Before Lee Goldberg’s book signing of his latest novel Lost Hills, I’d only seen Lee Goldberg’s name in smaller print under Janet Evanovitch’s name and thought, ah he prolly writes crime novels. I imagined some young writer, maybe her nephew or some young thang she was mentoring. Nope, it was a guy my Dad’s age with a prolific career, a warm laugh, and a big smile. This was a man who knew how to write.
Barbara the Head Librarian welcomed us to the Calabasas Library before introducing Lee Goldberg and Ken Levine; the format of the evening was a conversation. Ken also has a prolific career as a writer – a joke writer! He was writer/producer for M*A*S*H and Cheers. Ken asked all the usual questions, but in a way that really made Lee shine. He was charming and funny and open.
Here are a few of my favorite moments from their chat:
Lee said that he doesn’t trust a crime book that doesn’t have any humor in it. I haven’t read enough crime books to say I agree, but my grandma reads three a week and she hates gory serious ones, so I’m gonna go with her on this one.
He also spoke about his writing practice and style. Lee is a professional writer – but he makes his money from tv and film. Thus from 8pm to 2am every night he writes his novels! Ken said that is when he writes as well. I know! Now we know when the muse is awake in LA. Get to it.
Lee also said, “Mystery writers aren’t like Hollywood writers. It isn’t the dog eat dog world. Instead people are supportive and encouraging.” I felt chuffed and smiled over at my Mom trying to mentally communicate, “See book people are just magical!” It reassured me in my decision to not try to be some hot shot TV writer, even though part of me secretly dreams of that happening. I mean, who doesn’t! I grew up in LA, okay! TV writers are like plastic bottles – overflowing into the ocean and we’re still trying to figure out a cost-effective way of recycling them.
Lee talked briefly about his book Lost Hills. Excitingly, it is the first in a series of three. And! He’s already written the script.
Shockingly, despite my silent promise to not buy books but only rent them from the library for the next year – I bought his book. I made an exception because well, it’s about Calabasas! I live there, I grew up there! Also – the protagonist is a young woman. It’s great to see a writer like Lee getting into a young woman’s head and making her the star of the book.
It was also big that I was there. See, I haven’t been to a book event since my Literary March. I’ve been purposefully avoiding them because well, I told you – instead of feeling happy and celebratory of that writer’s achievement, I felt jealous. I had a story deep down inside of me that needed to get out, but it’s out in blovel form, and now I can enjoy wonderful book events again! Woop!
When I bought the book, I asked Lee to dedicate it to my Grandma. She reads two to three crime novels a week for the last 30 years, and I think she’d write a killer blog about killers…. He signed it — “Your granddaughter is a true pixie. I love her blog, now to read yours!” Oh, I can’t wait to see her smile.
Lee Goldberg, if you are reading this – can’t wait to read your book!
Lost Hills by Lee Goldberg is available at your bookstore, Amazon, or local library.