|Hank Phillippi Ryan|
You can see my expression, holding the seal of office. It’s a smile of delight, of honor, of gratitude and sisterhood. It’s a smile of excitement for the future, and working together over the next year.
What a treat to see so many of you at Bouchercon! Walking up to that podium to take the reins of office from our dear Frankie Bailey was such a milestone, and as I said to those in attendance, it truly brought tears my eyes. I thought about walking in the shoes of Sara Paretsky and Margaret Maron and Marcia Talley and Roberta Isleib, and Cathy Pickens, people who are now my dear friends. It filled my heart, and inspired me to get to work.
I remember my first moment of Sisters in Crime. It was at Janet Halpin’s house, in a Massachusetts suburb. I was so nervous, I walked in alone, with no finished manuscript, no idea of how to write a book, not a clue about the publishing industry, and knowing not a soul.
I walked out arm in arm with Hallie Ephron and Kate Flora and with a bag of chocolate, if I remember correctly, I took my first steps in to the joys of Sisters in Crime.
How many of you are taking your first steps? Think of the other people reading this letter right now, they are not strangers, they are sisters. (Except they won’t borrow your clothes or rat you out to Mom).
They are your sisters. Like you and like me, they know what if feels like to have a book in your heart, they know what it feels like to be thrilled at a good idea, or dejected at having a bad one. The terror of writing yourself into a corner, the joy of discovering the answer to your plot problems. Like you and like me, they know what it feels like to have a good idea. And to want to get that down on paper and share it.
How many of you have been around the block a few times? Not writers block, but the crazy whirlwind of publishing? Sisters in Crime is into its 26th year now, and I bet there’s not one of you published authors who think, “Oh, I got this: I’ve never worked, I’m never surprised.” There’s always something new, right?
The pros and the new kids, like me, we’re all taking first steps into the next phases of our careers.
So in the next year, I’m determined to help everyone with their next first steps. Whether it’s the first step into crime fiction, typing “chapter one” or the first step into a second novel, or the first step into a life as a bestselling author. Every day, we’re taking the first steps into the next part of their lives, and I am so excited we’ll be doing that together. Call on me.
I’m here to help. Your sisters are here to help. Education. Instruction. Support. Guidance. Friendship. Sisters in Crime is your resource. I’m happy to (I’m determined to!) make sure my legacy is that each sister and brother progresses and succeeds.
I told those at Bouchercon about hearing Judy Collins a few months ago. She told us her parents planned for her to be a concert pianist, but at age 16, she ran off from Denver, and went to New York to be a folk singer.
“I went to New York,” she told us, “And took all my songs with me.” She paused, then smiled. And said, “Of course, I hadn’t written them yet.”
We all have songs we haven’t written yet. And I can’t wait to hear yours.
With much affection.
Hank Phillippi Ryan is the on-the-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate, winning 28 Emmys for her work. Her first mystery, the best-selling PRIME TIME, won the Agatha for Best First Novel. FACE TIME was a BookSense Notable Book, and AIR TIME and DRIVE TIME were nominated for the AGATHA and ANTHONY Awards. Hank’s short story “On the House” won the AGATHA, ANTHONY and MACAVITY.
Her newest thriller is the best-selling THE OTHER WOMAN. Hank is president of Sisters in Crime and on the national board of Mystery Writers of America. Her website is http://www.hankphillippiryan.com/