MUG SHOT: CARRIE SMITH
Carrie Smith is the senior vice president, publisher of Benchmark Education Company. Her writing awards include three Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She lives in Manhattan. She is the author of a previous literary novel Forget Harry (Simon & Schuster). Silent City (Crooked Lane Books) is her first mystery.
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What is your writing routine?
I wish there were a routine. Basically, if I have a free moment, I write. On the weekends, I get up as early as 4:30 a.m., brew a very robust Earl Grey, and write until everyone else in the house wakes up. I think through new sections of a book while I’m walking, and I type them into my iPhone notes. During the week, I write on my iPhone on my way to the car, walking into the office, walking out of the office, walking home from the garage, and if I can keep my eyes open, after everyone goes to bed.
Tell us about your current project.
Right now I’m working on the second Claire Codella mystery, which is due to my publisher soon (a little too soon). In the first mystery, NYPD Detective Codella is just back from cancer and has to prove she’s still up to the task when she gets the high-profile case of a murdered public school principal. In the second mystery—three months later—she is dealing with a perfect storm of personal and professional issues when an ardently vocal young woman seeks her out claiming that her mother, Broadway dance legend Lucy Merchant who had early onset Alzheimer’s, has been murdered. In their very first encounter, Julia touches a nerve in Codella, compelling her to pursue the case as well as confront her own early relationship with her mother.
Which writers, living or otherwise, would you host at a dinner party and why?
Hmmm . . . P.D. James, because she’s the reason I turned to mysteries; Ruth Rendell, because she’d keep P.D. James company; S.J. Rozan, Laurie E. King, and Louise Penny because they I they write great mysteries; Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, and Jane Austin because at the end of the day, genre isn’t as important as good writing, and I love their writing.
What do you enjoy about your MWA membership?
I just joined, but based on my first contacts with members—at the Edgar Awards and the Brooklyn Book Festival—I’d have to say it’s a really welcoming organization, and I look forward to being a big part of it.