Sunday, March 21, 2010

7 Questions: Clare Toohey

Who is to be congratulated for Clare2e's razor sharp wit?

I won't bother thanking my parents, because they don't spend much time reading blogs. I could thank the many, funnier people I steal from, but why start giving them credit now?

How did Women Of Mystery come to be and who's really in charge over there?

At a local chapter meeting of the New York/Tri-State Sisters in Crime, Laura Kramarsky (aka Laura Curtis) asked if anyone wanted to start a group blog. I raised my hand, as did a couple of other sisters, she registered the domain and set up the site, and we were off. She's really the founder, and still handles most of the technical upgrades, though WoM has always been a collaborative effort, contentwise.

It's flattering you ask who's in charge, because I thought it was patently obvious that we make it up as we go! Though we've lost and added members over time, the basic operation is an enthusiastic, occasionally chaotic, democracy aided by backstage kvetching on our private Yahoo Group. We also have a ridiculously loose, I mean, enlightened and flexible posting schedule. With enough members, we're always working around someone's meat-world issues, whether vacation or illness or alien abduction. We've become good at coming together and flowing like water into the gaps. WoM is like the Tao. It'll transport you into timeless serenity if you'll only let it.

Why the Hamburglar for your Blogger profile image?

Why Hamburglar?
I admire his tenacity, though he's arguably the least successful criminal ever, after Wile E. Coyote that is.
We both look good in stripes, Dracula capes, and Zorro masks.
Burgers rule.

What is your most memorable moment from the various conventions you have attended?

I have had many awesome times at mystery conferences, several I still don't remember, even though I got report photocopies from the arresting officer. (Hi, Patrolman Schuler!) One event I particularly remember was at Bouchercon in Chicago in 2005. I had met mega-author Lee Child at a previous MWA event where he most graciously inquired about my manuscript, and said I could e-mail him if there were anything he could do to help. Swell guy, right? So, at the B-con party he hosted at a nearby bar, I went up to him and thanked him for the shindig. So far, so good. Then, I reminded him of his kind offer to help me in any way possible, and told him I'd brought a cooler along for the extraction because I was seriously running out of time on my remaining kidney.

He just blinked at me, but fortunately, the lovely Robin Burcell, who was standing nearby, actually laughed, so I felt slightly less an ass. Thanks, Robin! And Lee, don't worry. I stole a loose hair from your lapel, and made a voodoo clone from which I'm harvesting organs and plots as needed. No biggie.

Do you have a guilty pleasure TV show that you currently watching?

Along with my incredible erudition and high-mindedness comes horrendously shallow taste. Super-jive old shows like Hart to Hart, Love Boat, and Buck Rogers, really anything with lip gloss or a Mancini theme song, work for me, so I love that they're being re-broadcast on four-digit cable channels. I also indulge in anything with elf boots, giant spiders, demons, and martial arts ass-whupping. But I don't feel guilty about a thing.

Outside of writing, what's Clare's hobby?

I'm the current president of the New York/Tri-State chapter of Sisters in Crime, a very busy chapter of active writers. Check us out at We participate in and offer loads of events, and are just beginning our own anthology process. (I may ask you for BTAP war stories!) Fortunately, I excel like a Stepford at what many consider administrative and domestic drudgery. When that's satisfactorily accomplished, I enjoy road trips and being awesome.

How soon can we expect your Great American Novel?

I did write the G.A.N-- so that's another thing off the to-do list-- but my agent couldn't sell it. Now I'm writing the not-quite-as-good, but much punchier and more appealing novel. I'm also experimenting with another, pseudonymous one of a different genre.


Terrie Farley Moran said...

Clare's entire personality is nailed here.

"razor sharp wit"

"I excel like a Stepford at what many consider administrative and domestic drudgery."

"I enjoy . . . being awesome."

Plus she is a terrific friend and colleague.


Richard Prosch said...

Great interview!

Mason Canyon said...

Love the interview. Great post.

Laura K. Curtis said...

Wow, I, too, was absolutely sure everyone could tell we just winged the blog from day to day! Go us!

I know Clare IRL, and she is exactly as you see her here. Great interview.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Love your questions, David, and I love Clare's razor sharp responses. I'm honored to be one of the Women of Mystery; I've just completed my first year on the blog. We are thrilled to have Clare at the helm of NY/TriState Sisters in Crime.

David Cranmer said...

Thanks Kathleen.

She makes it look effortless doesn't she? I have to think for an hour to just come up with a knock knock joke.

Clare2e said...

Aw shucks, guys, you're gonna turn my head with all that mushy stuff!

I was extremely pleased to be asked to join such auspicious company, and David always does nice things for those of us who still, mentally at least, put "aspiring" before the word "writer".

David Cranmer said...

My wife and I watched season one of HART TO HART about a year ago. Campy as heck but lots of fun.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I like these 7 Questions you're doing. Fun and revealing.


Laurie Powers said...

Great interview. I'm wondering if Clare knows Ann Parker who writes the mysteries set in Leadville?

Elaine Will Sparber said...

Great questions, David, and great answers, Clare. As another WoM and friend, I can testify that Clare is just as quick and witty IRL. I forever feel like I'm trying to run in mud when in her company. :)

Clare2e said...

David- Stefanie Powers had amazing hair on that show, as did the dog Freeway, and did you know she speaks 6 languages?

Laurie- Sorry- I don't know Ann Parker (yet), but after looking up her books, they sure look interesting!

Jodi MacArthur said...

Great wit indeed!

I love that she has the Hamburglar for an avatar and I wish one of my hobbies was being 'awesome'. ;-) Great questions and answers.

I'll be sure to check out the website.

Dave King said...

Super interview. Wonderful sense of humour.

the Bag Lady said...

Excellent interview! And thanks for posting the picture of Clare without her cape and mask - I always wondered what she looked like without it.....

Scott Parker said...

I loved (!) Hart to Hart back in the day. And The Love Boat. For a youngster of pre-dating age, Saturday nights on ABC was magnificent: Love Boat and Fantasy Island.

Fun interview. Thanks.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I enjoy being awesome too! ;)

And not many people can pull off the Hamburgler look, so well done!

Leigh said...

What a great interview! You're terrific, Clare!