Author Archives: danahaynes
RED SPARROW by Jason Matthews is the best spy thriller I’ve read in ages.
Matthews spent a career inside the CIA and his knowledge of the insider lore and lingo sets this story apart. And that, by itself, would make this a stand-out spy thriller. But Matthews also is a great writer of characters. Each has his or her own distinctive voice. He also can be funny; a gift given to few thriller writers these days.
If I have a caveat — and it’s a minor one — it’s a bit of business that Matthews throws into the end of every chapter. I won’t tell the reader what that schtick is, but I will say that I spent half of the book assuming that these odd little addenda to every chapter would pay off somehow. That they had a purpose (like a cypher that would add to the plot). Nope. It’s just a schtick. And it’s distracting.
But the three elements of a great story are plot, character and setting (and pace as Number 4, I’d argue), and Matthews delivers those in spades.
This one is well-worth reading.
Our Willamette Writers panel, slated for earlier this month, got clobbered by snow and freezing rain. So, undaunted, we’re trying it again. Mystery authors Bill Cameron, April Henry and I will be meeting this Saturday, Feb. 22, at TaborSpace, http://taborspace.org/location
(You have to love the, ah, interesting energy we bring to TaborSpace. Check out this week’s lineup: Spiritual Memoir Writing; Hatha Yoga, Young Adult Meditation, Women’s Support Group and then, on Saturday, three schmucks talking about creative homicide. Yeah. We’re gonna fit right in.)
The workshop starts at 9 a.m., with me, discussing ways to keep the writing process fun and moving forward. I blather until 11.
Bill is next from 11:15 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. His topic is: Not Who They Think They Are: Building Character Through Contradiction.
April bats cleanup, of course. She’s on from 2:15 until 4:15 p.m., discussing After the Plot Thickens – Stir!
There will be coffee, parking and food. But more importantly, coffee.
Check out the details here for this all-day workshop. (Note: the old venue in West Linn might still be listed on the website.)
Next up for Willamette Writers: screenwriter Clark Kohanek in March, and contemporary fiction author Jennie Shortridge in April.
Willamette Writers has postponed this weekend’s writing workshop with mystery novelists April Henry, Bill Cameron and me.
We will shift to Feb. 22.
Check back with Willy Writers as we get closer. Trust us: This is a really cool workshop and (weather gods permitting), you’ll get a helluva lot out of it!