Guest post by Bryon Quertermous of Exhibit A Books

Bryon Quertermous, Editor of Exhibit A Books

SAVING SUSAN SILVERMAN

I went to see a movie last night and it was one of the first movies in a while that made me inspired about publishing. Plenty of great movies inspire me about movies, but this movie was, at its heart, about how books can help us work through the worst parts of our lives and provide entertainment to millions.

In this case, the movie was Saving Mr. Banks and the book was Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. On it’s surface the movie is a fun little ditty about smooth Walt Disney trying to charm the stubborn and fussy Mrs. Travers, into signing over the film rights to her book. What the movie does brilliantly though, is show that there is a very good reason Mrs. Travers is unwilling to sell her beloved Mary Poppins. In a series of flashback to the author’s childhood, we see how her stories helped her relate to, and eventually reconcile, the conflicting nature of her alcoholic father.

This got me thinking about how often we hear about our favorite authors refusing to sell their creations to film and how often we see characters we don’t like but the author seems unnaturally attracted to. I think the most famous of these is Susan Silverman, the love interest of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Almost since her first appearance, Susan has been a polarizing character in the series and as Parker got more and more lazy with his characters later in his career, more and more people voiced their displeasure with Susan. But the backstory of course is that Susan is a stand-in for Parker’s own conflicted love interest Joan. He worked out the issues of their unique marriage and separation through the character of Susan and he didn’t much care what critics thought of how he handled it.

These are the characters and authors we want to bring to readers with Exhibit A. We not only have characters that readers can relate with, we have authors with passion investing their full emotions into their books. This is one of the biggest benefits of a smaller operation like Exhibit A. We can deal in passion projects that might not have the commercial appeal for mass production but are just the sort of thing our smart and savvy readers are looking for.

In many ways, we share this mission with operations like Crimespree. In addition to selling books, we want to build a community. We don’t just want readers, we want family. So as I take over the reigns of Exhibit A and look to continue the work the publisher and previous editor started, I appreciate Jon and Dan and the rest of the Crimespree crew for opening up their doors and helping spread the word. Check out our books, and next time you see one of our authors, treat ’em like family by yelling at them and asking them for money.