Wow, do I have a lot to tell you! I just got home from one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time, and I have author Michael Connelly and the Sony Readers book club to thank for it. A few months ago, I mentioned that I’d been selected as one of the VIP members for a new book club called The Sony Readers. As part of that program, my fellow readers and I flew to Los Angeles to spend the weekend chatting with the Sony folks and to meet mystery author Michael Connelly in one of our book club chats. It. Was. Amazing.
Meeting a “big-time” author has been a lifelong dream of mine, so needless to say I was beyond thrilled when I found out about this opportunity. Here’s a shot of us with Michael Connelly after our chat on Saturday. (You can kind of see me peeking out in the back.)
To prep for this weekend, The Sony Readers read Connelly’s latest book, THE BLACK BOX, the latest in the Harry Bosch series. In our chat, he mentioned that he wanted to do something special for this book because it was the twentieth anniversary of writing about Harry Bosch, so THE BLACK BOX deals with a cold case that Bosch opened during the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
When we arrived in Los Angeles on Friday night, the wonderful girls from Sony surprised us with a murder-mystery dinner in honor of our chat. We were told to trust no one, and that we should question everyone immediately. The dinner was fantastic, and even with all the shootings, stabbings, and poisoned water floating around, we had an amazing time. In the end, it turned out that hell hath no fury like a homecoming queen scorned, and extortion doesn’t pay. It was a great time getting to know everyone!
During our chat on Saturday, Connelly took questions from our group and those who tuned in on Facebook and Twitter. We talked about everything from his motivation for some of Harry Bosch’s traits to his writing process, and even about how he does his research (hint: like Castle, he does work with some people in the police department!). For more details or to read the notes from our whole conversation, check out the Sony Reader page on Facebook or search for the #sonyreader hashtag on Twitter. One of the things that stood out most to me was something Connelly said while discussing his overall writing process. Earlier in the chat, he mentioned that he didn’t usually write from an outline and that he didn’t know how Harry Bosch’s story would end. I asked him about his writing process since he didn’t usually work from an outline. He mentioned that it normally took him around ten months to write and polish a story to the point where he felt it was ready for his editor, and that he usually worked through three drafts (although sometimes four or five) before he felt it was ready. The most important factor, he said, was making sure you spend time to write every day, even if it’s for no more than fifteen minutes. Writing something each day helps inspire creativity for later, and so it’s important that you touch your writing on a daily basis.
Although writing every day is something all writers will suggest, something about the way Michael Connelly explained it really resonated with me. As we chatted, he shared that during his days as a journalist, there was no such thing as writer’s block. You had to write something daily, and because of that, he’s been able to follow this rule for himself in his own writings. It’s great advice, and I’m going to do my best to follow it from now on.
After our book club event ended, we had some free time and opted to head to Hollywood Blvd to do some touring. A few of the other VIPs and I took a Hollywood tour, visited the Chinese theater and the walk of fame, and just generally enjoyed the Los Angeles atmosphere. Here are a few things we discovered on our trip:
1. The folks dressed up as superheroes and actors on Hollywood Blvd. do ask you to pay them if you take photos of or with them.
2. The general population is very … diverse. You’ll see combinations here that you may not have known existed before your trip.
3. Stilettos are ALWAYS the right shoe choice.
4. There could be a celebrity around every corner.
5. The Coffee Bean is an excellent choice for coffee/tea, and
you should absolutely it is required that you visit Joan’s on Third for at least one meal. Or, you know, all of them.
I could share so much more, but for now, I’ll just tease you with a few more pictures.