Gunther-Gram April 2009

The Official Archer Mayor Newsletter

Is it Over Yet??

Okay, okay, so some of you live somewhere sunny and warm, where winter is that slightly bothersome season when you have to scrounge around for a sweater. But for those of us living in the land of Joe Gunther, it has finally come time to poke our noses outdoors, rediscover what’s left of our lawns, and begin to feel the effects of a sun that has for too long been merely a cold, bright disk in the sky. Do I realize that a late season snowstorm might make a fool of me? Sure. But right now, I wouldn’t mind it. As my daughter Scout has been known to put it, I’m a happy camper.

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April Calendar Events

As I mentioned above, we’re only beginning to emerge from our burrows, but already, a couple of local outfits have contacted me to speak.

On April 16th, I’ll be at the Etna, NH Public Library (Barbara Prince, librarian) at 7pm. This wonderful 1905 building is actually a branch of the Hanover Town Library. It’s located at 130 Etna Road. Call 603-643-3116 for any details

On April 25th, I’ll be participating in the Inkberry Reading Series in North Adams, MA, at 7pm. This will take place at the North Adams Public Library, on 74 Church St. Call 413-664-0775 if you have any questions. Given the nature of this event, I thought I’d read a little from the as yet unpublished THE PRICE OF MALICE. So be the first to hear a sneak preview.

Hope to see you there!

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The News

THE WORD FROM ST. MARTINS:

I received an email from the good folks at the publishers, telling me that the official publication date for the upcoming THE PRICE OF MALICE (Joe’s 20th appearance) will be October 13th. That also means that I’ll be back on the road, probably slightly before then, visiting as many bookstores and libraries as want to see me, meeting fans old and new (I hope!) and signing books. For what it’s worth, while I can honestly say that I don’t know what it’s like to read one of my books for the first time (since writing one is so different from just sitting back and enjoying it,) turning this one out was a real joy. (And here’s a secret: I use a selected handful of trusted editors to read these manuscripts and give me twin-barreled appraisals; to paraphrase poor old Sally Field, “They really liked it!”) So, here’s hoping you will, too.

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I couldn’t resist this, maybe because of all the dark hair I’m sporting here. But, in or around 1990, just after OPEN SEASON and BORDERLINES first appeared, a photographer friend of mine, Roger Katz, asked my daughter, Scout, and I to pose for some staged shots. Or maybe I asked him to waste some film… I can’t remember. In any case, we wandered around Joe Gunther’s official haunt-Brattleboro’s municipal building-pretending to be fearful, thoughtful, and otherwise ignorant of Roger lurking nearby with his camera. It was a fun afternoon, which I soon forgot all about, until this shot appeared in the Internet last week. That little girl is now 26!

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Letters to the Editor:

  • “I just started reading your Joe Gunther series, and while I absolutely love it, I couldn’t help but notice that Joe seems a little young to have been in the Korean conflict. Any light you could shed on that would help immensely in my enjoyment of the series.”
  • “if joe gunther is in his 50’s in Scent of Evil, how old is he by the time Chat takes place???????????”
  • “Although I have found a few of your books in bookstores in the area, they are not readily available.”

Ouch–I am soooo busted. When I started writing the series, in the mid-80s, it didn’t see that much of a stretch in portraying him as a Korean War vet. I wanted him older, mature, and more thoughtful; I also wanted him to have come from a conflict many historians refer to as The Forgotten War. But who knew I’d still be at it 21 years later??? It is my hope, therefore (really, my only chance) that you will all cut me the same slack given to the likes of Sherlock Holmes, Travis Magee, Lew Archer, and other timeless heroes, stalled in middle age.

Why aren’t the AMPress books, featuring the first 12 of Joe’s adventures, available at Borders, Barnes and Noble, or other non-independent bookstores? It’s not because I haven’t made the effort to get them there, but the terms they insist upon are pretty brutal to we “little guys.” Turns out, there’s a reason their prices are so reasonable–both publishers and authors pay for that perk. The books may be ordered from your local indie bookstore, however, and are available on line, from the comfort of your homes, at my web site. Understandably, most folks don’t think of that, though, or reasonably hope for a lower price elsewhere. But that’s where to find them!

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CONTEST !!! (and more)

I realize I’ve been a little stodgy on my web site (me?) So, I’m trying to liven things up a little by introducing a few freebies, starting with a new GET-YOUR-NAME-IN-A-BOOK contest. Go here on the home page for details. With any luck, you too can become a bad guy, a good guy, or a dead guy!

In addition, you can join a growing number of folks driving around with free VBI bumper stickers. Just follow the instructions right under the contest box (you’ll see them–just breath deeply and keep scrolling.) It’ll tell you how to proceed.

Finally, I took a stab at creating a Joe Gunther crossword puzzle. Not too hard this first time out (that’s my way of trying to sucker you in-make it look easy.) Give it a try and let me know what you think.

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In Conclusion:

Many, many thanks for all your support. This newsletter has started out very strong, solely because of you. Please keep those letters coming. For my part, I will keep thinking of ways to spread the appeal of Joe Gunther, while researching the plot for Novel #21 (already floating wildly in my head-I’m four interviews into the process!)

As for you kind folks? Just keep reading, keep talking about Joe, and….

Spread the BUZZ!!!

Take care. Talk to you soon.

Archer