I’e2’80’99m putting together the quarterly newsletter, which will go out some time in November, and in addition to the cover of THE ART OF DETECTION and maybe a photo of me in England, I’e2’80’99m trying to decide what I want to write.

Author newsletters occupy one of those tricky areas between promotion and the personal touch. Nobody wants junk mail; I dare say, nobody wants to write junk mail. When I put together a newsletter, I try to fill it with things that might interest, amuse, and maybe even inform my readers’e2’80’94an upcoming book or event, how I’e2’80’99m doing on the book in progress, a certain amount of what I’e2’80’99m doing outside the writing sphere, that sort of thing.

However, due to the nature of the beast, there’e2’80’99s not much feedback. I assume that those who don’e2’80’99t actually take their names off the mailing list find something of use on the newsletter, but basically I keep it short, sweet, and to the point, figuring that if anyone wants to hear me blither on, they can come to the blog or spend a few weeks reading their way through the web site.

But I’e2’80’99d like to know, if anyone out there has any specific thing they like to see in author newsletters, could you mention it here? Progress of the next book, sure, and mention of upcoming events, but beyond that, what? Thanksgiving recipes? Tales of the cat? Fashion tips?

Suggestions welcome, and in turn, may I suggest that if you want to see said photo and cover, and you’e2’80’99re not on the mailing list, you might like to sign up here.

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  1. KB on October 26, 2005 at 6:55 pm

    I vote for tales of the cat and fashion tips!! I’m also always interested in tips/ideas for us budding (or “budless”??) writers…How do you flesh out a character? What’s most important to building a character? Anything you’ve learned about writing dialogue? Plot suggestions–how do you come up with your ideas? This is all pretty basic, and maybe trivial to spend your time on, but as a novice, I’m always curious how to improve these things. Would classes help? Sitting in train stations listening to people talk? Your writing sings to me and I’d so like to know more about the process. Maybe just a brief space for the “mechanics” of writing in each newsletter?

    Thanks, Kim

  2. Ris on October 26, 2005 at 8:56 pm

    Along with how authors approach the writing and editing process, I like to see what other hobbies and passions authors pursue that have nothing to do with writing. And since you do so much research for your stories, maybe you have some bits of historical trivia that don’t make it into the books you might like to share. Having done my fair share of research projects, I know that inevitably cool bits of history get left out of the final product.

    Thanks for giving us a chance to chime in!


  3. riobonito on October 26, 2005 at 9:02 pm

    Hi Laurie, being an armchair traveler for the most part. I truly enjoy hearing about your trips. Even reports of the mundane amuse me. I suppose since your fan club is so wide spread, those in the British Isles might not enjoy reading about the bad motel experience you had, or the rising damp or those in warmer climes your dead-eye account of killing the cockroach. To me, it was a fun read. So I guess I’m easy to please, as I love a Laurie King travelogue!

  4. Geri on October 27, 2005 at 1:00 am


    I’d love to know what other fiction you’re reading, how you come up with a story, what intrigues you about mysteries.

  5. Rebecca on October 27, 2005 at 1:03 am

    I’m with the others who’ve said more about your writing process and any “tips” you might offer are always fascinating.

  6. WDI on October 27, 2005 at 1:36 am

    I’ve enjoyed all the newsletters so far, so whatever you’ve been doing, it’s been good for me 🙂 But I also like all the other stuff mentioned already, with cool research trivia at the top of my list. And, although I’m not a writer, I am fascinated by the process, so that’s good too. And who wouldn’t like tales of the cat??

  7. Katy on October 27, 2005 at 3:16 am

    I vote for random funny happenings, cat stories and outside hobbies having nothing to do with writing, or very little at least. If you’ve ever read a Jon Carroll column, you know how funny cat stories can be.

  8. Kat on October 27, 2005 at 5:09 am

    As a budding economist myself, I’m always up for stories of your daughter’s adventures at LSE. (Does she have a blog?) Of course, it’s probably more appropriate to stick those in the blog than in the newsletter.

    As for the newsletter, how about a Top 10 list of interesting trivia encountered in research? You could also do a highlights-from-the-blog section that has brief summaries and links–I’m sure there are dozens of newsletter recipients who would, like me, delight in rolling on the floor laughing at the cockroach story. As a twist on the tales of the cat bit, you could have the cat ‘guest write’ a brief commentary its adventures and on odd things its person has done lately. Mystery fans in general are, I believe, absolute suckers for things written from the feline POV. [See also: runaway success of Sneaky Pie Brown series.]

    Always glad to chime in,

  9. Chris on October 27, 2005 at 9:15 am

    All of the above!

    Being in the UK, I did enjoy reading about all of your experiences on your last trip, so throw all that in as well! (Even the bad hotel bits…)

    Love to hear what you’ve been getting up to at book events, and progress on works, although obviously all of that is here on the Blog. Maybe updates on the UK (and European?) end of the books? US/UK cover art side-by-side, although I know that makes me sound really selfish. (But heck. If you don’t ask, you don’t get…)

    Come to the Harrogate Crime Festival next year and persuade A&B to chip in with costs, then that will make a great subject for a newsletter next year. It looked such fun this year! Herewith an invitation to be on the Val McDermid website Forum Members Quiz Team!

    Best wishes

  10. Anonymous on October 27, 2005 at 12:56 pm

    Cat tales are always welcome. Feline comments on the goings-on of your detectives would be a sure-fire hit.

    Hey – one such even got me to the Crozet, VA (yes, there IS such a place!) arts & crafts fair one year. What I bought? Cat dishes!

  11. Anonymous on October 27, 2005 at 6:20 pm

    HI Laurie!

    How ’bout some of those recipes? I’m always trying to come up with something to feed the family. Also, any data re:Russell/Holmes is appreciated.

  12. Linda M C on October 27, 2005 at 7:52 pm

    Your writing is so delicious, I’ve devoured every one of your books since picking up the first one 3 months ago… And after a Laruie King bookfeast, well, everything else is pretty darn flat-tasting!
    It doesn’t appear that you will be cloning yourself any time soon, so I’d love to know who your favorite authors are.

  13. Sarah on October 28, 2005 at 4:23 am

    Hi, Laurie!
    As others have said, I’d love anything on the writing/editing process and maybe what you’re currently reading.
    Thanks so much for providing the newsletters, I love reading them.

  14. Charlotte on October 28, 2005 at 6:49 am

    Hi Laurie-
    I absolutely loved your look at religious considerations (bad word, but ‘spiritual’ has even more baggage). I mean what lies at the core -and what the Old and New Testaments address. Please, more like “To Play the Fool” This god talk is important to me and I appreciate hearing it from a woman with eyes wide open and modern sensibilities.
    “A Darker Place” fascinated and disturbed me because I recognized it, but had not seen it described before. Where did that come from? You wrote about people I used to know.
    For straight fun, let Mary Russell prevail in some more adventures.
    And thanks for it all.

  15. Caroline on October 28, 2005 at 8:34 am

    I love the way you look at the world. I’d love to hear of how the world and your travels in it inform and change your writing in general and in particular how it might have changed the course of a story when you’re off doing on-site travel research.
    The above aside, I truly enjoy the bits of your world you’re comfortable including in the newsletter.
    all the best,

  16. 2maple on October 28, 2005 at 1:40 pm

    I’d vote for a smorgasbord. I’m a reader more than a writer (and that is not saying that the insight into another world/career isn’t interesting). The ideas in your writing make me laugh, sit back and think, or make me feel not alone. I guess ideas come from experiences.

    Another thought might be to look back at your blog and see what actually generated the most responses……..

    A question for the “economists” out there – How would you explain what it is and what you can do with it? I think its something my daughter might like given her natural tendancies, but as a science junkie I don’t have more than gut impressions to go on. Some words or ideas would be helpful.

  17. Liz on October 29, 2005 at 4:15 am

    You could always open the field to questions (“If you had Laurie at your mercy, and could buy her a drink and ask ONE question, what would it be?”) and then dole out the answers over a series of newslettes. That could keep everyone busy for … years!

    (I would like to vote against cat stories, please.)

  18. Anonymous on November 3, 2005 at 3:22 am

    A bit late in on this; glad you made it back from the desert. I’d be especially interested in what you are reading and WHY; setting aside the things you must read as a judge on a panel, etc. I love the writing stuff but it’s so detailed perhaps it’s best suited to blog land.–Meredith T.

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