My thanks for a year

Well, that’s about done and dusted for 2010: anyone ready for a new year?

I’ve never been much for New Year’s Resolutions—who needs to start a clean slate with a cloud of threat and incipient guilt over her head?  But taking down a heavily marked-up calendar whose dozen images you know by heart and replacing it with pristine white squares (2010’s kitchen calendar, stared at daily while waiting for the kettle to boil, had Carl Warner foodscapes; 2011’s is handmade, images of my daughter’s travel year) encourages a person to flip back through the pages, to where the year began.

A year ago, we’d made it through our first Christmas without Noel, and packed away the decorations with a certain amount of relief.  But from there, the year grew brighter, starting with a bang on January 15 when I was given the astonishing honor of being invested into the Baker Street Irregulars.

Then in March, I began an experiment of writing while on the road, spending some weeks in Portugal while working on the first draft of Pirate King, which I found both surprisingly productive and a whole lot of fun—especially a side-trip to Morocco, which I hadn’t intended to use in that novel but found it rather taking over my plans…

At the end of April, I left Lisbon to spend a glorious few days (fewer than intended, thanks to that Icelandic geothermal event—remember Eyjafjallajökull?) in southern France.  Mary Russell will have to go there one of these books, although I’ll be forced, totally against my will you understand, to return.  Just so I get the details right.  I made it back to the US in time for the God of the Hive book tour, where friends far and wide flew in to Boston to celebrate the launch, and turned up for events across the country.

In June, I wrote madly, and finished the first draft just in time to leave for the UK and another publication party, where again, I had the pleasure of meeting friends old and new.  And in October came BoucherCon, which felt less like a conference than a party put on so the guest of honor could have a great time with her buddies.

Looking back through that much-scribbled calendar, friendship is what I see.  Friends (I’m not going to name everyone; you know I’m talking about you) who travelled far to see me, whose enthusiasm shot the book onto bestseller lists, who talked it up to friends and wrote to tell me they’d enjoyed it.  Friends who shared their expertise, making me look smart and keeping me from appearing the idiot I would have looked like otherwise.  Friends who politely overlooked acts and words of pure idiocy or apparent rudeness.  Friends who welcomed me and brought me coffee and offered me shelter; friends who introduced me to ideas and places I’d never have discovered on my own; friends who threw themselves wholeheartedly into the myriad elements of the online celebration of God of the Hive; miraculous friends who shouldered some of the busy-ness of life and handed me hours to spend putting words on a page.  Friends who laughed at my jokes and pretended they hadn’t heard them before.  Friends who made me feel clever.

And above all, friends who bought the books—who keep buying the books—thus making the publisher happy enough to offer me another contract.

2010 was rich with friends, and I am blessed indeed to feel that 2011 may be more of the same.

Thank you, all, for your friendship, and may your new year contain even a part of the joy that 2010 has brought me.

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  1. annburns on December 31, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Happy New Year, Laurie. Thank you for a year of postings that give a glimpse of your writing life and travels. I look forward to buying your new book in 2011 and all your other books as long as you care to write them. All the best to you and your family – cheers – Ann

  2. Pat Floyd on December 31, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Laurie, it’s you who have expanded the bounds of friendship for all of us: First, creating literary friends who are available at a moment’s notice to revisit at any hour of the day or night; then beginning VBC as a place of stimulation, civility, and friendship so that when we meet in person we already feel like old friends; and being gracious and available yourself for those of us lucky enough to meet you in person. Thank you, and may 2011 be a very joyful and productive year for you.
    Happy New Year!

  3. strawberry curls on December 31, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    As many of us have found on the VBC, Pat says what we feel, but says it with such elegance, intelligence and panache that anything further would be superfluous. **Picture me nodding away like mad at all that you have said, Pat**

    The friendships formed because of Mary Russell are a blessing to each of us. Thank you for everything, Laurie. Happy New Year to all the Russellians.


  4. Meredith on January 1, 2011 at 12:12 am

    Glasses raised!


  5. Gail Lelyveld on January 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Happy New Year! I enjoy reading and responding to everything. I look forward to what you all have to say. Happy New Year Laurie. I look forward to the new book.

  6. Sabiny on January 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Laurie, I discovered the Mary Russell books for the first time this year and was completely caught up by them. Your writing is brilliant and witty, and I totally can’t wait for Pirate King to come out. I’m a young mother who likes to write and the Mutterings on your writing process and experiences have been inspiring to read. Thank you for sharing with us and go travel some more so you can write more books!

  7. Linda on January 2, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Laurie, This weekend has been spent thinking about 2010, including the books I read. Particularly strong memories are attached to re-reading the first nine Russell/Holmes books in anticipation of God of the Hive. A true highlight of the year was being at the Borders in Falls Church, VA, where you read, spoke with us and signed books. AND, without a doubt, the dinner after with you and the incredible group from the VBC! I couldn’t make it to Bouchercon 2010, but will be in St. Louis for B’con 2011. My New Years resolution is to spend more time on your amazing website and be ready to read Pirate King this September before coming to St. Louis. Thank you for all the amazing books (Russell/Holmes, Kate M. and all the others), for inspiring people to read and love books, and for sharing so much with us on your website. Here’s to 2011! [Raising a glass!] Linda in VA

  8. Erin on January 3, 2011 at 11:14 am

    As Alice pointed out, Pat has said it all, so I’ll just say Happy New Year Laurie!

  9. RussellHolmes on January 3, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Happy New Year! (*clink*)

  10. TheMadLibrarian on January 4, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Another belated toast! Your Russell books are on the short list of acquisitions in my home library now, catching fire with other readers across the state.

    ~~TheMadLibrarian, from near a Maui beach

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