younger, Sophie said no, but she did get advice to clean up her language and make Stella prettier. But Sophie stuck to her guns; she even made sure that Stella’s knees on the cover of the book were roughed up.
Three vacationers from Melfort, Saskatchewan, a town of 5,000, came along for a drink with a bunch of us afterwards. Apparently, they always try to find an author appearance at a mystery bookstore when traveling. God bless them. Whatever’s in the water up north needs to be piped down here.
I have a little extra incentive now to finish the next draft of my manuscript by Friday. After I ship it off to my agent, I'll reward myself this weekend by reading A Bad Day for Sorry (and, if as I expect, it goes down fast, I'll consume pal Marcus Sakey's newest, The Amateurs, for dessert). Can't wait. Cheers.