Writing by design

The summer theme at the Santa Cruz public library this summer is Reading by Design.

Come join us at the downtown branch on July 20, 6:30-8:00 PM, as I talk about the design of a mystery from idea to final publication: how does research work in, how much do I know about a story before I write it, and what does a writer do when outlining isn’t their native language?  

I’ll mostly be talking about The Murder of Mary Russell, but also this year’s Lockdown and…maybe… next year’s Island of the Mad.


  1. KarenB on July 7, 2017 at 8:48 am

    A title!!! A new title to obsess over!! Although it sounds like where we in the US are currently living . . .

    On another topic, the idea of community, of threads weaving and interacting, from reading Lockdown seems to have taken over a piece of my brain causing me to look at and reconsider relationships in communities that I’m involved in. It occurs to me that that may be the ultimate tribute to an author – not only the ability to create a new world for a reader to inhabit, but to enable that reader to see their own world in a new light. So thank you for nudging my brain into some new paths.

  2. susan on July 7, 2017 at 10:06 am

    this sounds really wonderful, too bad i do not live anywhere near Santa Cruz! not only is this good for those of us who love your work, but also, i think, encouraging to new authors! thank you! and enjoy!

  3. Jenn on September 4, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    I don’t know much about the background of your writing Touchstone and Bones of Paris, but after reading all of your books over many years I finally read that latter one, happily finding (by dumb luck) that it fit in with my current studies on Hemingway. In my copy of A Moveable Feast’s Paris Sketches section, “On Writing in the First Person,” I just underlined “My own small experiences gave me a touchstone by which I could tell whether stories were true or false and being wounded was a password.” This wasn’t likely the idea that set off the Touchstone books, but it’s interesting to think that it might have been.

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