Old Eclectic Me

In about two weeks, The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, the book I wrote with Jen Crusie and Anne Stuart will be out. It’s a bit of a departure for me, so I thought this might be the time to discuss why I tend to write so many different kinds of things. It’s not that I’m trying to follow the
market. I’m not that smart. Or that fast. I used to be fast, but that’s a different blog. No, the truth is that I just like to write….everything. Mystery, suspense, fantasy, romance, history, blogs…. Anyway, as I thought about it, I considered what I’d been doing the last couple of weeks and thought it might shed some light on the matter.

Let’s see. First, I went to see La Traviata at the St. Louis Opera Theater. Great, grand opera: lots of emotion, lots of angst and gorgeous music with a bit of consumption thrown in(when my daughter saw a production, she said, “I had a patient with tuberculosis this week. She couldn’t sing like that). Then I went to New York and saw a musical, 110 in the Shade. I’d never seen the musical, but it’s a version of one of my favorite movies of all times: The Rainmaker with Katherine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster. This was all that and wonderful music: lush, fun, bright, and with a great happy ending, handsome men and a manly chorus(I love manly choruses). It was the perfect romance. To balance that, I went the next night to see Kevin Spacey in Moon for the Misbegotten by O’Neill. And Jenny Crusie would be more than happy to tell you that watching O’Neill is comparable to whacking yourself in the forehead with a ballpeen hammer for three hours. Nobody gets out of that one alive. And I loved it(but I”m Irish. We have an affinity for hammer-whacking).

When I got home I went back to the Opera to see the Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan’s delicious ly satirical operetta about bureaucracy in Titipu,Japan. If you’re not familiar with G&S, Stephen Sondheim is their direct musical descendent. It was brilliant. I knew the company had updated the book, with the chorus(manly) in business suits, briefcases and PDAs (and a Titipu Hard Rock sign), but you got the full message when, during the overture, a lovely geisha tiptoed out holding a paper model of a Japanese temple. She very carefully laid it on the stage and left. Music swells, we’re about to get curtain up, when out from stage right, Godzilla clumps over, steps on the temple and leaves. It was that kind of night.

So then I bought Allison Kraus and Union Station tickets, got another copy of Moody Blue’s Days of Future Past and cheered on Rags to Riches as she took on the boys at the Belmont Stakes. Yeah, I’m a horse racing addict. Blame it on Dick Francis. Yesterday I went to a Cardinals baseball game and cheered on my boys. Yeah. Serious and lifelong addiction. Blame that on my mother. She and her dad taught me to keep score when I was four. In fact, when my kids want to make me cry, they make me watch Field of Dreams. And it’s my mom I miss.

A bit of gardening, a bit of Monty Python, a bit of Irish music, and a book on bloodspatter patterns. Oh, and registration for the 10th Masters Course in Death Investigation. I guess the point is, I can’t sit in one place too long. Some would blame it on my ADD. I think it’s just a broad range of interests. Three of my favorite movies? Lethal Weapon, To Kill a Mockingbird, Holiday(a great romance with Catherine Hepburn and Cary Grant). At any time you might find on my CD player Evanescence, Willie Nelson and Porgy and Bess. I think the only place you’d probably never find me is at a Toby Keith concert or playing golf. Other than that, I’m open to about anything.

It translates into my writing. I think it’s because I read everything. But if I’m caught too long in one genre, I feel suffocated. There’s just so much to see, to say, to create. So many different ways to do it. And I want to do them all. Which, of course, does my career no good. But the sad truth is, I can’t write to order. If I’m not involved with the words, they simply don’t end up on the page. So I’m researching another medico-forensic suspense, finishing the last of my fairy trilogy for Silhouette and seeing an erotic paranormal published with two other people. And I’m about to put together a proposal for something completely different(can you hear my agent groan?). It’s why I’m evil twins. For now. Who know? There may be more of us? It’s the only way I can do it.

eileen/kathleen, the evil twins

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