May 16, 2014

John Wilmont born Oxfordshire, 1647
Lenin born Russia, 1870

Dear Reader,

Congratulations, you’ve found our Random House website. You’re smarter than I am although the cats declare they could find anything on the computer so long as they have a mouse.

Regarding the Mrs. Murphy series I must dutifully report that Pewter’s waist is now as large as Saturn’s rings. Sneaky Pie and Tucker told her this and she, reduced to the last climax of distress, violently attacked them. Now both Sneaky Pie and Tucker feel Pewter has all the appeal of a Puff Adder.

Being human, more or less, I sidestep these dramas. All the animals believe they deserve high consideration which I duly give. But I have learned over the decades of living close to domesticated and wild animals that what you see coming is not what you see going unless it’s Pewter who fills the frame in either direction.
The Sister Jane series will have another addition this fall of 2014. These delight me which isn’t to say everyone likes them. The cats and dog do not since they aren’t the center of attention, horses, hounds and foxes are. Clearly I am happier with four footed creatures than those on two feet.

My experience with humans is they never have ordinary tribulations and whatever they are suffering from they will attempt to inflict on you. A few are happy in this life, know how lucky we are to have enough to eat, a place to sleep and keep warm. Life is pretty basic. Those people are my friends.

Unlike any of the animals with whom I work, I have no fur to hide the wrinkles. My chief ambition is not to look younger as I grow older to which the photographs will attest. I love getting old. Unless one is ill at any age, I can’t imagine people not celebrating every day on this earth.

If my editors remind me, I will update this website. If they forget, it won’t cross my mind because I’m bucking hay, repairing fences, grooming any number of quadrupeds, sitting with the same, walking out the hounds, watching ravishing sunsets over the Blue Ridge Mountains. I have to force myself to come inside. I do, obviously, but I’m so much happier outdoors working. Then again I grew up on a farm and to me that’s real life. For most Americans it’s rather quaint, I suspect.

May your day go well. May this spring be the best.

I leave you with a thought that has bedeviled me: If all is not lost, where is it?

Ever and Always,
Rita Mae

July 17, 2013

Letter from the Author

Adam Smith born in Edinburgh 1990

Dear Reader,

Are you breathing while you read this? I’m glad one of us is. Mid-nineties and humidity also in the 90s. Right now there is a thunderstorm of Biblical intensity raging. Ah yes, the joys of summer.

Wherever you are reading this, perhaps you, too, have had a really wet summer. Here in central Virginia we only got up half the hay crop, the ground being too saturated to run heavy equipment over it. Great hay, too, one hates to lose it.

I’ll spare you the bucolic rapture except to say despite the hay losses, the raptors are here in full force, also many Great Blue Herons, plenty of turkey, deer, and of course, my beloved foxes. Watching all this new life lifts me up and inspires me to write.

Sneaky Pie just finished another mystery. I’m working on a book of quotes and pulling together a few years of notes for a standalone novel. To be able to do what you love, make a living at it, is to hit the jackpot in life.

Another wonderful thing is to read the work of friends. Karin Slaughter has an exciting new one out called UNSEEN. I’ve never met historian Niall Ferguson but I sure like to read him, and his newest (THE CASH NEXUS) is a winner. John Sugden also just published his second and last volume on the monumental life of Lord Nelson (NELSON: THE SWORD OF ALBION).

Maybe I actually am still breathing because reading is breathing for the mind, don’t you agree? Some material that utterly fascinates me, and is likely unfamiliar to you, are old hunt diaries on foxhunting, published from the mid-Eighteenth to early Twentieth Century in England and America. Foxhunting has made a huge contribution to English Literature. (There is much written about Cricket as well.) Perhaps, like myself, you think the fastest way into a culture or a time is through a study of its arts or sports. Think of a past time and the culture that gave us jousting, and you gain insight into the people back then.

I’d like to think that my Sister Jane mystery series continues in this centuries old tradition. Were you to write about modern day soccer in New York City, an entire world would be revealed to you and your reader. It’s fascinating.

As many of you know, I do not own a computer. So the keepers of this website need to remind me to write letters like this one. Should you be appalled or envious about why I step aside from the so-called digital age (what an awful moniker, shorn of all glory, sexiness or even a whiff of decadence), here are a few reasons. Were I to use a computer two things would happen:

1. I would endlessly research extraneous subjects.

2. I would be expected to instantly respond to queries such as “Do you ever use your mother’s maiden name?” or “Why didn’t your mother strangle you at birth?”

When would I write? How could I work my hounds or my horses? My nether regions would be positioned on a chair and I’d be responding to a screen instead of life — breathing, sweating, thrilling life!

There is one other reason: if you sit in the front of a computer all the time your butt will get big enough to show a movie on it. With that high tone thought, I leave you and wish you a glorious rest of the summer.

Ever and always,

Rita Mae

***

Dear Reader,

Will she’s blabbing on, I have caught one blacksnake and two moles. Now that’s productivity.

Sneaky Pie

Dear Reader,

Why be productive? That’s so very Puritan and cats are never puritanical except for Sneaky Pie, poor dear.

Pewter

Dear Reader,

Cats are crazy. Listen to us dogs. If you’re listening to a corgi, every word is the absolute truth.

Tee Tucker.