Apr 15, 2009

Crimespree Editors Interview Each Other

So, it's true. Crimespree really is five years young. As promised, this celebration is moving to the blog and we'll begin now with Ruth & Jon's interview of each other.

Tomorrow: The Wonderful World of Mystery


Ruth: A five year run, it feels like a run doesn't it?
Jon: at times, and yet it's hard to believe it's been five years.

Ruth: That's because we're sprinting all the time. congrats, Jon Jordan. The dream is real. It has substance. I feel very lucky, you?

Jon: I do feel lucky. We came up with a crazy idea with no real experience and managed to make it work. Some parts feel much easier and others are just as taxing. What's gotten easier for you?

Ruth: It's easier for me to put off writing reviews... but that's a bad habit. I think just about everything is a little easier but really, until Crimespree I'd never interviewed anyone. I'd led author chats on line and asked many writers to describe their series for the quickly defunct Prime Crime E-Zine but an interview? No way. And then there I was trying to entertain people who were used to and entertained by Jon Jordan's wonderful, respectful and yet irreverent style. You were an Anthony nominee for goodness sakes. It was a blessing and a curse that the first interview was a true hero. Only one thing has been more nerve racking over the last five years.

What's easier for you these days?

Jon: Doing reviews and getting to the layout is still kind of like homework for me, put it off till the last minute. I always have the best intentions, but the books pile up faster than I do the reviews. Reading is still the easiest part. One of the difficult things is trying to make the reviews witty and not sound the same. You saw me go into mental block last night trying to blurb that book.

Layout is much easier than it was and goes much faster. Part of it's the faster internet, but I think a lot of it is all the trial and error with the program we use for layout.

And after five years it is easier to get the attention of most publishers. Though some people still think we are just a website and some don't understand the lead time we need.

So, any favorite things about doing this you didn't expect when we started? Aside from reading books so early?

Ruth: You were so cute last night. Agonizing is the only word for it. It's great that you're at a place where you know when something isn't quite right or has a mailed in feel to it.

I love that we do seem to make a difference. I love the friendships we've started through simple introductions. I didn't expect any of that. I just really wanted to try and make mystery a living breathing thing for people who enjoyed the occasional work of fiction if that makes any sense.

the best thing has to be the helping hands. People coming to us with genuine excitement about a book, writer, their own experiences and then saying, "do you want me to write/interview/review... I just wish we had room for every idea.

What about you?

Jon: I love that our initial plan is actually working. Helping get people we love to read to find new readers. Helping readers find new authors. And I really love when new authors are surprised how open we are. I love new authors. I actually feel great when I see that we are reaching people. It makes the late nights at the computer with Josh Rouse playing or Pink Floyd in the background all worthwhile.

I really love how your skills have gone way up. You've become a great interviewer and reviewer and your footprint article rock, they don't feel academic or dry.

So, did you ever think you'd be getting comics mailed to you asking for your opinion? Or manuscripts?

Ruth: Certainly not comics. Your enthusiasm even works at home Jon Jordan. I love the folks who've sent me manuscripts. I've had a lot of fun whether being the "reader' in the inner circle or just being sent a treat. Sometimes it's hard to know when someone wants an honest critique or if they basically want a cheerleader. I hope I'm both. What do you do when you read something early and it doesn't do anything for you?

Jon: So far I've been lucky, everything I read early on in manuscript has been really good. The hard part is waiting till everyone else reads it so there are people to talk to about it.

So what are some of your favorite articles from our first five years?

Ruth: Too many to even start, but the Lippman/Crumley interview has a lot of history to it. Everything from knowing how far the magazine had come to maybe the biggest fan moment of my life. We knew we were putting Crumley on the cover. Had to. No one else was doing it and he will remain one of the
most relevant mystery writers for all time. But being able to get someone to step in last moment to do the interview and the someone is Laura Lippman?
Wow, our little magazine rocks. I felt Crimespree's viability. The fan moment? When I passed Jim Crumley's phone call screening even before the answering machine beeped, I literally pinched myself. And then talked to a hero. And then told everyone I talked to for the next week I passed his
screening routine and got to talk to him. I shed tears when I saw that cover.

We've really expanded the magazine, bringing in DVD reviews, comic coverage. I think we're closer to being what we set out to be "The People Magazine of the Mystery World", what's excited you the most in our evolution ?

Jon: I've always been happy with the content, but I think the look of the magazine gets better and better. It was definitely a learning curve.
I also love that we attract such wonderful people to write articles. And our regulars are terrific, Ayo, Jeremy, Julia, Craig, Declan and Reed (who has never missed a deadline). I also enjoy the guest recipes from authors. The fun part is the access we can get and being able to interview cool people. I don't know that it would have been possible without Crimespree.

Ruth: I know we wouldn't have all the access but I suspect we'd have quite a bit. Folks in this community are so great. But what a cast of supporting players we've had. Clair Lamb meeting John Connolly to snap our cover photo is simply the latest in a long line. And the columnists. Julia is such a
cheerleader for everyone, Reed is just the bomb, speaking from his heart every step of the way. Craig and Declan stepping in has been almost organic and I think of Jim Pascoe, Robert Randisi, Anthony Ranoine.... the list goes on. Let's not forget Mary Regan's pictures. And could we be doing this at
all without Jen or Jeremy. Our reviewers. The short story contributors. Where's Jason Starr been? I miss looking for him in the mag. Sorry , I'm forgetting folks and this is getting long but really it is a family affair and we have a huge family. You know what makes me the happiest? It's when
someone comes up to me and says, "I started reading so-and-so because of Crimespree" That is, more than anything else, off the charts for me.

So where do we go from here Jon? You got another five years in you?

Jon: I have years left in me. I truly enjoy doing the magazine, except maybe tracking down all the book covers! The big question is, who’s next for a cover, who is the next big star and what’s the next big surprise?

Ruth: With you on this Honey. Hey this has been fun. It's reminded me of when we were courting, e-mailing back and forth. To many more years of Crimespree.


Cara Black said...

Happy, happy birthday Crimespree, Jon and Ruth...

Laura Lippman said...

Y'all are adorable. Am I allowed to say that? I'm going to say that. And happy birthday.

Ayo Onatade said...

You guys rock! You will never realise how worried I was when I turned up at Milwaukee for B'Con in Chicago and Jon collected me at the airport. We had only known each other via my articles and emails but now I see myself as an honorary Jordan who does not get to see enough of you!

Happy birthday to Crimespree and thanks for being such wonderful fun guys to be with.

alison said...

Cutest interview ever. I love you guys.

Happy Birthday, Crimespree!

stevemosby said...

Happy Birthday! :-)

Janet Rudolph said...

Congratulations on 5 years! Love the interview!Crimespree is such a great magazine. Job well done. Here's to another 5 + 5 + 5 + 5...

Ali Karim said...



Guess Who

Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Happy Birthday, Crimespree!

MysterLynch said...

We love you guys. Thanks for five wonderful years.

Stacey Cochran said...

Congratulations, Jon and Ruth. Y'all rock!

Ellen Clair Lamb said...

Bravo, congratulations, and many happy returns!



Mark Billingham said...

Let's hear more about the courting!

HUGE congrats you two...XXX

Jon The Crime Spree Guy said...

Ahhh, the courting.

We met on a cool October evening surrounded by drunk and getting drunk mystery writers and fans.....

ruth the crimespree gal said...

Thanks everyone for tuning in. We're very happy we've made it this far,and hope that we can do the seemingly impossible. 25 years of editing is truly something. We give it up for Janet Rudolph, right here..right now. And uhm Mark.... the courting stories? That's another blog... you need a password...

Julia said...

You two crazy kids, get a room!

Julia, who has NEVER, I think, made a deadline.