Friday, January 28, 2011

The Warwick's Questionnaire: Graham Moore

The so-called Proust Questionnaire was originally a 19th-century parlor game designed to reveal bits of the soul, personality, & deep secrets of the participants through a series of pointed questions.  Versions of the quiz were re-popularized in the 20th-century by Vanity Fair and Inside the Actors Studio.  Our version - The Warwick's Questionnaire - is a series of ten questions designed to plumb the depths of the souls of visiting authors.

Graham Moore is the author of the novel, The Sherlockian, a graduate of the religious studies program at Columbia University, and an awesome Monopoly player. You can check out his blog, The Sherlockian to learn about all things, well, Sherlockian. (As in Sherlock Holmes.)

1. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
  • I have never lost a game of Monopoly. (True story.)
2. What is your greatest fear?
  • This is one of those question that most people must just answer "clowns" to, isn't it? And those who don't say "clowns" are clearly lying.
3. If you were a superhero, what would your power be?
  • Finding lost objects. It occasionally occurs to me that in the amount of time I have spent looking for car keys, house keys, socks, random documents, cuff links, and the like I could have easily written another novel by now.
4. If you could bring one writer back from the dead, who would it be?
  • It would almost seem mean for me to answer anything other than "Arthur Conan Doyle," right, since I just wrote a whole book about him?
5. What is your most treasured possession?
  • (Sigh) My car. This officially makes me a horrible person, but it's true. I live in LA. I'm sorry. The car was the first thing I bought with the advance from my book, and it has air conditioning. My previous car did not have air conditioning. It was a really big moment in my life.
6. Which living person do you most admire?
  • This is cheesy, but my little brother Evan. He's like a perfected version of me. All the good parts, none of the bad parts. I just want to be him.
7. If you were not able to be in the writing profession, what would your preferred occupation be?
  • Record producer, hands down. I actually worked as a record producer and sound engineer for years before I started getting paid for the writing. It was my day job of sorts for five years, except that I did it at night while writing during the day. I still miss it a lot. There's something so unique about being in the studio with a group of musicians, just making something, together, communally. You don't get that with writing.
8. What would your Baker Street Irregular "investiture" be? (From Graham's website: Investiture -  (n) Every member of the Baker Street Irregulars is given an official title, or nickname, upon their admittance into the group. This is called his or her “investiture.” These investitures are all titles, phrases or characters from the Canon. E.g., “The Abbey Grange,” or “The Giant Rat of Sumatra.”)
  • Well, it's awfully presumptuous to consider investing oneself in the Irregulars. But my dream investiture would probably be "Simpson's," or something revolving around the place. It was Holmes' favorite local restaurant. I eat a lot. Seems like it would make sense.
9. What are you most looking forward to on your tour stop in San Diego?
  • I have been told that San Diego fish tacos are different from LA fish tacos. I have every intention of investigating this.
10. What is your motto?
  • Arthur Conan Doyle had three rules for the aspiring writer, and I have them tacked above my desk where I work every day. They are, in order of importance, "1) Be intelligible. 2) Be interesting. 3) Be clever." I think this is absolutely perfect, and the best writing advice I've ever heard.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Debut Author Erin Kelly brings her Poison Tree to the 'Wick

Fans of Tana French rejoice! No, she doesn’t have a new novel out yet, but debut author Erin Kelly will most assuredly captivate fans of French’s fluid prose and suspenseful plots. The Poison Tree is a winding road of intrigue and psychological drama. Kelly’s prose unfolds brilliantly, smoothly interweaving past and present as the narrator, Karen, tells of her mystifying, obsessive relationship with the Capel siblings and the murder which took place one hot, drug-filled summer.

This book is mesmerizing in that the reader is never quite sure who in this shady cast of characters was murdered until the very end of the novel. Told in the first person, the narrative is filled with secrets and lies with the narrator successfully manipulating the reader with red herrings and partial truths. The story journeys through the events of that summer, occasionally flicking into the a present 10 years on where Karen is raising a daughter and Rex Capel has been released from prison, having served ten years for manslaughter. Kelly successfully draws on those past events to create a tense present for Karen and Rex, as everything Karen holds dear is placed on a knife-edged balance, teetering out of her carefully held control.

A thoroughly enjoyable psychological suspense, well written, with a twist of an ending sure to jolt readers from any sense of complacency, The Poison Tree is a must read for any lover of the genre.

And because I’m a shameless promoter of Warwick’s events, Erin will be speaking and signing here at Warwick’s on Wednesday, January 19th at 7:30pm. As part of a new debut author program we will not only be serving refreshments, but will also offer a 20% discount off the price of The Poison Tree (that night only).