Monday, October 18, 2010

Author interview with LAURA DiSILVERIO

You write two different mysteries and the occupation of each protagonist contains parallels to your professional past. Tell us how your military background helped you to create these characters.

Thanks for having me on Author Exchange today, Linda. I loved my twenty years as an Air Force officer and I found military life fascinating and worthwhile. The military also provided great training, so when I needed to create a private investigator (Charlie Swift in Swift Justice) and a mall cop (Emma-Joy (EJ) Ferris in Die Buying), I gave them each a little military time in their backgrounds. Charlie spent eight years in the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations, the Air Force’s equivalent to a police departments detectives, and EJ was an enlisted military cop who was wounded in Afghanistan and medically retired. Their military backgrounds give both of them skills the average woman-on-the-street wouldn’t have. Plus, it opens up the possibility for intriguing storylines down the road.

What other aspects of your personality—and personal life—found their way into your writing?

Hmm. Tricky question. I couldn’t make it through a day homicide-free without exercise (weight training and cardio), so both Charlie and EJ are regular exercisers (EJ more than Charlie). Family-wise, I don’t have much in common with my characters. I have a family—hubby and two tweenage daughters—but neither of my protagonists has a family. Charlie’s a real loner who doesn’t even have much of a relationship with her parents. EJ’s more social, and has a wacky family she loves, but she hasn’t found the right man to settle down with yet. Both Charlie and EJ are pretty disciplined, as I am. I like schedules and lists and a place for everything. My husband can testify that I occasionally get a teensy bit testy when he doesn’t put the grape jelly (or any other item) back in its proper spot in the fridge! I hate wasting time looking for stuff. I’m a dog person and have a Wire-haired Pointing Griffon named Marco, while Charlie doesn’t have a pet and EJ has a rescue cat named FUBAR (military acronym for “fouled up beyond all recognition”).

You have a strict daily schedule that incorporates time for your writing, yourself, and your family. How does a writer create a schedule that works?

Creating a schedule that works is entirely dependent on the writer’s personality and situation. I write from 7:30am until 12:30 or 1:00pm (my quota is 2,000 words/day) because the girls are at school, I’m a morning person, and I’ve got deadlines! I try to quit for the day by 2:30 when my girls come home from school and I morph into chauffeur-in-chief. I know other writers who write at night after kids are in bed and spouses are asleep (I turn into a pumpkin around 9:30 each night and wouldn’t be capable of putting a single coherent sentence together), who lock themselves in hotel rooms and write non-stop for three or four weeks, or who scribble in notebooks while between meetings or while waiting for their kids to finish soccer practice. I think having goals—I’m going to write two paragraphs today; I’m going to outline the next chapter this week; I’m going to take photos of potential settings for my new book this weekend—is a help to any writer who is serious about completing a short story or novel.

Tell us about your most recent book, including where we can find it.

Swift Justice (St. Martin’s Minotaur) has been out almost a week and readers can find it anywhere books are sold. It’s a humorous mystery about my Colorado Springs PI, Charlie Swift, who arrives at her office one Monday morning to find a woman with a gun. It turns out the woman, Gigi Goldman, is the ex-wife of Charlie’s silent partner who ran off to Costa Rica, leaving Gigi with nothing but the house, the Hummer, and half-interest in Charlie’s PI business. Gigi, a socialite in her mid-fifties, has no qualifications to be a PI but needs to work to support her teenagers. Charlie tries to get Gigi to quit by giving her the PI tasks—undercover work at a fast food joint, night-time surveillance, process serving—she thinks the pampered Gigi won’t be able to tolerate. Somehow, though, Gigi gets good results, despite creating hilarious havoc wherever she goes. Charlie, meanwhile, is working to track down the teen mother of a baby left on her client’s doorstep. When a murdered body turns up, Charlie realizes she might actually need Gigi’s help . . . In a starred review, Booklist said: “The odd-couple relationship between the two women may appeal to fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and Lula. DiSilverio deftly mixes light, zany humor with the darkness of the crimes. Readers will leave this one impatient for the next book in the series.

What do you have in the works?

I’m just finishing up the second Charlie and Gigi mystery, tentatively titled Swift Edge (that may change). It involves the disappearance of an Olympic pairs skater and features Gigi’s pain-in-the-tush, 14-year-old daughter Kendall who has a huge crush on the missing skater and insists on “helping” Charlie and Gigi with their investigation. I’ll start the second of my Mall Cop mysteries in December.

Tell us what books you’ve read and enjoyed recently. We all need more books for out TBR piles, right?

I just finished Sophie Littlefield’s A Bad Day for Pretty which is even better than the first in her Stella Hardesty series. I’m also reading Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall for a book discussion group and savoring a chapter a night of Nevada Barr’s non-fiction book, Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat: A Skeptic’s Guide to Religion, which is laugh-out-loud funny and yet thought-provoking. Earlier this month, I finished Cornelia Read’s Invisible Boy – her main character, Madeline Dare, has an astounding voice and is a trenchant commenter on 1980s NYC --and I’m anxiously awaiting the release of Brad Park’s second book in his Carter Ross series. I’d love to ask this blog’s readers what they’re reading now. Leave a comment and let me know what I should add to my TBR pile.

What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?

My website is and readers can also find me on Facebook.

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