Thursday, March 19, 2009

Novelist or journalist -- how about both?

“When are you going to write a book?”

That’s how Vin Mannix, our prolific columnist, launched his introduction yesterday of author Tim Dorsey. Vin had been invited by Manatee County’s Library Foundation to introduce Dorsey, the keynote speaker of its 22nd annual fund-raising Book and Author Luncheon.

I doubt there’s any true-blue newsroom employee, past or present, who doesn’t believe that a novel lurks inside. That’s not a symptom of bad times, although Vin noted Dorsey’s apparent wisdom in choosing his career as a successful novelist in these troubled economic times. Dorsey used to be a reporter and editor at the Tampa Tribune, and he used a lot of that experience to launch his main character, Serge Storms.

Dorsey worked the crowd at the Bradenton auditorium yesterday with a loopy sense of humor, introducing Serge to those who haven’t read any of his novels. Serge is criminally insane, but loves all things Florida. And he’s provided the spine for Dorsey’s 11 novels.

So back to Vin’s question. I’m thinking a lot more novels will be written as newsrooms get a lot smaller. But here’s hoping the rest of us will keep at that daily grind of newspapering -– online or in print. After all, without that reporting, Serge will run out of material for that next novel.

-- Joan

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