Thirty-one years after bestselling author Sue Grafton introduced the world to the fictional private eye Kinsey Millhone in A is for Alibi, fans of her books still eagerly await the next book in the series. W is for Wasted was published earlier this month, marking the 23rd letter in the alphabet and the 23rd book in the series.
While in St. Louis to promote W is for Wasted, Grafton sat down with St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to talk about the series, her writing and her beloved protagonist Kinsey Millhone. She will also speak at Maryville University tonight as part of Maryville Talks Books.
Here's what she had to say on a few subjects.
On the end of the series
"I hope I'll keep writing about Miss Kinsey Millhone, but I don't want to go on if the juice is gone."
Despite being three letters away from the end of the series, Grafton said her fans are already anxious about the series ending. With two years to write each book, she will be about eighty by the time she's finished. At that point she plans on taking a step back and assessing whether or not to continue.
On the characterization of Kinsey Millhone
"I try to keep her flawed," said Grafton. "I like her because she's unpretentious and down to earth and cusses like a sailor."
Grafton said there are a lot of similarities between Kinsey and herself, including being married three times. But unlike Kinsey, Grafton has stayed married to the same man for thirty-five years. And there are certain adjectives people use to describe Kinsey that she wishes they'd avoid.
"I don't like feisty, adorable or quirky," said Grafton. "Plucky's okay. It sounds British."
On writing about weighted topics, like homelessness and medical fraud
" I am apolitical. I look at the psychology of crime. I'm not on one side or the other."
On why her books are set in the 1980s
"I first published A is for Alibi in May of 1982, and the book was set in May of 1982...I knew that if I had her age a year for every book it would get ridiculous."
"I think it has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to show old-fashioned detective work...Kinsey can't Google anything. When she wants to research something she has to go down to the Hall of Records."
On finding a crime that starts with X
Grafton already chose the title for her last book - Z is for Zero - but she is having trouble coming up with a crime that starts with the letter X. She said that it was nice to be on tour because she could take a break from thinking about it.
If you think of a crime that starts with X, let us know on Twitter @STLonAir.
Maryville Talks Books Presents Sue Grafton
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
7:00p.m. at the Maryville University Auditorium
To purchase tickets, call Left Bank Books at 314-367-6731. For more information, visit the Maryville University website.