The Road to Writes of Passage
by Hank Phillippi Ryan
You have to picture us at Malice—you might have seen us! Not this year, but last. Beth Wasson and Elaine Will Sparber and me sitting at one of those little tables under the escalator, talking about what kind of a book I might want to edit for Sisters in Crime.
Roberta Isleib did such a wonderful job with Shameless Promotion, and L.C. Hayden with Breaking and Entering. So what could I give Sisters in Crime that would be new and helpful and valuable and—well, even inspiring?
At some point, I said—let’s make it about—the journey. The writer’s journey. And we can divide it into sections, like beginning, hoping, working, thinking…and I saw Beth nodding and Elaine writing things down. (She’s very organized.)
Fast-forwarding, we asked some Sisters authors to contribute—from the newest of newbies to the very most experienced and successful. As editor, I said—here are the categories. What strikes you? What can you share?
Tell me a personal story, I said. Not a speech or a class, but something that happened to you. Something you learned from. A path you took, or didn’t, or a decision that’s haunted you. Tell me something wonderful or tragic, a success or a failure, a landmark in your journey.
And the essays came in. Look at the lineup of authors! (Including many SinCNE members, of course.) Amazing. Gorgeous, generous, and revealing. I can tell you—I was in tears much of the time.
What to call it? What to put on the cover? I remember driving somewhere, saying words out loud to myself. Journey, passage, adventure. Pathway, highway, travel. Travel together. In it together. What we share, what we have in common. The things we all go through. The rites of—ah. Writes of Passage.
But now it turns out that Writes of Passage is on a new journey of its own. It’s being published (on September 9) in a whole new edition with the whole new look by the wonderful Henery Press. And it will be available everywhere: paperback, hardcover, and digital from all the popular retailers (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Google Play).
And when I chose the quotes for the chapter divisions, little did I imagine that a brilliant cover artist would come up by chance with such a brilliant articulation of ‘hope is the thing with feathers,’ the poem that headlines the ‘hoping’ section. It’s all about creativity, right?
And I love this, because not only is the origami crane the symbol of peace and good luck—it also proves what you can make out of one piece of paper!
Sometimes the universe just works. Writes of Passage is the story of us all.
I am so proud of this, grateful to all the authors, and to Elaine Will Sparber for doing all the complicated administrative stuff, and Beth Wasson for allowing it to flourish, and to Henery Press for the loving and elegant publication. Please let me know if you like it!
– Hank Phillippi Ryan
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer’s Journey is newly published by Henery Press, and edited by Hank Phillippi Ryan (with Elaine Will Sparber). The book is a collection of essays by SinC members, written to inspire other writers.
To read more about the book – and an interview with Hank about it – visit http://www.henerypress.com.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN is the on-air investigative reporter for Boston’s NBC affiliate. She’s won 30 EMMYs, 12 Edward R. Murrow awards and dozens of other honors for her ground-breaking journalism. A bestselling author of six mystery novels, Ryan has won multiple prestigious awards for her crime fiction: the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and for THE OTHER WOMAN, the coveted Mary Higgins Clark Award. National reviews have called her a “master at crafting suspenseful mysteries” and “a superb and gifted storyteller.” Her newest thriller, THE WRONG GIRL, has the extraordinary honor of winning the 2013 Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel! A four-week Boston Globe bestseller, it was dubbed “Another winner” in a Booklist starred review and “Stellar” by Library Journal. She’s on the national board of Mystery Writers of America and 2013 president of national Sisters in Crime. Watch for her next novel, TRUTH BE TOLD, on October 7, 2014.