Friday, February 10, 2006

Pro-File: Marijane Meaker aka Vin Packer

Pro-File: Marijane Meaker aka Vin Packer aka M.E. Kerr. I’ve always rated Vin Packer (Marijane Meaker) as one of the three or four best of the paperback original writers. She came as close to turning pulp into mainstream as anybody ever did—and in this instance I mean this as a high compliment. She was frequently compared to John O’Hara and while the influence was obviously there, she had baroque wit in her Big City novels and a dark Faulknerian strain in her Deep South novels that nobody else came close to matching. One of her lost gems is a Gold Medal novel called The Girl on The Best-Seller List, which is her take on the sad (and at the time notorious) Peyton Place writer Grace Metalious. And none of this even touches on her best-selling award-winning Young Adult career as M.E. Kerr. tMarijane Meaker is one of the great ones.


What is your current novel?

1.I have just finished Scott Free, a new Vin Packer about a transgendered detective who was Scott(male) and is becoming Scotti (female). It is now being offered to publishing houses by McIntosh & Otis of NYC, my agent.

2.Your current project?

I also just finished a young adult novel( under my pseudonym M.E. Kerr) about an undocumented Latino boy and a girl he meets when he works for her contractor father. I am now beginning a lesbian comedy of the 50's, an adult novel as Marijane Meaker. I am delighted to say Stark House is reprinting many Vin Packer novels, bringing them out with such care.

3.Greatest pleasure as a writer?
The freedom to be what I always wanted to be (for some 50 years now) and the pleasure of finding a new idea in everything from something a neighbor tells you, something in another author's book that triggers your imagination, something you see, remember, hear about, read about or imagine. Writing can also be a career from which you never have to retire.

4. Greatest displeasure as a writer?
The greatest displeasure is sometimes watching the disappearance of the caring editor, the midlist novel, the small independent publisher, and the avid young reader who existed before computers.

5. Advice to the publishing world?

Help beginning writers, nurture them as writers like Anne Tyler, William Kennedy, Elmore Leonard, Stephen King etc. were encouraged with advances, advice, and patience while they developed their skills.

6. Which writers would you like to see in print again?
Peter Rabe, Charles Williams and there was a paperback writer, Jerry Weil*, who wrote regular novels and suspense.

7. Do you remember selling your first novel?

Dick Carroll, then editor of Gold Medal books was taking me to lunch. I was 22. In the cab, just as we went under the ramp near Grand Central Station, he said, "We're going to buy your book," and the taxi came out of the darkness to sunny Park Avenue. I'll never forget it. The book, by the way, was at that point one chapter and an outline. He advanced me $2000. It was 1952. Imagine what an unbelievable windfall.

*Ed here: Coincidence. A week ago I was at Half Price Books and found in their Nostalgia section three Jerry Weil novels for a buck each. I remembered how much I’d liked his stuff—he was kind of soft-core hardboiled Francoise Sagan, in other words, you never knew what the hell he was going to write next but he was an interesting guy—read one of them Escapade and liked it a lot. One of the many good writers lost to time.

1 Comments:

Blogger mtmorgan said...

Cool. Never heard of Jerry Weil. Have to track down a title or two if possible.

2:34 PM  

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