Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Bragging about Sheila York
Our Blogmate Sheila York launches her latest NO BROKEN HEARTS this week. Here is what I know about Sheila and her book.
First the lady: I know Sheila from working with her for the New York Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Despite working a demanding job and managing to write a wonderful book every year, Sheila serves as the volunteer treasurer of our chapter and has done so for several years. Her service requires a level of attention and dedication that is hardly noticed by any of the chapter members. Unlike being the president, which puts one in front of all the chapter's gatherings and garners gratitude and name recognition, what Sheila does is totally behind the scenes. Few of us realize what an important and time-consuming contribution she makes. And with what dedication and grace.
The thing I most appreciate about Sheila is the lightness with which she wears all these efforts, how she comes through undaunted and smiling after experiences that would make most people snarl. Here's just one example. Last month, we both attended a writers conference in central Pennsylvania. I went a day early and stayed overnight. Having had to work late the evening before, Sheila got up at four in the morning the day of the event and drove for four hours to get there on time. She proceeded to serve with smiles, insight and wit on a panel, to chat with the other participants, to charm readers and colleagues alike.
Then afterwards, we decided to have dinner together. NO surprise to me--despite how much she had already done that day, she was a delightful dinner companion. When it came to finding our hotel afterwards, I offered to show her the way by following the GPS in my car. I was confident; for more than twenty-four hours I had followed the device to successfully negotiate to me unknown territory. Off we went from the restaurant at about nine pm. (Please keep in mind how long the day had already been for Sheila.) This is when disaster struck: the way indicated to the hotel was to drive about three miles (It was pitch dark) and then to take an exit off the highway. That exit was closed because of reconstruction. It was then that the GPS had a nervous breakdown. It sent us around in circles for an hour and finally ended by saying, "Turn right, turn right, turn right, turn right," until I pulled into a gas station and shut the ^%&&^ing thing off. I got out of my car and went to Sheila's to express my dismay and apologize. She rolled down her window and laughed. She LAUGHED! Where do you find a friend with such forbearance?
Her writing: Sheila's writing is exactly like her. She puts a great deal of work into her books--meticulous research to recreate 1940's Hollywood, enormous attention to detail, creative twists and turns of plot, characters that read like people you wished lived next-door or that you are enormously glad you don't have to meet in a dark alley. She polishes her work to a sheen. And when it is done, she makes it look as if it was effortless. Reading her books is like watching Fred Astaire dance. None of the hours of practice and sweat show at all. Just the froth and the fun.
I had the privilege of previewing NO BROKEN HEART, her latest, which launched yesterday. As with the others in the series, I loved it. Read it. And be prepared to stay up until you get to the last page.
at 10:32 AM