My Fan Girl Moment...And What I Learned about Writing from Dashiell Hammett's Granddaughter and Biographer

I had the great pleasure of meeting Julie Rivett (Dashiell Hammett's granddaughter) and Richard Layman (a Hammett biographer) recently at Bouchercon. Their talk of on one of my favorite mystery authors was a dream come true for mystery fans. I loved getting the business/historical perspective of his life juxtaposed to the family memories and stories.

Here are some tidbits of interest from their presentation...

1. Dashiell Hammett was a master of dialogue and his novels were cinematically structured. This made an easy transition for him when started writing for the movies.

2. Rivett and Layman have a new electronic book coming out in 2016 of Hammett's short stories. They appear in order of original publication. One story even has the original author's character and plot notes included.

3. Hammett also wrote many stories that weren't in the detective genre.

4. Hammett's writing style was compact and concise, and that influenced the style and genre for novels that came after his.

5. Hammett's philosophy was to get out of the way of the story. He believed that the characters told the story. Good advice for writers.

6. The family donated Hammett's papers and documents to the University of South Carolina. This is a huge opportunity for literary research. And it preserves the legacy of Dashiell Hammett for years to come.