HP: For someone who doesn’t cook, your deliciously vivid descriptions of Elliott’s food choices in WHACK JOB keep our mouths watering. Please tell us, in Elliott-style detail, your perfect meal (including appetizer, entrée, and decadent dessert).
KL: I love writing scenes featuring food! I was long ago inspired by the sandwich making of the late great Lawrence Sanders’ Edward X. Delaney. Man, those suckers always sound so divine on the page, I could almost taste them. A perfect meal starts will a plate of crunchy homemade potato chips drizzled with a light parmesan cream with bleu cheese crumbles, followed by a crisp green salad topped with pulled pork marinated in a tangy bbq sauce, and sweet coconut macaroons to end this delightful meal. Gluten free, of course.
HP: We’ve heard you’re one of the world’s biggest Disneyland fans. What is your absolute favorite thing to do at the park, and who is your favorite character? (And how many times have you actually been there?!)
KL: Too many times to count (fifty maybe?)! I grew up in Southern California, so going to Disneyland multiple times a year was natural – and made me giddy with anticipation every single time. Still does to this day. I cannot possibly name one favorite thing, but I can narrow it down to a few faves: the Haunted Mansion, Pirates, Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, Indiana Jones, churros, frozen bananas, and reading the plaque as I walk beneath the train station: Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.
Note: Disneyland is not the same as Disney World. Not even close. Just saying. And Pluto has always been my favorite.
HP: WHACK JOB makes us laugh with an array of eccentric characters that drive each other crazy over the annual Wonderland Tea Party. Which character in WHACK JOB was the most fun for you to write, and why?
KL: Zibby Archibald is always a joy. She’s quirky and an oddball and I love her. It was also fun to write Gilbert as his character slowly devolved. There’s something about mismatched pants and inside-out shirts that appeals to me (and Elliott). But the Ballantyne events are such an enjoyable part of Elliott’s life, and the Wonderland Tea Party made me dream of topsy-turvy cakes and a Dixieland band. I so want to go!
HP: You’ve recently started a new chapter of Sisters in Crime in North Dallas. How significant has Sisters in Crime been in your writing career, and what are a few programs you have planned?
KL: Sisters in Crime helped get me to where I am, from the support of the group as a whole to specialized chapters (yes, Guppies, I’m looking at you!) to individual members where I’ve formed friendships and received career-building advice.
I’m excited to bring a new chapter of SinC to North Dallas. Our first meeting is in June and I’ve already had such a welcome response. We’re working on programming now which will include writing workshops, law enforcement experts, marketing/PR speakers and a trip to the gun club.
HP: Finally, tell us your favorite mystery novel and what draws you to that particular author and the genre as a whole.
KL: I was first drawn to the genre reading Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigator mysteries. A secret junkyard headquarters and a stuttering parrot? I was in! There was something so engrossing and satisfying to put puzzle pieces together and solve the crime alongside these literary sleuths. I also loved Trixie Belden! I never cared for cartoons (except Scooby, obviously), so if I couldn’t watch Quincy or Columbo (which surprisingly was not often on early Saturday mornings), then I’d grab one of my well-worn mysteries and revisit those adventures.
Today, I’d say A IS FOR ALIBI is probably my favorite mystery. I’ve read it about a dozen times! Such a well-crafted, well-written whodunit. Sue Grafton writes with authority and humor while keeping the mystery engaging, as does my other favorite who I mentioned earlier, Lawrence Sanders. Elli was definitely inspired by their characters: the sensibility of Kinsey Millhone and the whimsy of Archibald McNally.