Chances are good that if you’re not from the Louisville area and you’re following this blog, you already know about the uproar author Sue Grafton provoked a few days ago. If you’re a regular reader who isn’t interested in books, it’s possible you didn’t even notice. Maybe you just read a nice interview with famous author who happens to be a local lady, and moved on to something else entirely.
Well, authors did notice. I’ve personally seen the interview discussed at length on websites across the blogosphere and the Twitterverse to the point it became overwhelming to look. Publishing is in a state of grand flux right now, and Grafton’s comments from the interview in question were quoted at Forbes.com to perhaps the widest audience thus far–the business community-at-large.
Ms. Grafton approached me for advice about responding to the ire, and what followed was a lengthy back-and-forth via email. I hope that if you were one of the many authors who took offense to her remarks you will read her clarification, which follows:
I’d appreciate a chance to clarify the remark I made in the recent interview you posted. I meant absolutely no disrespect for e-publishing and indie authors. I came into the business in the 1960’s with the publication of Keziah Dane…1967 and The Lolly-Madonna War in 1969. In those days, a writer’s only hope for a writing career was to be accepted by a traditional New York publisher. I wrote three novels that were routinely rejected before I stuck them in a drawer. The fourth full-length novel I wrote, I submitted to what was then called The Anglo-American Book Award contest, which I did not win. I did receive an offer from a British publisher for 375 pounds (roughly 375 dollars in those days) pounds for the publication of Keziah Dane. On the advice of an old war horse screen writer in Santa Barbara, I used that offer to acquire an American agent who then found me an American publisher. The subsequent novel I wrote was deemed too violent for American audiences and it was published in England only. The sixth and seventh full-length novels I wrote were never published and the eighth was ‘A’ IS FOR ALIBI.
Hi. Leslea again, here. This is a blog, so don’t mind me while I get personal for a moment.
It occurred to me in the course of this week that being asked the same questions by those who are working their way up in your field must become repetitive, over time. With every book launch comes another bevy of features writers asking the same questions. Sure, it’s a small price to pay for great commercial success, but no one’s perfect, either. A fellow writer sent me the following link to an interview on indie author Diane Capri’s site completed in 2003, in which Ms. Grafton gives more involved answers & writerly advice. I recommend you check it out if you are a young writer, or an old writer trying your hand at fiction and not yet finding the success you want.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the earlier interview, and thanks to Sue Grafton, a true inspiration to writers everywhere.
To quote fellow Hoosier author Cheryl Shireman:
“The bottom line is we are all writers. We all dreamed the same dream. We all labor over words – agonizing when the writing is not going well and rejoicing when the words are flowing. I used to love and respect traditionally published writers. I still do. In fact, I love all writers. No matter how published.”
Readers, if you know an author who deserves to shine in the Local Author Spotlight, please get in touch. Either side of the river is fine–we speak Southern Indianaese, too! Books about relevant local subject matter are encouraged, as well. Email RedTashBooks@gmail.com and please put “KY.com Author Spotlight” in your email subject. Thanks!
Leslea Tash is a Southern Indiana journalist-turned-novelist. Formerly a freelancer best known for Guerilla Mothering, she now writes dark fantasy, horror, fairy tales, and other fun stuff including the 5 star Young Adult Adventure fantasy Troll Or Derby under the pen name Red Tash. She always welcomes your feedback on this column on the KY.com site, on Facebook, on her websites or twitter. Just about anywhere works. Get in touch!