James O. Born
Good Thursday morning. For my West Coast friends, you might have to get moving to participate in this event. I mean right now. I'm going to be a guest on Chauncey Mabe’s book club on Facebook at noon Eastern Time today. I’ll make this easy on you, Paul: that's 9 AM, Pacific time. I have no idea how this thing works or what it's going to be like, but it would be nice to have a few of my friends from the blog drop by. I joined Facebook specifically for this event and I'm interested to see the results. I'll actually be in my James O'Neal mode and discussing The Human Disguise.
As many of you know, Chauncey Mabe was the book critic for the Sun Sentinel for many, many years. He recently left the paper to do some freelance work. He's a very sharp guy with a wide range of literary interests. Best of all he's not afraid to stand up and say what he thinks.
I've done a number of book clubs in person and I'll have to confess it freaks me out to talk to a group of people who've already read my books and have specific questions about them. I've also spoken to several college English classes and get the same feeling. It's not negative in any way. Just a little disconcerting.
In the interviews that I've done so far for The Human Disguise, I get asked the same three questions every time. How did I know the tax structure of Florida would break down? Was I thinking of the H1N1 swine flu virus when I talk about pandemics in the book? And, is this how I envision police work in the near future?
I wrote the book almost three years ago and had no clue about the impending financial disaster. I guess you could say I was just lucky. The same goes for the swine flu. In fact, I was thinking of the avian flu, which was being discussed at the time I was writing the book. As for how I envision police work in the future that would depend, as it always does, on that direction that the American Society takes. There are always ebbs and flows in the criminal justice system. In Florida, during the early 1990s, violent crime was a real concern and then Gov. Lawton Childs pushed legislation that made anyone convicted in the state have to complete a minimum of 85% of their sentence. Within two years crime rates plummeted. Not because criminals were now afraid to commit crimes in the state, but because the worst criminals were actually staying behind bars. It is my hope that The Human Disguise does not reflect the only future of police work.
Oline Cogdill, the respected mystery reviewer, gave an excellent plug to the book group discussion. Her Off the Page blog, sponsored by the Sun Sentinel newspaper, is one of the places I check on the web every day.
So if you have a few minutes around lunchtime on the East Coast, late morning Central Time, coffee break time in the Mountain Time Zone or just after breakfast on the West Coast, please drop in and say hello.