Story-Hearers, or Leslie Coins a New Phrase

I’m giving away a signed copy of Death al Dente — a Barnes & Noble mystery bestseller! Leave a comment and your email address to be entered in the drawing; winner to be chosen Aug 22.*

Years ago, at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, I met a writer named Dianne Day, author of the Fremont Jones mysteries featuring a young woman who runs a type-writing service in early 20th century San Francisco. We had a lovely conversation, and after that, ran into each other occasionally in online mystery discussion groups, and conversed a bit by email.  Fremont Jones

Around that time, a young secretary in my law firm was about fourteen months pregnant and not sleeping very well. For some reason, I gave her one of the Fremont Jones books. She brought it back the next morning and asked if there were any more. I lent her the series and she read every night until the baby came. Dianne was delighted to have given comfort—and distraction—when it was needed.

Death al DenteI’m remembering that story because Dianne died recently, after a lengthy illness, and because my own first mystery, Death al Dente, has just been published. (Every writer knows that “first” means first published, not the first written. We’ll talk about that long winding road another time!) It’s doing very well, and for that, I thank you, readers. It finished its first week out at #11 on the Barnes & Noble Bestsellers List for Mystery, in mass market paperback (the small format). It’s being spotted regularly in bookstores around the country—if you see it, send me a picture and I’ll post it on Facebook. And it received a marvelous review in Fresh Fiction, a review site and community for readers of mystery, romance, and women’s fiction.

But best of all are the notes from readers. Only a few so far—how brave, how bold, how kind to take the time to write a woman you don’t know and talk about a book. Oh my gosh, they touch me. To know that a reader spends her time—six hours or so, for most of us to read a typical length mystery—in the world you created and is glad she did. Likes the people she met there. Wants to know what happens next. Stayed up too late reading. Went to the grocery store for garbanzo beans and bell peppers and triggered a mini run on prosciutto so she could make the recipes in the back of the book.

Storytellers need story-listeners. Story-hearers. Story-receivers. Those aren’t words in our language, but they ought to be. In my household, we say “that may not be in the dictionary, but I said it and you knew what I meant, so it’s a word.”

It’s a word. Thank you.


* You’ll also be added to my email newsletter mailing list, so you’ll be the first to get Book News!

13 thoughts on “Story-Hearers, or Leslie Coins a New Phrase

  1. Story-hearers is an interesting word. Think about it. We all hear stories everyday via newspapers, TV, moms, teachers, and friends. Our days are spent listening to someones view of things. Interesting concept.

  2. You already know I loved Death al Dente. Very good first (at least first published) book. And I’m looking forward to more.

    But I have to say, I’m sad to hear that Dianne Day has died. I really liked her Fremont Jones stories.

    • Thanks, Diane. Dianne died a few weeks ago, after a long illness. I think she’d published 2 or 3 Fremont Jones mysteries when I met her; ultimately, there were 6. I still remember them as a great example of how to mix history and fun in a historical mystery — great character and setting, so rich in detail.

  3. Leslie, congratulations on your growing sales success with your first novel. Can’t wait to get a hard copy for myself. Are they for sale at all local bookstores including FVCC?

    • Thanks, Constance! It’s at BookWorks in Whitefish and Kalispell, and The Book Shelf in Kalispell. FVCC will have it for the conference; don’t know if it’s in stock yet. And in Bigfork, it’s at Frame of Reference, the gallery that hosted my wonderful launch party.

  4. Congratulations, Leslie ~ I’m so happy about the success of Death al Dente! Such sad news about Dianne Day – I found one Fremont Jones book at the library and loved it, but could never find any more. I’ll keep looking!

  5. I live in Sweden so english is not my first language. But to keep me on my toes I read alot of books in english. But they really haveto be captivating and your book is just that. A feelgood book even though it is about murder 🙂
    I do hope you have more in store for us story-recievers, looking forward to read more from you

    • Thanks for your comment, Sandra! (See, that wasn’t so hard!) Yes, it’s a little strange to call a murder mystery fun, but the murder is the means to explore the characters, the community, and the relationship — so glad you enjoyed it!

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