Friday, November 25, 2011

Please Welcome John M. Daniel!

Why is Guy Mallon so short?
When The Poet’s Funeral, my first Guy Mallon mystery, was published in 2005, it got reviews kind enough to make a grown man weep. Best of all was a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which thrilled me because I’d written the book as a tribute to my colleagues in the publishing business.

The only negative review of The Poet’s Funeral that came to my attention was from the Contra Costa Times, whose main objection was that I called too much attention to the fact that my protagonist, Guy Mallon, who eventually became the series protagonist, was short. Real short. The reviewer was offended, and asked why size matters so much to me, the author of this book?

Well, yes, Guy is short. And it matters to him, mainly because it matters to other people. In fact he doesn’t think of himself as “short,” but rather as he counters, “I’m tall. Five feet tall.”

For an idea of what five feet tall looks like, think Mickey Rooney. Think Danny DeVito. You might notice that these two actors play cocky, hard-driven, competitive succeeders. You might say they overcompensate for their size.

Overcompensation plays a big role in a lot of mystery fiction. Consider Michael Connolly’s P.I. Dan Fortune: he has only one arm. Penny Warner’s Connor Westphal is deaf. Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe is overweight. James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux is a recovering-relapsing alcoholic with bouts of depression brought on by post traumatic stress syndrome. And the list goes on: the crippled sleuth, the dyslexic, the Tourettes sufferer, the broken-hearted, the forgetful senior, the woman in an otherwise all-male precinct… They all face difficult odds in addition to the usual danger in their quest to find the truth and right what’s wrong.

So it is with Guy, the shrimp. He has to stand up tall to get in the face of bullies, thugs, and domineering bosses. The odds are stacked against him, which makes his survival and success as a sleuth something to cheer for.

The newest Guy Mallon mystery, Behind the Redwood Door, has just been published. Here’s the blurb from the back cover, to give you a hint of what its about:

Guy and Carol Mallon own a used bookstore on the north coast of California, a land of rocky shores and redwood forests, with a rich history of gold, lumber, Native Americans, and hardy entrepreneurs. They are content with their small-town life until Pete Thayer, their friend and the publisher of the local alternative newspaper, is stabbed to death behind their favorite tavern. Urged on by Pete’s girlfriend, River Webster, Guy begins to poke around, uncovering a past festering with power politics, a newspaper war, a multigenerational family feud, marijuana traffic—and murder. Guy’s investigation takes him from the town square to the harbor to the forests and into the mountains, where he must confront evil in the form of a bully nearly twice his size.

BIOGRAPICAL STATEMENT
 
John M. Daniel
Post Office Box 2790
McKinleyville, California 95519
jmd@danielpublishing.com
 
John M. Daniel was born in Minnesota, raised in Texas, and educated in Massachusetts and California.  He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Creative Writing at Stanford University and a Writer in Residence at Wilbur Hot Springs. He has taught fiction writing at UCLA Extension and Santa Barbara Adult Education and was on the faculty of the Santa Barbara Writers Conference for nearly twenty years.  He now teaches creative writing for Humboldt State University Extended Education.
 
John’s stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines. His thirteen published books include four mysteries: Play Melancholy Baby, The Poet’s Funeral, Vanity Fire, and Behind the Redwood Door, recently published by Oak Tree Press.
 
John has worked as a bookseller, a free-lance writer, an editor, an entertainer, a model, an innkeeper, and a teacher.  He and his wife, Susan, live in Humboldt County, California, where they are small-press book publishers. Susan enjoys gardening, John enjoys writing, and they both enjoy living with their wondercat, Warren. 
 
john@johnmdaniel.com
www.johnmdaniel.com
facebook.johnmdaniel.com
 
Behind the Redwood Door is sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It can be ordered by your local independent bookseller, or bought directly from the publisher at http://www.oaktreebooks.com/. For an autographed copy, call John at 1-800-662-8351.






26 comments:

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks for being here today, John!

Anne K. Albert said...

Great post. I always cheer for the underdog, and being short makes one an underdog!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

That was a fun post, John. Men who are short are often feisty. My dad was short and no one ever backed him down.

lyn21 said...

A book right up my alley - and being tall is overated!

M.M. Gornell said...

Ah, I'm a shorty too, but often forget until I stand next to someone tall. (also think I'm thin--ah well!) Great post John, and wonderful getting to know you on this blog tour!

Madeline

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

Napoleon was short, too, and we all know where that led. Sounds like a good book.

Alice Duncan said...

I'm a shorty too. In fact, I began my adult life at 5'3", but thanks to degenerative disc disease, I'm not 4' 3/4". Sucks, if you want my opinion, but I'm glad John's guy is a shorty too! Let's hear it for Napoleon and John's hero!

Jean Henry Mead said...

Great post, John, and your wit is appreciated.

john M. Daniel said...

Thanks to all of you! It's such a pleasure to connect with new friends. Alice, thanks for having me on your blog!

Earl Staggs said...

John, I like your reasoning about Guy's lack of height. It gives him added depth. (I hope that makes sense.)

Marja McGraw said...

As a relatively short person, I can (from experience) say that short folks have their own unique set of problems. I enjoyed this blog, and I appreciate that you gave your protagonist an interesting issue to deal with, and I can't wait to read the book.

Alice Duncan said...

Very glad you're here today, John! See? Nobody but me minds being short :-)

desitheblonde said...

thank for the info on the book and would be happy to read it and blog it

Ingeborg said...

Thanks I enjoyed reading the post

Patricia Gligor said...

John,
I'm glad you addressed this issue. I've just begun reading "Behind the Redwood Door" and I too was wondering why Guy is only five foot tall. Now I know - and your explanation makes perfect sense.
By the way, I'm really enjoying your novel.

pennyt said...

Great post - I'm tall and never thought about the issues associated with being short before. Thanks!

WS Gager said...

I always hated it when you had to line up by height for gym class. Never could figure out why but I was always last. Every year. Puts a chip on your shoulder! Great blog about a possible sensative subject.
Wendy
W.S. Gager on Writing

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks for being my first guest on this grand tour, John! I'm glad Guy doesn't mind being short. I hate it, mainly because I can't reach light bulbs even then I'm on the stupid step ladder!

john M. Daniel said...

Once again, thanks to all who commented. There are times when it ain't easy being short, but we all have issues with one thing or another about ourselves. Maybe reading and writing mystery stories gives us a reason and a way to stand up tall and enjoy who we are.

AnnNoE said...

Another "shorty" and getting shorter. John, you have a fscinating bio.

Alice Duncan said...

Thanks for showing up, Ann!

Pat Browning said...

Bless 'em all -- the long, the short and the tall! Enjoyed your post, John.

Pat Browning

Carol M said...

I enjoyed your post. I guess I never really thought too much about a character being short or tall. I'm too engrossed in the story!

Alice Duncan said...

That's exactly as it should be, Carol!

Charleydog said...

The best thing I remember about Vienna were the enormous palaces, the afternoon coffee and dessert, the ring road, and St. Stephens cathedral.

pboylacharley(at)hotmail(dot)com

Alice Duncan said...

That sounds like heaven, Charley!