Monday, August 07, 2006
A little murder, a little music
This is going to be soooo very awesome...
A couple of months ago, the lovely and refined Virginia Barker, executive director of the Lake Eustis Institute, asked me to conspire with her on a noble project: Create an annual event in downtown Eustis, FL, that would celebrate Florida mystery authors.
Why celebrate Florida mystery authors? Well, for starters, there's a boatload of us, so many that we've created our own sub-genre in the mystery world. Plus, we're just so damn lovable.
But why did Virginia enlist the likes of me? Because I grew up just down the road from Eustis, first in the bump-in-the-road community of Yalaha, and later in the thriving and sophisticated town of Leesburg, which, for the record, was not named after Gen. Robert E. Lee. And for those of you not intimately familiar with Central Florida, all these wonderful places, Eustis included, are 35-40 miles northwest of Orlando, a very healthy distance.
I've been to plenty of book festivals and I knew what I didn't want: Endless panels populated by anxious authors trying to worm out a few precious minutes to call their own. Such thangs do get tedious...and sometimes ugly. Plus, I wanted to figure out a way to throw a little fun into the equation.
After a bit of brainstorming, Virginia and I came up with what is surely gonna be one of the coolest book festivals on the planet: Murder and Music by the Lake.
Here's the basic concept: The event will showcase four mystery authors who will take the stage to talk for a few minutes about themselves and their books. Then they will sit down to undergo a grueling interview by moi, along with questions from the audience. And then, after all the talking, a musical group will come on and play original music inspired by the authors' books. There will also be a night-before cocktail party (a required event when writers are involved) and a tasty luncheon featuring a highly entertaining speech by a fifth showcased author, along with more music inspired by his or her works.
So what we have here is food, mystery authors, music, and a little drinking, along the lovely shores of Lake Eustis -- Murder and Mystery by the Lake.
The first-ever event will take place on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007. Beyond that, we're still working on the details -- like where are we gonna find the musicians who will actually create this great and original mystery-inspired music? But our hearts are pure and our cause is noble and surely we will succeed. If you know musically-inclined folks who want to throw in with us, lemme know.
While we're still waiting to confirm the luncheon speaker (dammit Randy White, you need to get back with me) the following authors will be there, all of them packing plenty of good stories and pimping their brand new books: James "Zero" Born , N.M. Kelby , Jonathon King and Lisa Unger.
More details as we figure 'em out. Mark those calendars now ...