Wednesday, April 6, 2011
When Sara T Met Sara P
Many, many years, when I was still trying to find my place in the adult world of work, I was a book shop assistant in London. I enjoyed being surrounded by books all day. I wasn't quite so fond of dealing with the customers, but that's a different story.
One of the good things about this job, however, was that every once in a while a famous author would come to us to do a signing session and we'd be given the chance to meet them. One day Sara Paretsky came to see us, to promote her book BURN MARKS.
I hadn't read any of her books at that time. But I was just getting into crime, and then, as now, strong-minded independent female characters attracted me. So I bought a copy of the book and got her to sign it for me.
Ever since I read that book, Sara Paretsky has inspired me. I love her tough-talking private eye V I Warshawski, who is forever the voice of the oppressed and the forgotten minority of America. And who remains, to me, such a positive female role model in a world where there's a chronic shortage of strong female characters in the literary world.
So you can imagine how excited I was when I had the opportunity to meet Sara Paretsky again, more than twenty years later, when Mystery Women helped to organise events for her UK tour recently, to promote the latest VI Warshawski book BODY WORK.
Sara Paretsky was in conversation with Natasha Cooper at Waterstones Piccadilly, London, on 16 March. After the event, she and her publisher came to chat to us, and she signed my copy of BODY WORK (that's me and some of the other Mystery Women with Sara in the picture). Sadly, I was reduced to a lot of fan girl wibbling. However, Ms Paretsky had flown in from Chicago only the day before and was still somewhat jet-lagged - so fortunately for me she may not have noticed the wibbling too much.
I hope to have the opportunity to meet the marvellous Sara Paretsky again at Bouchercon in St Louis this year, where she is receiving a lifetime achievement award. On that occasion, it will probably be me suffering from the jet-lag.
Until then, I have BODY WORK to read.