A Small Earnest Question

It’s here…Book Four in the North of the Tension Line Series

“J.F. Riordan writes with a seductive immediacy which reveals the extraordinary in the lives of people we too carelessly think ordinary. A Small Earnest Question combines keen social observation, engaging characters, quiet humor, and rich sense of place. Rewarding from first page to last.”
— Richard North Patterson

Ask your favorite bookstore to order it for you…

The Demography of Goats

Goat photo courtesy the Washington Post (Flickr/Bagsgroove)

Goat photo courtesy the Washington Post (Flickr/Bagsgroove)

Is that an oxymoron, since the root of the word demography is demos, meaning (common) people? Perhaps gidagraphy would be more correct?

In any case, I was reminded recently of this story, that ran in The Washington Post last January.

I am not a numbers person. Nor a measurer. Nor a keeper of statistics of any kind. And yet, this particular set of numbers fascinates me.

Go ahead and click on the map in the article. I’ll wait.


One dot equals 500 goats?? I had no idea that goats were so much a part of the American landscape.

Texas, in particular, seems to be a hotbed of goatishness.

And by the way, please note from the article: “Goats are having a moment.”


The Big Question

I am beginning to sense a pattern. I’ve been on the book club circuit recently and it has been great fun to have total strangers engaged with my characters, asking about them and why they do the things they do. Readers have come to own my story. It’s theirs now as much as it is mine, and they want to engage with it. Some people have theories, and I listen to these with great interest because they often surprise me. There are also certain questions people ask routinely, and the answers to these questions have become a bit routine, as well. People want to know what Elisabeth sees in Roger. They ask about Roger’s mental health. They love Rocco. They pretty much all hate Stella and want her killed, and many people comment on developing cravings for scotch.

But there is one question–the one I get most–that I have no routine response to: What happened to Robert?

I believe that this is the kind of question that a reader must resolve alone, and I have steadfastly remained silent, even though the sequel to North of the Tension Line is nearly finished.

This is driving one of my friends crazy. In a bid to draw me out she recently sent me an article from the Washington Post with a map of all the goats in the United States.

There was just one question accompanying the link: Is he here???