Wednesday, July 07, 2010

An Intern's View: R.J. Ellory at Partners & Crime Mystery Booksellers

Our fearless publicity intern Michael meets British thriller writer R.J. Ellory in this latest dispatch from the front lines:

"As someone who is still adjusting to the rigors of working long hours indoors at an office, there is no greater joy than the much coveted out of office assignment (even on days as hot as these past few have been). This past week I had the supreme pleasure of hauling some posters down to Partners & Crime, one of my favorite NYC bookstores (located at 44 Greenwich Avenue) for the purpose of promoting an author reading that took place last night, July 6th at 7:00 pm.

The only thing that can make an out of office assignment better than a run of the mill errand is the opportunity to meet an Overlook author. Yesterday I met not only R.J. Ellory, author of the recently published novel The Anniversary Man and guest of honor/reader/book-signer at last night’s event, but I was also introduced to Overlook authors David Carnoy and Peter Quinn. In the case of Ellory, I actually had a chance to chat with him in the office and was impressed with his ability to confuse me with a bona fide Overlook employee.

Although I’ve worked at other Overlook sanctioned events in the past (loyal readers will recall my rainy night at an Amanda Palmer concert last month), this was my first official author reception and I was more than impressed with the turnout. Perhaps even more entertaining than the selected passage that Ellory chose to read from his latest novel was his improvised question and answer discussion with the audience that followed. Roger answered several queries at great length, ranging in topic from his own personal history as a writer, his choice of “the American canvas” as a subject for so many of his books, his favorite writers, and the twenty-two unpublished novels he has written that are collecting dust in his England loft.

Ellory’s most insightful quip arrived when he attempted to define “classic” literature – books like Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood or the works of Annie Proulx and Willa Cather – the literature he most cherishes as a reader and the kind he strives to emulate and write himself. He defines these genreless classics as those that are so compellingly crafted and paced that they can’t be read fast enough yet so beautifully written they must be savored slowly.

Although I didn’t stick around long enough to get my copies of Anniversary Man or A Quiet Belief in Angels signed, I was able to at least score some free dinner (catered events are by far the best), which is more than enough to entice me to attend Overlook’s next New York author reading. David Carnoy, author of Knife Music will be reading at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes and Noble next week on Thursday July 15th at 7:30 pm."

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