June 8, 2012

Made It Moment: Jeffrey Siger

Filed under: Made It Moments — jenny @ 6:23 am

Target: Tinos

Some of you know that I keep a special collection of books set in far off climes, very different from what I write, and even from what I normally read. Authors like Tim Hallinan, Leighton Gage, and Lisa Brackmann all write crime novels that aren’t the usual, nor are their settings. And today we welcome to the blog another wonderful example in this set, Jeffrey Siger.

Jeff, who is just coming off a stellar New York Times review by Marilyn Stasio, can certainly be said to have made it. But as his post will tell you, the real Moments often arrive in much more off-color ways, and with a fair dose of uniquely human humor. Read on.

Jeffrey Siger

My “made it moment” occurred on a nude beach on a Greek island.

It was about a year ago and I can assure you I never expected it to happen there.  In fact, by then I thought I’d already experienced my “made it moment”—twice.  First, when I learned that my debut novel, Murder in Mykonos, was the #1 best selling English-language book in Greece, and second when my international rights agent landed a German distribution deal for Murder in Mykonos with Goldmann Publishing/Random House, and a three book deal with the UK publisher Piatkus Books/Little Brown.

Little did I realize the epiphany awaiting me that day on that beach.

I live on Mykonos where clothing on beaches is largely optional and if you’re on a popular one but want to be as far away as possible from the blasting music of beachfront tavernas, you’ll likely end up among the nudists.

So, on that fateful day my girlfriend and I decided to destroy our skin for a few hours on Paranga beach (aka Paraga), a lovely, sophisticated beach with great beach tavernas.  As is my nature I headed away from the music, toward the sans culottes (and everything else) part of the beach.

I’d been coming to Mykonos for decades, which meant I knew most of the regulars.  On this beach I was sure to know someone and vice versa.  I glanced around but didn’t see anyone I knew.  Still, I wasn’t about to take off my clothes in such a public spot.  We found our patch of open sand and put down our towels, but kept on our suits.

“Jeffrey, this is a nude beach, take off your bathing suit.”

I looked over at a couple on the towel nearest to us and there lay two longtime friends of mine from Germany.  Then more German friends from other nearby towels yelled out similar sorts of greetings.  I hadn’t noticed any of them; it was as if they were invisible.

I said, “Sorry folks, I want to be recognized.”  We all had a laugh and went about our business of expediting the aging process.

I don’t know how other writers are when they get to a beach, but when I’m in the midst of writing a book (I can hear the cursing now from my colleagues, “Beach! Who has time for the BEACH?”), if I lie in the sun my mind is always running to ideas.  That’s why I keep a notebook handy to jot down those brilliant thoughts that more often than not later prove to be evidence of sunstroke.  [Luckily, enough thoughts survived that day to turn into TARGET: TINOS, my new book published June 5th by Poisoned Pen Press that The New York Times described as “another of Jeffrey Siger’s thoughtful police procedurals,” Publishers Weekly in a starred review called “superb…a winner,” Library Journal called “Fast-paced, this thriller also serves as a kind of modern travelog and mini-history lesson on Greece rolled into one…interesting and highly entertaining;” Kirkus Reviews described as A crisp style with a complex portrait of contemporary Greece to bolster another solid whodunit;” and Booklist wrote “throbs with the pulse of Greek culture…engaging series.”]

There I was stretched out on the sand doing my thing—jumping up to grab my notebook when I had a thought to scribble and back down again to baking until the next idea hit.   After about an hour of this my very patient and understanding girlfriend decided to take off for a swim.  She didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted to come along because she knew my notebook wasn’t waterproof.  Besides, without a wetsuit there was no way I’d be going in the water this early in the season.

But I did lean on my elbow to keep an eye on her because she liked to swim fairly far out from shore.  At one point I realized I was wearing sunglasses and that some of the folks in my line of vision might be thinking I was staring at their bodies, a definite no-no on a nude beach.  Especially if you’re not sans suit.  So, I took off my glasses for all to see my naked eyes.

A moment later a woman appeared in my peripheral vision.  I turned to see who she was.  No, it wasn’t Ursula Andress coming out of the water in Doctor No, but she did get my attention.  Especially when she walked right up and stood in front of me (au naturel).

“Excuse me,” she said.

Her English had a decided German accent so for some unfathomable reason I responded with practically the full extent of my German vocabulary.  “Ja?

Big mistake, for she abandoned her English and was off and running in her native tongue, leaving me to “Ich verstehe Sie nicht, I don’t understand.”

My neighbor on the nearby towel started to laugh, “Jeffrey, she wants an autograph,” and then said something in German to the woman, who immediately smiled, knelt down (on my girlfriend’s towel), and handed me a copy of the German-language version of Murder in Mykonos, titled Opfergaben in German.

I’m at a loss as to how I never noticed my book in her hands before that moment.

I took the book and reached for my pen.  It was the very first copy of Opfergaben I’d ever autographed for a fan in person, and the very first of any book I’d ever autographed for a naked fan.  This was a significant moment, so I wanted to take my time composing my thoughts.  She kept smiling and I, being raised as a gentleman, kept smiling back of course.

Suddenly, a new vision appeared in my sight.  My girlfriend had decided to come out of the water and return to her towel.

My friend on the next towel—who has a hell of a sense of humor—said, “Shall I make the introductions?”

I said, “Not necessary.”

I turned to my girlfriend and said, “Can you believe that this lovely woman just came over here to ask me to autograph her copy of Opfergaben?  What an honor this is for me.  I’m world famous!”

My girlfriend did not share my enthusiasm.  “She’s on my towel.”

Ahh, how we must suffer for our craft, at times enduring misunderstandings by those we love the most.  Then again, I suppose I should be grateful that at my “made it moment” I had, as did ancient Roman Conquerors returning to grand praise from triumphs abroad, one whispering in my ear the warning, “All glory is fleeting.”

And, yes, I’m still groveling before gf.

TARGET TINOS, the fourth novel in Jeff Siger’s Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series, was called “superb…a winner” by Publishers Weekly in a starred review, following up on his internationally best-selling Murder in Mykonos, Assassins of Athens, and Prey on Patmos: An Aegean Prophecy.  Born in Pittsburgh, Jeffrey practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm and established his own New York City law firm before giving it all up to live and write on the island of Mykonos.  Jeffrey blogs Saturdays on Murder is Everywhere, and his website is  www.jeffreysiger.com.


  1. LOL, what a great sense of humor. I must read some of your books!

    Thanks, Jenny, for another wonderful feature.

    Comment by mountainmama — June 8, 2012 @ 6:45 am

  2. Thanks, Mountainmama, but the one with the real sense of humor is my gf. :)

    Comment by Jeffrey Siger — June 8, 2012 @ 7:03 am

  3. Blahahahahaha! What a great Made it Moment! And I think I would “want to be recognized” too.

    Comment by Alison DeLuca — June 8, 2012 @ 7:59 am

  4. I love Jeff’s story. And I love Greece. I’m sending this link to my 3 sisters, we’ve been sort of planning a trip to this exotic country. After we read Jeff’s mystery, it will be a done well.

    Comment by Kathleen Kaska — June 8, 2012 @ 8:44 am

  5. What a fun made it moment. I had no trouble imagining it, including the au naturel bodies!

    Comment by Anne K. Albert — June 8, 2012 @ 8:51 am

  6. All the greatest things in our lives happen while we’re naked, right? :) Or usually involve some sort of nudity. Great story, loved it, and congratulations on the accolades Jeffrey. :)

    Comment by Thomas A. Knight — June 8, 2012 @ 8:52 am

  7. Well, a naked girl asking for a guy’s autograph is about as major a made-it-moment as any guy could ask for!

    Comment by SavvyBlue — June 8, 2012 @ 9:06 am

  8. Awesome Made It Moment Jeff! Thanks for sharing it with us. I will definitely have your books on my tbr list. Thanks again Jenny for another great moment!!

    Comment by Kellie — June 8, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  9. Jeffrey, what ever happened with the girlfriend? And what DID you pen in that lady’s book? :)

    Comment by "Doctor Barbara" - Barbara Ebel — June 8, 2012 @ 9:33 am

  10. What an entertaining post! This is such a great story.

    Jacqueline Seewald

    Comment by Jacqueline Seewald — June 8, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  11. Jeff, that is a very funny story. But I do believe that you’ve exaggerated your girlfriend’s response for the sake of comic effect. She’s too sophisticated to let an innocent incident like this bother her. What might really have gotten you in hot water is if you’d taken off your bathing suit, left your sunglasses on, and the nude German woman recognized you anyway.

    Comment by Lenny Kleinfeld — June 8, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  12. Great book, great story. Of course, what Jeffrey won’t tell you is that I wrote both of them, the post and the book, and all the other books in the series. He’s been promising me a byline for years but now that the cat is out of the bag and the whole world is singing his (my!!!) praises, no more Mr. Nice Guy. From now on, Siger is on his own.

    Seriously, these are GREAT books and the praise is long overdue.

    Comment by Timothy Hallinan — June 8, 2012 @ 1:26 pm

  13. If this is a window into your writing style, then I believe you just sold some books. Very very well done piece. Great timing and build-up, suspense — and excellent story too.

    Comment by Mark Stevens — June 8, 2012 @ 1:48 pm

  14. What a great story you have for book signings!

    Comment by Warren — June 8, 2012 @ 2:10 pm

  15. So who was it on that beach–Tim or Jeff??

    I am so glad to see new readers discovering Jeff. He deserves it.

    Discover Tim, too, hey, and all the writers mentioned in the intro. You won’t find books like theirs anywhere–they’re not similar to each other either–which I think is a hard feat to pull off.

    Thanks to you all for coming by, and to Jeff for being a part of the Moments.

    A naked part.

    Comment by jenny — June 8, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

  16. Lenny–that comment was as funny as Jeff’s piece. (Not that kind of piece). Thanks for the laugh.

    Comment by jenny — June 8, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  17. Read Jeff’s books; they are fun and informative and good police procedurals. Best of all, they’re set in Greece. I just finished Tinos and now I have to wait some more. Phooey. (But you don’t have to get undressed to read them).

    Comment by Lil Gluckstern — June 8, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

  18. I’m so glad I was able to raise the level of literate intercourse today. For all of you who liked my little tale and/or nudity (Alison, Anne, Thomas, Savvy, Kellie, Jacqueline, Mark and Warren), thank you. And for those of you sending sisters (or, for that matter, Kathleen, anything else to Greece these days) thank you, too.

    And, yes, the gf–named Barbara by the way Barbara, is still with me…partly because she doesn’t know what I penned in ‘that lady’s book–and nor will you:)

    Lenny, if it had gone down the way you described…

    Tim Hallinan can never be no more Mr. Niceguy. In fact, the only thing that could top the vision I carry of that fan clutching my Opfergaben on the beach that day is Tim sitting there pounding away on his Mac for the greater glory of the big Poke.

    And Jenny, I think we may have unintentionally raised expectations in your very enthusiastic readership as to the sort of “MADE IT Moment” revelations they’d like to see from your guests.

    And if you added photos…

    Comment by Jeffrey Siger — June 8, 2012 @ 3:39 pm

  19. James Thompson has a fabulous series set in Finland. Then there’s Thora Gudmundsdottir (Iceland), Roslund & Hellstrom (Sweden), Ken Bruen (Ireland), Arnaldur Indridason (Iceland), Conor Fitzgerald (Italy), Jo Nesbo (Norway), Jussi Adler-Olsen (Denmark), Peter James (England), and Stephen Booth (England), just to name a few.

    Comment by Sandra Tooley — June 8, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  20. Great story, though I worried the whole time that you might not have been using sunscreen. But of course, you were, right?

    Comment by Anita Page — June 9, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  21. Yes, Anita, and of course different protection for different parts. One can never be too careful.

    Comment by Jeffrey Siger — June 10, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  22. HAHAH! I have nothing to add other than, this “made it” moment will be very hard to top.

    Comment by Lisa — June 10, 2012 @ 1:54 pm

  23. Great additions, Sandra, thanks. And thanks, everyone, for taking part in this especially intimate look at success ;)

    Comment by jenny — June 11, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  24. I’m late weighing in, but I have to say that pretty much tops most Made It Moments. Thanks for a very entertaining Moment!

    Comment by Marja McGraw — June 11, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

  25. And I’m late at thanking you, Marja! And, Lisa, too. Sorry about that.

    Comment by Jeffrey Siger — June 21, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

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