Working Stiffs welcomes the wonderful Kelli Stanley as our guest today!
by Kelli Stanley
In the inimitable words of Frank Sinatra, I’m calling on all working stiffs to “come fly with me” and celebrate!What, you may rightly ask, has triggered this exuberance? Am I enjoying an early cocktail? Had one too many pieces of dark chocolate? Crazy?
No on the first two, and I’m not significantly more insane than I used to be. I’m celebrating a number of things with today’s post, and specifically a common, computerized, ugly little thing called a … barcode. (No, I don’t mean the kind that says you always tip the mixologist.)
Today I received the ISBN number for my next book, CITY OF DRAGONS. And this, my friends, is a small symbol of a dream come true. Here—I’ll start at the beginning.
Way back when (it seems a lot longer than two and a half years ago)—January 17, 2007, to be exact—I opened my email and found that NOX DORMIENDA was accepted for publication. I’ve loved every minute of the journey with Five Star, the small publisher that took a big risk on an odd historical noir with a Latin title.
Since publication in July of last year, NOX had the amazing honor of winning the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award this March and is currently nominated for a Macavity (Sue Feder Memorial Historical Mystery). I never thought this would happen or could happen. I am blessed beyond my ability to describe it.
And … here’s the “come fly with me” part … the Italian rights have been sold. My “Roman noir”, set in first-century Roman Britain, will actually be available for sale (as a mass-market paperback) in Rome!
So what does this have to do with a barcode? Well, here’s the dream come true part: I sold a two-book series to Thomas Dunne/St. Martin’s back in January. Y’ see, my life goal—my driving desire, my obsession, if you will—is to be able to write full-time. Not live luxuriously, of course—but to survive with a modest income from writing fiction. I’ve got a lot of books inside of me—contemporary stand-alones, series, thrillers—waiting to come out.
I work pretty much around the clock, hoping to attain this someday. And because I didn’t want to get typed as a solely “Roman” writer—and because I knew I had little chance of getting NOX and its sequels picked up by a major publisher—I pursued another love of my writing life and created CITY OF DRAGONS … a dark novel of 1940 San Francisco.
The protagonist is Miranda Corbie—a femme fatale in the hero’s role. She’s a PI. A former Spanish Civil War nurse. And an ex-escort.
The novel opens in Chinatown, with a murder no one wants solved. A Japanese-American teenager is shot to death during a festival for Chinese war relief. The Sino-Japanese War is still raging, three years after the Rape of Nanking. So chalk up the murder to racial hatred, the cops say. Let it ride.
Miranda doesn’t. And that’s CITY OF DRAGONS. It’s coming out next February, hopefully in time for Chinese New Year and the 80th Anniversary of the publication of The Maltese Falcon.
Because I’ve been lucky enough to sell CITY OF DRAGONS and its sequel to a major publisher, I now have an actual shot at—eventually—attaining my end game goal: to write full-time.I’ve got a long way to go, of course … but in between all the late nights and missed phone calls and skipped TV shows—the thrown-together meals and the computer eye strain that is all part of being a working writer and a working stiff—I celebrate. And today, I’m celebrating my barcode, because that makes it all the more real … and all the more possible.
So … couple of questions for you, and I hope you’ll help me throw an online party, right here and now! One, if you could sell foreign rights anywhere in the world (and with all money being equal)—what language would you want your book in and why?
And two—what “little” things represent big things in your experience? ISBNs?