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Friday, March 12, 2004

Top o' the morning 

The British Book Trade Awards, otherwise known as part one of the Nibbies, were awarded last night. Ottakar's was named the Bookselling Company of the Year, Abacus took home the Imprint prize, and Profile won for Best Small Publisher--a feat determined, no doubt, by the success of Lynne Truss's EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES.

So the whole book club thing--obviously, it hasn't had its day yet, what Oprah's return to it, the Today Show, Richard & Judy, and other TV programs on the bandwagon. But they aren't limited to the screen; there's a huge online presence as well, as Caryn James finds out.

Looks like the cover price removal that was threatening to take hold in UK bookshops might be on hold. A backlash has developed thanks to Ottakar's and Amazon UK joining the fray of dissent that had been started by a group of authors and agents. Looks like Borders is left sitting in a corner, alone and lonely.

Richard Zimler lives in Portugal and writes historical novels about Sephardic Jews throughout the Diaspora. The second of which, HUNTING MIDNIGHT, is out now, and he talks about it to the Independent. I must say that these books sound fascinating to me because of the differences of culture and tradition that Sephardic Jews have, and so I'll be looking for a copy of this and the earlier book (THE LAST KABBALIST OF LISBON) as soon as I can.

Laurie Lynn Drummond is profiled in Columbus This Week about her stellar collection of short stories, ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. She also reveals a few choice snippets about her upcoming novel, MOTHER BLIND, which tells the story of a young woman returning to her hometown of Baton Rouge to discover the truth behind her mother's murder. Is it crime fiction, or beyond genre conventions? Only time will tell, I suppose.

Drummond was also interviewed last week by Karen Bates at NPR to delve further into the inspiration behind the collection, and how much her life as a police officer infused the stories with authenticity and realism.

Speaking of interviews, there's a fabulous one of Scott Phillips as he talks to Rick Kleffel about COTTONWOOD, his well-reviewed 19th Century Western. But this is no ordinary Western--it's mean, nasty, with a hell of a lot of sex and violence. More reasons why I adored the book, really...

Which reminds me that I'd been remiss in checking out Kleffel's Agony Column, only to find a wide variety of neat little nuggets. Terry D'Auray covers the mystery beat there and recently reviewed Victor Gischler's debut GUN MONKEYS and INTERROGATIONS, my buddy Jon Jordan's collection of author interviews.

Justin Scott has been a dependable mystery writer for many years, though he's only just returned from a bit of a hiatus with the latest Ben Abbott mystery. The Newtown Bee profiles him as he prepares to give a talk about Robert Louis Stevenson's TREASURE ISLAND and its influence on him and the genre.

Things are going very well for Linda Barnes, as she tells the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Her newest Carlotta Carlyle novel, DEEP POCKETS, is accompanied by the reissuing of her backlist, and she has two more novels in the works.

And finally, there's Viggo Mortensen. Actor, scruffy guy, and avant-garde publisher? I'm still trying to wrap my head around the concept, too.

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