Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Q&A with Laura DiSilverio!

This week, we sat down with Laura DiSilverio. Her first suspenseful stand-alone, The Reckoning Stones, is out now!

Midnight Ink: How long have you been writing?
Laura DiSilverio: I've been writing all my life, starting with short stories about horses and Viking princesses in a collection I called Let Your Imagination Run Free. It had a construction paper cover on which I drew a picture of a horse and a girl with long, flowing black hair (research wasn't my long suit). As I recall, I spent more time on the drawing than the writing. I started writing for a living when I retired from the Air Force. My first mystery hit bookstore shelves in May 2010, and The Reckoning Stones is my fourteenth published novel.

Laura's Desk
MI: What influence have other authors had on your writing?
LD: Last year, my New Year's resolution was to read a bunch of classic books I'd never gotten around to (whether or not they were assigned in school). Along the way I rediscovered Steinbeck and he's having an influence on my writing. I aspire to prose as crisp and descriptive as his, and characters as haunting.

I couldn't possibly name all the other writers, living or dead, who have influenced my work in one way or another, whether by brainstorming with me, offering me advice, or blazing a trail so women mystery writers writing about female sleuths could get published and recognized. If I try, I'll leave someone out, so I'm not going to write them down.

MI: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be doing?
LD: Don't laugh, but I think I might be an event organizer or a personal trainer. I enjoy working out and have worked with trainers off and on. I enjoy helping folks learn how to get more out of their gym routines. I am also very organized and a multi-tasker, and I get a kick out of putting together events for hundreds of people. 

Despite twenty years in the military, I don't think I could go back to being an "employee" again, unless financial necessity dictated. I like being able to set my own schedule and wear sloppy duds while working. I like the fact that my job doesn't usually feel like work. Please buy The Reckoning Stones so I don't have to work on my delivery of "Do you want fries with that?"

MI: If you have a job outside of writing, what is it?
LD: Unless parenting counts as a job (which I think it does), I don't have another job. I write full-time and am grateful to be able to do so. My hat's off to writers who juggle day jobs and bushels of kids and still write books.
Pikes Peak at Sunset
Laura's Wirehaired Pointing Griffin, Marco
MI: What are your favorite things to do when you’re not writing or working?
LD: I read, of course, but I also work out, hike, walk my Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, volunteer at my church, go to wine tastings or out to dinner with my hubby, and travel.

MI: Who is your favorite mystery sleuth and why?
LD: That's  tough question. Hmm. Can I mash up a couple of sleuths? I like Elvis Cole, Vicky Bliss, and Myron Bolitar for their humor, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot for their intellectual processes, Kinsey Millhone and Barbara Havers for their grit, Adam Dalgleish for his sophistication and melancholy, Annie Laurance and Max Darling for their solid and long-term marriage, and lots of others for relationships or personal struggles that carry through many books.

MI: What was your inspiration for this book?
LD: This is the first book I've ever written that had its genesis in a news story. I read a brief article years ago about police trying to find a girl who had run away from home as a teenager. She'd been abused by her pastor and forced to apologize publicly when she got up the nerve to tell her parents. The police were trying to find her long after the fact because a raft of other girls had come forward more recently with similar tales about abuse.

I started thinking about how awful such a situation would be, and wondering where the girl was, and Mercy/Iris and The Reckoning Stones grew out of that.

Laura's First Stand-alone
Suspense Novel
MI: Tell us about Iris Dashwood.
LD: Iris is a complicated character. The victim of sexual abuse by a person of trust (her pastor), she ran away at fifteen and encountered a lot of the ugly situations you'd imagine a runaway teen might face. She washed up in Portland, Oregon and is lucky enough to be taken in and mentored by Jane, an art gallery owner who recognizes her potential and helps her get training in jewelry design. When the story opens, she's successful, driven, and still prey to demons that make her seek out men who prey on young girls and punish them. She's never had a successful romantic relationship and prefers one-night stands with very young men (early twenties) who don't want marriage or long-term. 

Laura's Debut Novel
When she learns that her abuser has come out of his two decades long coma, her muse deserts her and she must return to her insular community to confront him and learn what really happened the night she left. As she reconnects with her parents, best friend and former boyfriend, she begins to understand herself better, heal some relationships and unearth some secrets.

MI: How does this book compare to your past works?
LD: My previous thirteen books are traditional mysteries or humorous private eye novels. They're all much funnier and more lighthearted than The Reckoning Stones. I greatly enjoyed the challenge of writing The Reckoning Stones, although I finished each day in a somewhat grimmer mood than when I write humorous mysteries.

MI: Do you have a pet? Tell us about him/her.
LD: Our dog is a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. He's eleven years old and still active and spry. He's bred to be a hunting dog, but we don't hunt, so he contents himself with stalking squirrels and bunnies. It's hysterical to watch him stalk bunnies in slow motion. I swear you would never believe that a dog could move so slowly, like a movie-maker working with claymation.

Marco the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
Marco on Deck

MI: What food could you live off of for the rest of your life?
LD: No one food would do it. I like variety. Salmon, chocolate, natural peanut butter, pasta, peaches, tea . . . there are too many to confine myself to one.

MI: Do you have a favorite recipe?
LD: Nope.

MI: What’s your favorite part about being an Inker?
LD: I love being part of a community that celebrates good writing and creativity. From the editorial staff to art (the book has an amazing cover!), production and sales and marketing, everyone has been so professional and helpful. I also like how supportive all the MI writers are of each other. It's a blessing to be an Inker.

The Reckoning Stones is available online and in bookstores now!

Midnight Ink | Indiebound | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Your local bookstore

Visit Laura online here.

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