Ten years ago, a web designer from Cincinnati e-mailed me and said my name had come up in a discussion of writers who should be on the web. Why didn’t I have a website?
Pretty much out of laziness, I admitted.
Beth Tindall guided me to an Internet-world where websites were writers’ primary way of reaching people. My first “Letter from Laura” was about my uneasy relationship with something I called the “D” word, discipline. The letter also stands as documentation of a very different life, one in which I was still working fulltime — and still drank orange juice. That situation changed within a few months, at least the job part. Orange juice hung around for a few more years until I decided there were too many empty calories.
And the world would change, too, although not as much as I thought it would when I wrote letter #3, The Last Good Saturday Night. (Happy to be wrong about that. There have been good Saturday nights since, although maybe not in the same way. The thing I’ll never forget about the days after 9/11 is how the sky outside my apartment building emptied of airplanes. I gave that memory to Gloria Bustamante in Life Sentences.) From 2001 through 2010, I wrote about a great many things: the errors I make, the books I love, my year in review. However, nothing seemed to resonate more than my simple plea that people stop calling me “sir.”
In 2003, I started a blog on the Journalscape site. Ostensibly about memory, it also allowed me to post more timely updates about books and tours. But it had a hard-to-find RSS feed — I discovered it only when I decided to move it, in fact — and things were changing so quickly. Facebook! (Which I do, here and here.) Twitter (Which I don’t.) As Tommy Lee Jones says in Men in Black, imagine what you’ll know tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the original LauraLippman.com needed a facelift. I’m sure someone will argue that the original Laura Lippman does, too, but I’m just going to stick to moisturizer and trying not to get too skinny. (“Trying not to get too skinny” is the most achievable goal I have ever set for myself.) The original site had been designed to look DIY, although I really didn’t DI myself. But I wanted it to seem approachable and friendly. I still want those qualities to shine through, although I admit to having less time to respond to e-mail and requests. (Please read the FAQs!)
Now seems like the perfect time to launch a new site. There’s a new book, The Most Dangerous Thing, with several keen contests connected to it. See here for contest number one, more to follow. I’ve always maintained that author tours are really about readers, so isn’t the publication of my new book also about the readers?
I confess to being excited about the new book and not just because the early reviews have been gratifyingly strong. (Starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Kirkus, while Booklist called it “superb.”) I have waited a long time to set a novel in the neighborhood where I grew up, Dickeyville. Meanwhile, the novel has many shout-outs to Lippman loyalists. The cabin in the woods? Yes, you’ve seen that before. The two cops in the Towson Diner, the lawyer at the counter? You know them, too. The former gift shop mentioned in chapter one – yes, that’s Dave Bethany’s sad shop. Oh, and when you get to the part about the private detective – well, who else would it be?
Ten years ago, when Beth wrote me, I was at a low point in my newspaper career and still recovering from some devastating experiences in my private life. The past decade has been very good to me and, in large part, that’s due to the people who read my books. Thank you.