From the Booking Desk:
If you do not know the name Chantelle Aimée Osman yet, you will by the end of 2019. Chantelle has been a fixture around the various crime fiction conventions for years, even being honored as the fan Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime 2016. She is a skilled panelist, moderator, author, and editor with an impressive resumé tracking her accomplishments – but she is not done yet.
In the Fall of 2019, Chantelle will help launch Agora, a new imprint from Polis Books that is dedicated to focusing on crime fiction of a diverse nature. As the editor of this venture, Chantelle will be helping to ensure that our beloved genre reflects our beautiful world in all of its glorious permutations. And I am honored to welcome her here to BOLO Books for this week’s Composite Sketch.
Name: Chantelle Aimée Osman
Location: New York, NY
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
I’m grateful for a lot of people in my life. But my mother is the reader in my family, as a child she’d take me to the library and the bookstore at least once a week. In the summer, even more often, because I’d insist on participating in all the summer reading challenges. My dad never really read for fun (he went to law school, and read finance papers, and lost the whimsy of it), but knew how important it was, and told me he’d buy me any book I wanted (I still take him up on it when I go home, he was crazy not to put an expiration date on that offer). I mean, I probably would love books anyway, but the way my mother prioritized reading, I have no doubt, made a huge difference. So, I’m very thankful for my parents, but particularly my mother. Words are my life, my love, my profession. And I think I may owe it all to her.
I also have to give a massive shout-out to Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I started out as a lawyer, and it was her, in part, who made me realize the difference words could make. If you didn’t already know, Vladmir Nabokov was one of her teachers, of him she wrote: “Nabokov change the way I read and I write…Words paint pictures, I learned from him. Choosing the right word, and the right word order, he illustrated, could make an enormous difference in conveying an image or an idea.” Words are my life, and every day I find it truer than the next, to quote a friend of mine’s recent essay: “Sticks and stones can break bones, but words can break spirit. Now is the time to start learning the right ones to use…“
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
Essentially the founding mother of modern crime fiction, Sara Paretsky. In V.I. Warshawski she created a protagonist—a female P.I. at that—to rival those of Chandler and Hammett, a character who has endured for over thirty years. Not only that, Paretsky sought to teach and empower women who shared her passion for writing. In 1986 she founded Sisters in Crime, a wonderful organization dedicated initially to the promotion and encouragement of women in the mystery community, but which has since grown to over 4,000 members of all genders and abilities. Sisters in Crime is still on the forefront of the crime fiction community, looking to the future, and educating its members. Most notably, putting out a Publishing Summit Report on Diversity in 2016 (h/t to Catriona McPherson), and leading a free online set of seminars from industry experts which you can find here: https://www.sistersincrime.org
I’d also like to co-nominate (I know, I’m bad with rules) Ben LeRoy. Since I met him accidentally at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer’s conference in Colorado in 2011, he has been a great mentor and even greater friend and inspiration. Not only did he found Bleak House Books and Tyrus Books—which published some of the best authors out there today, but he then went on to create Be Local Everywhere, a project where he, and a group of volunteers, worked with charities in fifty states in one year. Although still active in publishing, his ethos remains firmly community based: “The best way for us to address the fracture and to build a better world going forward is to be in service to one another and in the community. It means volunteering outside of your comfort zone. It means volunteering for and in service to people we disagree with politically and we might have problems with. It’s a two-way street that gets opened up and they see us as not a caricature. We develop a personal relationship. We are able to see the human in there.”
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
I guess this is as good a place as any to finally come clean. I’m a not-so-closeted Sherlockian. I have a whole shelf dedicated to his canon, pastiches (shout-out to Stephen King for my all-time favorite), satires, etc. as well as a variety of…etchings. I don’t think I would love mysteries as much as I do if not for him. He was my first, my last, well…you get it.
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
I know I set you up with the above answer for Barry White, and no question: awesome. But that’s not where I’m going with this. Since I’m at it, I’ll make another admission. I love Bobby Darin. “Mack the Knife”? “Beyond the Sea”? Seriously, every time any of his songs comes on shuffle, I turn into Tom Cruise in Risky Business, sliding around my apartment.
My personal catch phase is (or should be):
I polled my friends and family because I don’t think it’s fair to give yourself a catch phrase (it’s like giving yourself a nickname). The winners were:
“Only be nervous if you have something to lose.”
“Always have a backup plan.”
Apparently, I’ve said these things.