Thursday, August 20, 2009

Missing No More

Three years ago, when I surveyed Rap Sheet readers to determine which “long-missing crime novelists” they would most like to see producing new books, I tried to contact Martha C. Lawrence. She’d published five novels over six years (beginning with 1995’s Murder in Scorpio), all featuring a San Diego private eye and parapsychologist, Dr. Elizabeth Chase. For her efforts, she received a Shamus Award nomination. But then Lawrence abruptly ... vanished. Or so it seemed. E-mail messages sent in her direction brought no further responses, and her Web page ceased to be updated. I never was able to figure out what had become of her.

On Wednesday of this week, however, a note from Lawrence suddenly reached subscribers to the DorothyL listserv, forwarded by Southern California crime-fiction reader and CrimeSpace member Suzanne Epstein. “Someone was wondering what happened to Martha C. Lawrence ...,” Epstein wrote in introduction to Lawrence’s message. “I have recently communicated with her, and she told me I can share this with you.” (Epstein explained to me in a subsequent e-mail message that “Martha is a Facebook friend of mine, although I’ve known her for many years.”) Here’s Lawrence’s explanation of what she has been up to recently:
Am I writing? you ask. Every day, actually. I’m just not writing murder mysteries.

A funny thing happened to me after 9/11. I was in the midst of writing a big, violence-filled thriller at the time those planes hit the Twin Towers. That was the same week Ashes of Aries was published. Since all the planes were grounded, I did as much of my author tour as I could by car. Two weeks later when I returned to my thriller, I had lost all enthusiasm for a story that was essentially about a gun-toting hero chasing down an evildoer. By that time there was entirely too much talk about hunting down evildoers and I didn’t want to add to that gestalt.

For the past six years I’ve been the behind-the-scenes writing partner of Ken Blanchard, author of such mega-bestsellers as The One Minute Manager, Raving Fans, and Gung Ho! In 2005 Ken was inducted into the Amazon Hall of Fame as one of the bestselling authors of all time--but that’s not why I love working with him. His books are about unleashing people’s power and potential to impact the greater good, to quote Leading at a Higher Level, one of our titles that will be re-released this fall.

Will I write more fiction? I’m sure I will. But having this opportunity to write with a) one of the seminal thinkers of our time and b) one of the most loveable, inspiring human beings I’ve ever met is just too rare an opportunity to pass up.

Please send the good folks at Dorothy L my best. I’m honored that they think of me.

I don’t know Lawrence well; we simply shared a nice lunch and lots of laughter one afternoon in Seattle, years ago. I liked her. And it’s good to know that she’s still out there somewhere. It gives me hope that we’ll also someday hear whatever happened to other missing mystery makers, such as Karen Kijewski, author of the Kat Colorado series, and William Jasperson, the creator of ex-baseball pitcher, fly fisherman, and sleuth Peter Boone.

1 comment:

Janet Rudolph said...

Glad to learn that Martha is still out there writing, even if not mysteries at this time.