As many of you have heard, the crime fiction community lost a VIP last month when author, editor, and blogger Ed Gorman died following a long battle with cancer. Since today would have marked his 75th birthday, Patti Abbott is collecting links of tributes and remembrances, which you can check out over here. In addition to penning dozens of mystery novels, including the Sam McCain, Jack Dwyer and Dev Conrad series, Ed was a frequent contributor to the Friday's "Forgotten" Books feature hosted by Patti, something I've been a part of for about eight years. I never had the pleasure to meet Ed and am depressed that now I'll never get the chance.
Ed was involved with many anthologies through the years, often partnering with Martin H. Greenberg and others. I've featured some of those on this blog several times, as well as mentioned some of Ed's interviews with authors such as John D. MacDonald in Mystery Scene and other publications. I've collected a few of those snippets from the In Reference to Murder archives:
One of the Gorman/Greenberg collaborations were two books of interviews with well-known crime fiction authors, Speaking of Murder: Interviews with the Masters of Mystery and Suspense, published in July 1998, and Speaking of Murder II, which came out the following year. The first volume is introduced by Ed, who tells the story of how a Chicago talk show producer once told him that writers made dull guests. Ed allowed as how he agreed, since "compared to cross-dressing prostitutes, mothers who sleep with their daughter's boyfriends, and UFO abductees who have mysteriously started to dress like Elvis, I guess most of us writers do lead pretty uneventful lives." He goes on to add that writers are interesting because they're quiet and introspective.
Ed and Martin were also frequent editor of the annual anthologies of the best crime fiction short fiction. One such volume was 2008's A Prisoner of Memory: And 24 of the Year's Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, which included a roll call of the bestselling mystery authors today, Lawrence Block, Michael Connelly, Anne Perry, Marcia Muller, and many others.
Ed's interviews with authors in Mystery Scene Magazine were certainly highlights of the publication. Some of his Q&As included an interview with Mary Daheim (IRTM blog link), chatting about the writing life and her new Bed-and-Breakfast mystery; Ed interviewing prolific author and mystery genre advocate, Robert Randisi (blog link); and Ed making an interesting connection by proposing we look at Charlotte Armstrong as a purveyor of suburban noir instead of traditional mysteries (blog link here).
In another blog post, I once noted that Ed had interviewed iconic crime fiction author John D. MacDonald, which you can still read over at The Mystery File. The prolific author actually got his start writing short stories - while he was in the Army in 1945, he sent a short story home to his wife, who promptly typed it up and submitted it to Story magazine. The editors bought it for $25, thus giving MacDonald the idea that he could make a career as a writer. He told Ed that after leaving the Army, "I wrote eight hundred thousand words of short stories in those four months, tried to keep thirty of them in the mail at all times, slept about six hours a night and lost twenty pounds."
Plus, there were many, many more times I mentioned Ed in this blog for various reasons:
- He was one of the authors who donated an autographed book for the Authors Love Teachers OK Tornado Relief Auction following the tragedy at the Plaza Towers Elementary School and Briarwood Elementary School affected by an EF5 tornado in Oklahoma
- Ed and Stephen Gallagher wrote about what it takes to start and finish that first novel in the book Writing Crime Fiction.
- Ed was a friend of actor Kevin McCarthy, best known as the star of the 1956 science fiction movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and worked with Kevin writing a book about the actor's early days with Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and starting the early version of The Actors' Studio, as well as McCarthy's work on the Body Snatchers movie. Ed later had a nice tribute on his web site after McCarthy's passing.
- Ed was not only an editor of anthologies, he also contributed several stories to such works, himself. I've noted several of those on this blog, including the Murder Past, Murder Present anthology, edited by R. Barri Flowers and Jan Grape, which included stories by members of the American Crime Writers League - the organization that Ed and Robert Randisi co-founded in the late 1980s. (Blog link here.)
There are countless authors who have been sharing their encounters with Ed, either in person or online, and how willing he was to help others as they stumbled through their literary journeys. We've not only lost an outstanding author and editor and a passionate book advocate, we've also lost a fine human being. Requiescat in pace, Ed.