Sara Paretsky: 2019 National Book Festival

Sara Paretsky: 2019 National Book Festival


>>Maureen Corrigan: My
name is Maureen Corrigan. I’m the book critic
for Fresh Air on MPR. [ Applause ] And also a long time
mystery columnist for the Washington Post. I have had the great
pleasure and honor of interviewing Sara
Paretsky a few times. And I have to tell
you, every time I’m in her presence I am sincerely
aware that I’m with someone who has transformed
the mystery genre, and really put her
own stamp on it. I went to the back
cover of Shell Game, Sara Paretksy’s latest
novel and took a look at the biographical
information on the back. And it’s pretty simple
and monumental. And I’m going to
read it in part. Sara Paretsky is the bestselling
author of 20 previous novels, including the renowned
VI Warshovsky series. She is one of only four living
authors alongside John Lacrae, Peter Lovesy and Lawrence Block to have received the
Grand Master Award from the mystery
writers of America and the Cartier Diamond Dagger from the Crime Writers
Association of Great Britain. That’s the award I want to see – [ Applause ] Sara was one of the founders
of sisters in crime in 1986 and served as the
organizations first president. She won last year the inaugural
Sue Grafton Memorial Award honoring the best novel in a series featuring
a female protagonist. It’s such a delight and a
thrill to be with you again. [ Applause ]>>Sara Paretsky: The
Cartier Diamond Dagger it’s – it’s really a thrilling award and they give you this
thing this big and which has on my new ruby diamond
and sapphire in it.>>Maureen Corrigan: A real one?>>Sara Paretsky: Real.>>Maureen Corrigan: Oh.>>Sara Paretsky: And I
lost it when I was on tour in Sweden many years ago. And I begged Cartier, and
they gave me another one. But I don’t think I can go back
twice; so I leave it at home. Instead of wearing it – oh my ->>Maureen Corrigan: I wish
you had brought it along. We’re here to talk
mostly about Shell Game, which if you haven’t read it
is a superb Warshovsky novel. But Shell Game came
out last year. I wanted to talk about a
more recent publication of yours, okay?>>Sara Paretsky: Yeah.>>Maureen Corrigan: And that
is a letter to the editor that you sent to the New York
Times book review a couple of months go about
a mystery round-up that had run in the Times. And you sent a letter objecting
to that mystery round up. And if I can, I’d just like to
read the first three sentences of your letter to the editor, which had me laughing
uncontrollably for at least 10 minutes. You said, “To the editor, when I started reading Vanessa
Friedman’s Thriller Round-Up, published on June 2 of
this year, I wanted to fly to New York and stand screaming
outside your building.” You usually don’t read letters
like that in the New York Times. “Of course I’m always delighted, thrilled when women
writers are recognized. But Friedman repeats the tired
old trope that women have been on the margins of the
thriller world forever. And are only breaking into it
in this hashtag, Me Too era.” I would like you to
give us some background. What prompted that letter? What you were reacting to, and if you received any
responses to that letter?>>Sara Paretsky: The
round up, excuse me, the round up that Tread
Mill did was on thrillers that feature strong
women characters. Even more annoying, almost more
annoying than her introduction which was that we had
been on the margins and were just starting to be heard was the first two
books she reviewed were by men. It’s like what? [ Laughter ] But here’s the thing. Women’s voices, we bubble
up periodically like carrots in a stew, and then we’re pushed
down again and we disappear. And I – I – my reaction
covered a lot of ground, which I’ll try not to –
to go on forever about. And you know more about
the history than I do. But 19th century women
thriller writers helped define and create the genre. Anna Catherine Greene wrote
– had an investigative – investigating detective, consulting detective 10 years
before Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle wanted Greene’s
sales he wrote her – he wanted advice from her
on how to market his books. She was the bestselling writer
on both sides of the Atlantic. And he writes about seeing
wagons going down the strand, piled high with Green’s
novels, wanting his own books to have that same cachet. Nobody knows who she is anymore. And we all know who
Sherlock Holmes is. So all this time, all these
years women keep writing, keep having voices, keep
creating strong characters, but – but somehow
we’re just not there. And I think this – this
bubbles through all of society. So you start asking whether
this woman candidate, this woman candidate is
electable because it’s novel, its novel to have a
woman doing something. If we started realizing that woman are always
doing these things. That we’re just part of this
discourse then the whole conversation would
change I think. [ Applause ]>>Maureen Corrigan:
When I read your letter to the editor I was also trying
to imagine what was going on in the reviewers mind,
that she would have sort of structured the whole
round up that way, as though this was a new advent in the history of
detective fiction. And I wondered if maybe it
feels new because we have so many woman writers writing
in that woman in trouble genre or girl in trouble genre. And that feels like
– like Gone Girl. That feels like I don’t
know almost a new strain in detective fiction as
opposed to the kind of novels that you write that
Sue Grafton used to write when she was alive. That maybe – maybe
that’s why she’s writing ->>Sara Paretsky: And I also
think that there’s a way in which one of the
things that’s going on in contemporary thrillers
that really troubles me is that the woman protagonish
whether novels really by men or by woman often has to
have been terribly abused and victimized like in Mohater’s
books or Steve Glarson’s books. So she can’t come to the
work out of just the joy of being a professional and out
there on stage solving problems. She has to be in recovery
from terrible rape and abuse and we’re given every
detail of the rap and abuse. And I’m not sure what that is. I think – I always come back
to can women take up space? And we can take up space if
we’re victims, but we can’t take up space if we’re powerful.>>Maureen Corrigan:
That’s a disturbing thought.>>Sara Paretsky: It is,
but all that’s changing. By tomorrow morning
we’ll all be different.>>Maureen Corrigan: I want
to talk about Shell Game, which is a novel in which
a woman takes up space not because she’s somehow earned
it by being victimized, but because she owns it. She’s made the effort to own it. It’s your 19th VI
Warshovsky novel. And one of the things
I do admire about your writing is you really
make an effort not to go stale, not to repeat yourself and you
really keep reaching, reaching, reaching and I think your
novels have grown more ambitious certainly throughout the years. In Shell Game, you’ve — –
you’re weaving together a lot of different plots and
you’ve got one plot which I would almost label
the traditional mystery plot where there’s – there’s
this mystery about a stolen antiquity, which
almost feels like the rules for Nancy Drew novel writing. You always have to have some
kind of stolen treasure. And then you’ve also got
plot lines that have to do with the situation of undocumented immigrant
workers in this country. You’ve got another plot
line that has to do with a long lost niece
by marriage of VI’s who has been abused, assaulted
by a network of powerful men. You know almost kind
of anticipating some of that Jeffrey Epstein
horror that we’ve been living with over the last few weeks. What’s it – what are the
challenges of writing what – as you know, Graham Greene
famously called entertainments. And yet at the same
time reaching for writing fiction
that’s also politically and socially pointed. I think that I come at
it slightly differently in that I’m not trying to write
fiction that’s politically and socially pointed. I saw recently in a
review is it Natasha or Natalie Ginsberg,
the Italian writer? Anyway ->>Maureen Corrigan:
It’s Natalie.>>Sara Paretsky:
Natalie, you’re right. Her – she was a writer in
Italy in the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and her books are
just now being translated into English and re-issued. And she lived through
the second World War. Her husband and her brothers
were anti-fascist activists who were imprisoned, tortured, killed and the second World
War formed the light motif of most of her fiction. And she was criticized for this, why couldn’t she
leave the war alone? And she wrote that – she thought
that the writer was a river and that the writer went
with the current of the river and wrote the images that were
reflected in the water as she – as she flowed with that current. And for me the images that are
reflected in the water are – are urgent matters that affect
us all day in and day out. And they just end up being
the stuff of my stories. I think I was particularly
concerned at the start of this story because of
the – at that time I – so the book was published
in October of 2018 and I started work on it
in the summer of 2017. And I was already deeply
concerned about the fate of – of refugees and asylum seekers who were routinely being
denied access to this country. And then I always have a
subtext with immigrant stories in the sense that I’m one of
the American Jews who was born in this country to a
family that lived here, but most of my family in Europe. My entire family in Europe was
murdered in the [Inaudible] and so the fact that we
shut our doors in the 30’s and 40’s this just feels
really personal to me that we’re doing it again now. And so those issues
because it is so personal to me come into my stories. When I started writing Shell
Game and I’m not a chess player. I can’t think five moves ahead. I have an idea, I
write, it doesn’t work. I move to a different way
of trying to tell the story. There’s a Syrian refugee who
is undocumented in this country and who was a poet – is a poet and I started writing
his poetry. I actually wanted – I had
couplets that I was going to start each chapter with,
but my English editor said that would be like
George Elliott, nobody would read the book because they would feel
they were being given a Victorian novel. So I stopped with that, but I
wanted – I had written about him and VI having an affair. And he was supposed to be
a significant character in this book, but the story
just wouldn’t gel around him. And so he ends up being kind of
the – the main mover in a way – the main mover of events but
– but he’s very little onstage and I had to abandon this
very beautiful love scene between the two of them. And so she got her second
choice, the director of the Oriental Institute
of Middle Eastern Museum and Scholarly Institute
in Chicago.>>Maureen Corrigan:
He’s not bad.>>Sara Paretsky: No my favorite
– well not my favorite scene, but I had a lot of fun, she’s –
she’s helping them find someone who has broken into the museum. And he holds her by her feet
upside down, out the window so that she can examine
the wall. And I thought, “I
want to do that.” And I tried to talk the man
who was actually the director of the institute into trying
it with me, but he blenched.>>Maureen Corrigan: Thinking about University
lawsuits I guess, but you have gotten the kind
of pushback I’ve read it online from readers who – who essentially say what you
know people say sometimes to Bruce Springsteen,
“Shut up and play.” I don’t want to hear about the
politics, shut up and play. Shut up and tell us a mystery
story and stop – stop engaging in all this other
stuff, you know? And has your publisher or
people in publishing industry, have you gotten that from – I don’t know I guess you can’t
really talk about that here. But I wonder if – if it’s
ever been suggested to you that it would be wiser for you
to leave some topics alone?>>Sara Paretsky: I don’t
think it’s ever been put to me that it would be wiser. I think that it –
that it’s stated that I would be more marketable. But not that anyone wants
me to stop doing it, but t’s a choice
that I can make. I actually think I
might be less marketable because I wouldn’t be writing – I wouldn’t be writing
what I care about. I used to be published
– my publisher used to be Danielle Steele’s editor. And she said you know if someone like me ogling Danielle
Steele sales wanted to write those books,
they would just fall flat because Steele writes
what is in her heart and it may not be
what’s in my heart. But it’s you know, and that’s
what her readers respond to. If it was fake they wouldn’t – they wouldn’t be
lining up to buy it. And so I think if I drop
that aspect of my work, my books would be flat and
even less – less marketable. One of the things that I started
– I’ve gotten more mail from – negative mail from
about Shell Game than any other book
that I’ve written. And here are two things
I want to say about that. One is that all of my books
are political but people seem to think that if it deals
specifically with party, politics or presidential actions
that that makes it political. If it deals with social justice
issues, it’s not political and they don’t mind it. That – and that boggles me,
but that just is how it is. But the other thing I started
wondering about that I – that I want to explore is
what did people read in – in the Third Reich
or in Franco Spain? What did they read? People must have read things – they must have been genre
fiction of some kind. They weren’t all sitting around
reading good or Suranta’s. And I’ve been trying to
find that out but I – I’m very unskillful
online researcher. I – every time I try to
go through the University of Chicago online
search systems I end up getting things about Babylon. I don’t know why. I think no matter
what I’m asking about, I think I confuse the computer so much it just says
“Okay Babylon.”>>Maureen Corrigan: Well
you know please don’t – please don’t hear my questions
as any kind of request from me that you ever change
what you’re doing because what you’re doing is
– it does come from the heart and it’s so vivid and
it’s so important as well as entertaining; it
does all of that.>>Sara Paretsky: That’s good.>>Maureen Corrigan: We’re
talking about the topic of immigrants and immigration
and one of the things that really strikes me
about Shell Game is VI we – those of us who have
been following her from the 1980’s onward,
we know her background. She’s Italian, she’s Polish. She’s from that community in
Chicago White working class, ethnic but now by the time
we get to Shell Game we’re in a different Chicago. And VI is going into immigrant
communities, they’re not hers. So she’s – she’s in an area
where they’re for instance a lot of South Asian immigrants. And there’s an interesting
scene where she’s trying to find a young woman in that
community and she realizes that the folks passing by on
the street are looking at her as a White older woman and thinking she must
be an immigration agent. She’s somebody to avoid,
watch out for, which is kind of turning the tables on VI. What – what’s your
familiarity with those areas, those communities
in Chicago now? Because you’re such a
Chicago writer and I think of you the way I
think of Chandler. Chandler owns it,
LA; you own Chicago. What – what’s your familiarity? Did you have to have
guides introduce you to those communities? I’d like to hear
about that research?>>Sara Paretsky: Well
one of the things that I – that I do is one of the
things that we’ve learned is that if a lot of people show up for a deportation hearing
the deportee is less likely to have the papers executed and is given another
six month extension. So I belong to – I don’t belong
in the sense, but I’m part of a group that responds
to requests for witnesses at deportation hearings. And through them I’ve
met people mostly in Chicago’s Latinex community,
but to some extent also in the Syrian immigrant
community. And I wouldn’t say that I’m
deeply knowledgeable or engaged, but – but that that’s
been kind of my window onto these communities. And also onto kind of like
unconscious stereotypes that – that you build up so the –
the first Syrian spokesperson that I met was a woman who
looked like she stepped out of an English romance novel
with her rose petal complexion and blond hair escaping from
under her – her headscarf. But – but Syrian and it’s – it’s just been I think
really it’s frustrating, it’s infuriating and it’s
also profoundly moving to be with families who have
been in this country for – there may be three generations,
and one person is undocumented. And is in danger
of being sent back, where the children
are now young adults – who are doca young adults and
are on the edge of their seats because English is the
language they know. And United States is
the country they know. Yeah. So it’s – I – I
don’t – you know I can read about the neighborhood and
the geographical boundaries, but I’m not actually in
those neighborhoods as much as I’m interacting with people
in these settings for hearings.>>Maureen Corrigan: Yeah. I’m going to change –
change the tone for a second and just tell you
that every time I open up a new VI Worshovsky novel
I kind of cross my fingers that VI is going to
have an encounter with her ex-husband,
[Inaudible] Yarboro. And those of you who follow VI through her life know
what I’m talking about. Dick Yarboro is a
corporate lawyer and he and VI were married
briefly in their youth. You have a great Dorothy
Parker line that you give to VI in this novel where she
says of that marriage, for whatever it was 27 months.>>Sara Paretsky:
Something like that.>>Maureen Corrigan: Dick
pretended that he was interested in social justice
and I pretended that I was interested
in his career. And that was kind of it. But he’s – he’s a major
character in this novel. And I love reading about him
because he’s so slimy and he’s so awful and they so
don’t belong together and he keeps her waiting. She schedules an
appointment with him in his corporate law office and he deliberately keeps her
waiting in the outside office. And finally she gets down on
the carpet of the waiting room and begins doing leg lifts, which causes him to
run in right away. It’s a great scene where
she’s being sassy and impudent and he’s – he’s responding
to that. I wanted to ask you this, how did you ever put
her together with him? Why did you do that to her?>>Sara Paretsky: That’s
such a good question and of course he’s gotten
more dreadful with time.>>Maureen Corrigan: He has.>>Sara Paretsky: Than
he was in the beginning. There’s one book, I can’
remember know which one it is where he also shows up and
plays a roll and she remembers that he was very
attached to her father. And that was after her
father’s funeral, that – that the marriage really
finally disintegrated. But the softer side
of Dick has vanished as he’s gotten richer
and more successful. And I don’t know, I have just
going to say a good friend, and not reveal her identity. She was married to – she
was putting her husband through law school. And the day that –
this was in the 60’s. So the day that she
came home to tell him that she thought
the marriage was over because she’d been
mistaken in her sexuality. He announced that he
was having an affair with the woman whom she thought
was her closest straight friend. And so it just – these
are mistakes of youth. But also I think that
– sorry, I’m sorry. I keep trying to cover up
the mic when I’m hacking. But you know she says in
one of the novels that she – she wanted to belong to the
Anglo world that he represented. And I had another friend,
am I rambling too much? I had another friend
German, Jewish film scholar who left Germany and came to the
States when she was in her 20’s. And she hated being the only
Jew for 500 miles around. And she married the
son of an SS colonel. And the marriage floundered. He mistreated her pet duck and then he said he decided his
father had been right all along and that Jews really were
responsible for everything that was wrong in Europe,
and so that was kind of the end of the marriage. That was a more extreme
version of what ->>Maureen Corrigan:
So it happens.>>Sara Paretsky: All I can say
is that people do make mistakes. And fortunately many of them
recover from those mistakes.>>Maureen Corrigan: Well I
hope this isn’t the end of Dick, although he’s put in his
place in this novel, isn’t he?>>Sara Paretsky: He’s
not in the new book. Too many people are
not in the new book. There wasn’t room for them,
but they’ll all have to – the one that’s being
published in 2020. They’ll have to come back
for the next one after that.>>Maureen Corrigan:
We talked a little bit about VI’s background. I just want to touch on
some of the things I learned about your background from a wonderful memoir you
published a few years ago, called Writing in
an Age of Silence. And things I didn’t know about
you that you had four brothers and your father had a PhD. Your mother went to
college and was admitted to med school, but didn’t go. And that they treated
you very differently from how your brothers
were treated when the matter of
college came up. You were basically told go
to the University of Kansas and that was the only choice. Otherwise, no college, right? And we don’t have three
hours but I wonder if you could give me – give
all of us sort of a taste of what made you with that
kind of – with those kinds of messages being sent
to you by your parents. How did you get from
there to here? You have a PhD, you have an
advanced degree, an MBA as well as an undergrad degree
of course. And you’re Sara Paretsky. How do you that?>>Sara Paretsky: You know
there were plusses as well as minuses came from – my
parents were great readers. My mother was a great
story teller and social justice advocate. So those were things that
informed my life as well. I think that I was a very angry
person and I was – the PhD was – I was determined to prove
to my father that I was as intelligent as my brothers. And that was kind of – that
wasn’t better – better guidance and advice might have saved
the world another dissertation. But I was also yeah, I
wrote from a very young age and just things,
short stories, poetry, my posthumous works these are. But I couldn’t – I didn’t
imagine writing for publication. I didn’t imagine having a voice that other people
wanted to hear. And in fact, speaking – I
have friends who tell me that back 40 years ago before
all this started happening they thought they were going deaf
when I was talking to them, because my brothers and
I all developed a habit of speaking really softly
because the criticism over what we said
was so ferocious within the family setting. And so it took a long
time to develop a sense of strength and a
sense of voice. And two things really made
a big difference in my life. One was second wave feminism
and I began seeing that my story and again seeing a context for
my story that was’ personal to me, it wasn’t because there
was something wrong with me. It was a social universal or
at least very widespread issue. And the other thing is that unlike VI I
married very fortunately. I married a man who –
I’m sorry, I can’t go on. He died recently, but he had
great confidence in my voice. And he was endlessly supportive
and proud of what I did. And it made it very possible. And in fact, finishing work
on the most recent book which I sent to my editors a
week ago, a week ago today. I didn’t know if I could
finish it without – Corny always called
himself tail gun Charlie. He was the man who had my back. But I did finish it,
so I guess I can go on. [ Applause ] I’m so sorry to lose
my composure but my next number will
be very happy, peppy one.>>Maureen Corrigan: No it’s
so – it’s why people love you. You are in your books,
and you are authentic. So – I did want to go back to asking
you something about the form, because we both like to think about this amazing hardboiled
detective fiction form that’s an all American product and – and
it’s a form that you’ve reworked and I think you’ve expanded the
possibilities of it and women of your generation,
women writers of your generation certainly
broke open so many barriers. One thing that you
do that I feel like not enough detective
fiction writers avail themselves of the possibilities
of the series form as being a big extended novel. And that you – you’re
always adding to VI’s alternative
family, you know a family of affinity, a family of choice. You know we’ve got
people who have been there from the beginning like Mr.
Contraris and Lotty Hershel. But you know of late you’ve
added people like Petra and Neece and in this novel
you’ve got two nieces who pop up after many years of not being
in touch, two nieces by marriage and – and VI seems to
– not a maternal role but certainly a beloved
female mentor role to them and certainly someone
who also schools them in the possibilities
of what a woman can be, and enlarges those
possibilities. And you’ve also aged VI and – not quite to where she actually
should be if she in real life. Re-reading Shell Game in
preparation for talking with you I was struck by
how many chapters open up with VI saying
“I was exhausted.”>>Sara Paretsky:
And rightly so.>>Maureen Corrigan: And
she’s also waking up a lot in the middle of the night
and her mind is roaring and I can relate to that. How far can you take that?>>Sara Paretsky: Well you
know I think – I think it got to be extreme in Shell Game,
her exhaustion and so I tried to be mindful of that in
working on the next book. There’s also I would say
sometimes I have a friend, a writer in Chicago
Carol Anshaw, very under-appreciated
fiction writer who has taken up painting. And she calls herself
an auto didact which I think sounds
like an extinct bird. But as a writer I’m an auto
didact so it’s hard for me to make a separation between
who I am and what I’m writing. And actually had a
very funny letter in England there’s an armanex
society and the president of the armanex society wrote
me – actually I feel very vain about this, I’m bragging
about it. He said in your early books VI
drank lots of lovely Armagnac and lately she hasn’t,
what happened? And I thought oh
my God, poor VI. Because I no longer can
handle alcohol well. I had inadvertently
dialed back her alcohol. And so I’m making
a conscious effort to let the girl detective
drink more. And ->>Maureen Corrigan: Here, here.>>Sara Paretsky: And
so I’m thinking also because I’m not sleeping
well and I’m waking up with my legs feeling like
they’re encased in concrete. No she doesn’t need
to be doing that. She’s younger, she’s
vital, she’s fit. And she knows how to sleep.>>Maureen Corrigan: Well I am
– as I think many people here. I’m looking forward
to the next outing and seeing this rejuvenated VI. And having her take a little
break from these escapades in the forest in the
middle of the night. And everything else
that she’s doing. She’s incredible. I would love to talk some
more, but I want to open up in the time we have left, I’d like to give people the
opportunity to ask questions and have some conversation
with the audience, because you have a lot of fans
here who have been following VI since the very beginning
I’m sure. So there are microphones in
the middle of the aisles. Please don’t be shy. I went on too long
and we only have about I don’t know seven minutes
left for questions, comments. Five minutes left,
oh my goodness. So please jump up if
you – there’s anything that you would like
to say or ask.>>Sara Paretsky: You
can ask me anything, and if I don’t know
I’ll make up the answer.>>Hi. I just want to thank you. I’ve read your books all
of them, and I always wait for the next one to come out. And I just want to say how
much I appreciate your courage in terms of taking on some
of these harder issues. I appreciate your
feminist perspective in VI and you know the approach
she takes to life, because she’s really a
no shit kind of person. So I just want to say thank
you very much for being such a strong role model
for women and speaking out on social justice issues
that are very important. Thank you. [ Applause ]>>Hi, I wanted to question – to
ask a question about technique. Do you outline your novels? Do you write the scenes
and then put them together? Do you have a special method?>>Sara Paretsky: The
question is about process. Do I outline or do I write
scenes and put them together. You know I think people who
outline are people who I think of chess players
versus tennis players and maybe that’s not
understanding either game well. Chess players can see
this, this happening. And I can’t, I have to write
and see how it’s happening. And if it – if I have
characters in motion who are telling the story,
well I have to throw it out and go back and start over. So I think of myself more as a
tennis player having to respond to the ball in motion
as it comes to me. I always start with the
idea of the mega crime, the big crime that’s
driving the story, and I know who has
committed that crime and why. But all of the – the side
characters that I need and the sub plots I need
for telling that story, those I get to by
trial and error. My fourth big Bitter
Medicine, I actually wrote through from beginning to end without any deviation
or discarding. And I thought oh boy I
know what I’m doing now. And wrong, that was the only
book that happened with. Shell Game, this was
the seventh storyline that I tried before I
got to the right one, which is why I write more
slowly than my publishers like.>>Hi. So your books and Sue
Grafton’s books are considered – because you have strong
female protagonist and the hardboiled
detective fiction that wasn’t strongly
representative previously to your books. I was just wondering,
because many people cite you as inspiration. Are there any young
authors or any currently that you say yes they’re
carrying on the mantle that I had you know,
that we started?>>Sara Paretsky:
There are a lot of really good writers
right now. And of course my brain has
become completely blank now as I’m on the spot with this. But I think – I never
get her name right. Rachel Hall – [ Inaudible ]>>Sara Paretsky:
Rachel Hall Housel, whose books are set in LA. I think she’s – she’s done some
stand alones and some cop novels and – and I like her kind of
tough woman police detective. I think she does a
great job with that. Someone who is not brand new
but sort of the next generation after me, whose books
I love is Nevada Barr. In the UK Denise
Myna, fabulous writer. They’re a lot – read
Maurine’s reviews and more will come to you. It is so hard to see up here>>Hi I have a question about
the VI character since she’s so much a part of you. Did you ever get mad at her?>>Sara Paretsky: VI,
do I take it personally? Do I get mad at her? I think the shoe is
on the other foot. I think if she actually knew
me she would think that I’m such a whip that she would
reject me as the person who was writing her –
her memoirs so to speak. Yeah we had rats in my basement
not too long ago and I made my – I make my dog come down
the stairs with me, and she has to be bribed. She’s like a rug
with a heartbeat. She has to be bribed with
liver treats to get up and come down the basement
stairs with me, but I think VI would
just be there. Maybe she’d pull out her Smith
and Wesson and put a few bullets in them, I don’t know.>>Maureen Corrigan: Does she
inspire you at all to be bolder because I was thinking –
I actually was thinking of her this morning, living in
a row house in DC and every once in a while the neighbor to
the left parks his second car in a way that blocks
our little garage. And I said to my husband this
morning, “I’m going to go over and knock on his door” and
I was thinking about VI. I was finishing Shell
Game and I felt like she had rubbed
off on me some.>>Sara Paretsky: I think
– does she rub off on me? Yes to have a voice and not – not be sort of passive
aggressive in situations like that. And I actually have
an incoming neighbor who is building a mansion right
up against my property line and – or the property
line between us. And there have been issues, some of which I’ve been
passive aggressive about, for instance he’s a
professor of economics and so in my new book the bad
guy is an economist. [ Laughter ] That’s pretty passive
aggressive. But I’ve also been
more forthright when they’ve spilled stuff on
my car, demanding that they pay to clean my car and
things like that. So yeah I’ve – yeah. The girl detective strikes back.>>Maureen Corrigan: In a way that Nancy Drew somehow
never rubbed off except maybe her language. I think we’re out of time
according to – 20 seconds. Anybody have – have a
quick last question? Oh yep, someone is
running to the mic.>>Quickly I wonder
if you could tell us if there are any
predecessors in the genre, who were possibly a
big influence on you?>>Sara Paretsky:
There’s a very – there’s a writer named Michael
– Michael [Inaudible] who again under recognized writer. He was from Indianapolis, at the same time Parker was
writer the Spencer novels, Michael was writing a series. And he was really the first
boiled less hard writer and someone whose
characters was – the women in it were respected. They were vamps or virgins or
victims and it was at the time that I was trying to formulate
VI and trying to figure out how to write a book And it was
helpful to have his example that yeah there was room
in the genre for that kind of respect for – for women.>>Maureen Corrigan: I’m –
I’ve got a sign in front of me that says “Wrap it up.” That’s rather rude; so we
are going to wrap it up. Thank you so, so much Sara.>>Sara Paretsky: Thank you. Thank you all.

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