But my mystery writer's heart is saddened by the recent news that Elmore Leonard has died. He was (in a word) wonderful - a beacon for wordsmiths. His advice was usually the best, but there is one thing I always took great pleasure in ignoring. Contrary to his list of the ten things never to do if you're a mystery writer - I ALWAYS start my books with a description of the weather.
Clearly I loved being just that little bit of a rebel - disobeying the master to see if I could get away with it. So first grade, I know, but I have to get my fun where I can or what's the use of all this work in the first place? And to make matters worse, I always bragged about it when giving seminars or serving on panels at conferences.
I live on a farm, for goodness sakes! I may not be a real farmer, but my grandfather was in his later years, and my father - when he retired from NASA, had two gardens every summer. We lived depending on the weather. We raised corn and alfalfa for the animals, and tomatoes, beans, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers and squash for out table.
The first thing a farmer asks every morning is what's the weather like? And that usually depends on what God decides to do before he goes to bed at night. So now, I tell everyone who reads my books what it's like - first thing. And then we go on from there.