From the Booking Desk:
Around Thanksgiving, in the spirit of giving back, I opened up the opportunity to have a Composite Sketch on BOLO Books to the first five people who reached out to me expressing interest. We have seen some of those profiles already and a few more of them will run in 2020, but the one today is a bit different. That is because this is an author I have yet to meet in person. While James D. F. Hannah is fairly new to our community, his active social media profiles have quickly made him an important voice added to the cacophony that is the crime writing community. Without having opened up the doors to the Composite Sketch feature, it would likely have taken me far too long to invite James to be profiled. Given his answers, we are all the better for having this now rather than later.
Name: James D.F. Hannah
Location: Louisville, Ky.
This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:
So many. So, so many. My kids—“the progeny,” as they’re known—are an unending source of inspiration to me. They both helped me weather huge storms in my life, and they’ve always pushed me to want to be a better parent, a better writer, a better person.
Also, my grandmother, Geneva. I didn’t come from a family of readers, and how I ended up a writer is still a mystery. But my grandmother was the person who encouraged me from day one, always bragging to people about her grandson when I wrote for our tiny small town newspaper. She was the paradigm for unconditional love and support that has guided me throughout the rest of my life.
One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:
I am INCREDIBLY new to the crime community. Dallas was my first Bouchercon, and my first chance to meet the writers I’ve long admired, so this is a praise-a-thon.
Dana King and his Beloved Spouse took me on a project, introducing me to other writers, ensuring I had instant friends (and when needed, a beer), and they offered me kindness I can never repay, but I hope to be able to pass on.
S.A. Cosby is my Brother from Another Mother, a man I respect to no end, who I watched go from reading one of the most brutal and compelling short stories possible at the Noir at the Bar to discussing Christie and John Dickson Carr to being spontaneously praised by a best-selling novelist. He’s a force of nature who we should all be reading.
Kellye Garrett remains one of the most fierce and outspoken advocates for writers of color out there, and I am thankful for her efforts to elevate the diversity of voices in the crime fiction community. In addition, her books are incredible, and she is just wonderful in person.
And I finally got to meet Alex Segura after forever being social media acquaintances, and he is an absolute writing rock star, having written one of the great PI series of the 2000s while being funny, thoughtful, and an overall good person.
STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:
Hap and Leonard. I can’t overstate the influence of Joe Lansdale on my Henry Malone series, and meeting him at Bouchercon (in TEXAS, even!) was perhaps the highlight of the whole thing.
How the Hap and Leonard books balance smart, muscular storytelling with blistering humor and cutting social commentary is a lesson all writers should take. Even though Hap narrates the stories, he and Leonard are each vital to the storytelling, sharing their thoughts, their hopes, their shortcomings in a way that humanizes them well past the normal tough-guy expectations. They screw up. They suffer. They often end up in worse shape at the end of the story than they did at the beginning. Their faults make them more compelling.
People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):
Alice Hoffman. They like to call her books “magical realism,” but really they’re genre mashups, blending mystery, fantasy, magic, romance, crime, science fiction, allegory, history … You name it, she’s throwing it into the mix (she also win the Hammett Prize for Turtle Moon). She crafts some of the most gorgeous prose I’ve ever read, peopled full of deeply flawed, achingly human characters.
My personal catch phrase is (or should be):
“I think a plan is just a list of things that don’t happen.” From the movie The Way of the Gun.