Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Happy Birthday, Stephanie Black!

by Robison Wells

Today is the birthday of my good friend Stephanie Black! Hooray!

Many of you might not be aware that Stephanie and I attended the same high school: Salt Lake City's West High. We are the bitter, violent rival of East High, which was the filming location of "High School Musical". So, imagine that show, and picture Zac Efron merrily dancing down the hall, and then picture a big fight breaking out afterwhich a cop smashes Efron on the head with a walkie-talkie and blood sprays everywhere. Thus describes my most vivid memory of East High School.

I wanted to post some embarrassing pictures of Stephanie. Since we went to the same high school, you'd think that I'd have old yearbook pictures of her, right? WRONG. A little-known fact about Stephanie Black: she's fifty-eight years old.

In unrelated news, President Thomas S. Monson also attended West High School, which therefore means that West is the holiest of all high schools, and the fact that we lose every single football game is merely because we're humble and charitable. "No," we say. "We don't need to catch the ball. You take it. I'll meet you down at the end zone to get you a drink."

Another little-known fact about Stephanie Black: she's not actually related to Sirius Black. Other people she's not related to: Conrad Black (aka Baron Black of Crossharbour), Bud Black (1950s pitcher for the Detroit Tigers), and Jacob Black (werewolf dreamboat who's in love with a baby). She is, however, related to Halfdan The Black, the father of the first king of Norway.

In more serious news, let me tell you how Stephanie Black and I met (and this is the point in the blog where I have stopped making things up): I was at a book signing in scenic West Jordan, Utah, and not a single customer came into the store for about two hours. There were two employees, and they were both in the backroom, doing something. (Kissing? Probably not.) Anyway, I had nothing to do, so I sat there and read Stephanie's new book, The Believer, which had just been released. And, when I left the bookstore, I bought it. This is the only time that I can recall where I bought a book at one of my booksignings. (I'm a cheapskate.)

Anyway, the reason that I bought it was because it was so dang good. I later wrote a review of it on my website (something else I don't normally do), and said many a glowing thing about it. And then I got an email from Stephanie's daughter which said, referring to Stephanie "She is a lot more of a nutcase than she lets on." And the rest is history.

But, here's my point: Stephanie asked me to do a backliner blurb for Fool Me Twice, her mystery that came out earlier this year. I did so, and sent the blurb into the publisher, and they didn't end up using it. This is surprising, since my blurb was about as flattering a thing as you can imagine. Maybe it's just that no one respects my opinion? No, that can't be it! Anyway, here's the blurb:

"Fool Me Twice is a perfect follow-up to The Believer. The suspense is agonizing and gripping, the mystery intricate and devious, and the conclusion deliciously satisfying. Stephanie Black is unbelievable--one of the most vibrant and intelligent writers in the market."

So, the question is this: how much of that blurb is true and how much of that blurb is just me trying to help my friend sell books? The answer (and this is the honest answer): I actually toned down that blurb because I didn't want to make superlative statements. But, now I'm going to anyway: I am of the opinion, and I've told her this privately, that Stephanie Black is one of the very best--perhaps THE best--writers in the LDS market.

Happy birthday, Stephanie Black! Retirement is just around the corner!


At 12/09/2008 9:39 PM, Blogger Annette Lyon said...

Couldn't agree more. Stephanie's a fantastic writer.

I had several potentially witty things to add, but they all sounded stupid written out, so I deleted them. Pretend I was really funny.

At 12/09/2008 10:36 PM, Blogger Chillygator said...

When you mentioned West, my first thought was "Oh, President Monson went there. Their colors are red and black." (because this is how my mind works, apparently.)

Happy birthday, Stephanie!

At 12/09/2008 11:21 PM, Anonymous mean aunt said...

Happy Birthday Steph!

At 12/09/2008 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said Rob;)you always make me laugh haha...ha
Happy Birthday Stephanie!!!

At 12/10/2008 12:40 AM, Blogger Lucy Eliza said...

Happy Birthday Stephanie!

Are you sure you're not related to Sirius Black? Because that would be really cool if you were.

At 12/10/2008 12:46 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Rob, this was a truly awesome birthday present. Thank you! But how did you manage to nail my age with such uncanny accuracy? I want a refund on my Oil of Olay.

Thanks, everyone, for all the birthday wishes!

Lucy Eliza, sadly, I'm not related to Sirius, though I am related to a guy named Ethelred the Unready, from whom I seem to have inherited certain qualities.

At 12/10/2008 1:52 AM, Blogger Melanie Goldmund said...

Oh, I didn't see this until it was too late! Well, hope you had a happy day and a great birthday anyway, Stephanie! And Rob's right, you're one of the best writers in the LDS market! For your birthday next year, I hope you get lots of lovely royalties and book contracts and praise, and everything else your heart desires.

At 12/10/2008 8:08 AM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Happy birthday!

At 12/10/2008 1:23 PM, Blogger Jennie said...

Stephanie, belated birthday wishes from me. Omigosh, we must be distantly related since dear old Ethelred is a fixture on my family tree too. As for 58; Rob isn't even close, but he does know his stuff when it comes to your writing talent.

At 12/10/2008 5:41 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

Happy birthday Stephanie :)

I once endorsed a book and the publisher didn't use it either. So don't feel bad.

At 12/10/2008 7:22 PM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

Rob, that second-to-the-last paragraph is almost beyond doubt the smartest thing I've ever read from you. :)

Happy belated birthday, Stephanie!

At 12/11/2008 8:34 AM, Blogger Keith Fisher said...

Happy Birthday Stephanie.

I knew there was a reason I like your writing. it turns out we were born on the same day. Although I'm not going to reveal what year I was born. I hope your day was fantastically wonderful.


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