Long before I was a published mystery author myself, I read mysteries. I modeled my observation powers on those of Sherlock Holmes. I read every Agatha Christie novel published. I read Ellery Queen, Earl Stanley Gardner, and Jack Early (who I later learned was actually Sandra Scoppettone). In the 70s I discovered Josephine Tey, Dorothy L. Sayers, P.D. James, and Ruth Rendell. Later I found M. K. Wren, Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky, Val McDermid, Denise Mina, Katherine Forrest, Lori L. Lake, Jessie Chandler.
When M. K. Wren came to Portland to teach a workshop on how to write a mystery novel, I went. I learned the basics from her.
When Sue Grafton came to Portland to do a reading, I went. Got a keychain, which I still use. When Sara Paretsky came to Portland to do a reading, I went. From her I learned she was starting an organization for women mystery writers called Sisters in Crime.
When I published my first mystery, I joined Sisters in Crime. It is now a huge organization, one founded in order to promote the professional development and advancement of women crime writers, to achieve equality in the industry.
For some reason, men are also drawn to the organization. And in my personal experience it doesn’t seem to be only to help advance the cause of women writers. The men I’ve seen at the meetings seem to be there to advance their own careers. Whatever the reason, they are not one of the reasons I love Sisters in Crime. Here’s why I do:
- Women networking with other women, listening to each other, sharing ideas and information.
- Women making a difference in the world of crime writing by providing opportunities to grow, develop, and achieve parity with men.
- SinC is now an enormous organization, and provides a wealth of information and opportunity, even online. I encourage you to check out the website, here.