Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Laura Caldwell

Laura Caldwell's newest book The Good Liar is an excellent thriller. Laura made the transition from Women's Fiction/Chicklit to Thriller writing seamlessly. She was kind enough to answer some of my nosy questions...

I write in the morning. When do you write?

In the morning, too, although not necessarily because I'm a morning person. It's just
that if I don't get something done--pages, research, editing--it chases me around all day and I'm tortured. I used to have this thing about not checking email or phone until I finished a certain amount of words, but that stellar habit seems to be eroding lately.

Why do you write?

Ah, so we're just getting right to it, huh? Zero to fifty in six sentences. : ) I guess I write because I always have these stories in my head, these scenarios and questions....What if there was a woman who got married to a fabulous man but he turned out to be lying to her about who he was? What if a fashion designer married an Irish actor and he became uber famous right after they got married? What if a girlfriend's trip to Italy led to blackmail and murder? The fact that I'm getting to play them all out now is amazing, and I'm grateful for it all the time.

Who are your biggest writing influences?

I'm not sure I have any particular influences, and my favorite books are always changing. Right now I'm reading The Sun Rises Slowly by Erna Paris, a book about the International Criminal Court, because I'm teaching that topic in Rome this summer. I'm also reading a memoir called Extraordinary Circumstances by Cynthia Cooper because it's about an everyday woman pulled into an incredible situation, and that's sort of the kind of memoir I'm working on right now, too. Lastly, I always have a mystery going, so I'm reading a new book by Joy Fielding called Charley's Web.

Have you got any tips for budding writers?

Budding writers have heard this before, but it's all in the discipline. It doesn't have to be mega-discipline. It just has to be setting of a goal and sticking to it maybe 50% of the time. My weekly goal when I was first writing (while I was also practicing law) was simply that I was going to sit down and write one time during the week. It's amazing what starts to add up when you sit down just once a week and get something out.

How do you deal with writers block?

I can't talk about writer's block. I'm superstitious, and I'm afraid if I talk about it it will happen. I'm moving onto the next question and pretending you never said that...

You are an attorney, as well as a writer, how does this help or hinder your
writing process?

I think it helped tremendously. One of the biggest complaints of attorneys is that they have to bill hours, but billing forces you to be disciplined which spills over well into the writing world.

You wrote a number of women's fiction titles before writing thrillers; The Rome Affair and The Good Liar. How did you make that transition and why?

I wrote Burning the Map, my first novel about a girlfriend's trip to Italy and Greece, before there was a market for chick lit. When I couldn't sell that, I started writing a mystery. So when I finally got my foot in the door, I was writing both. And I was lucky enough to have an agent and an editor who supported whatever I wanted to do.

The internet has a nasty habit of luring me in and stopping me writing!
What’s your procrastination vice?

It's a trap! You think, "I'm just going to check one email," and next thing you know you're researching a bike trip to Machu Picchu and you've lost three hours. I try to turn off my wireless internet, but it's just too damned easy to turn it back on.

When you become the a billionaire through writing, what will you do with
your life? Will you still write?

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I can't ever imagine not writing. But the tricky thing about life is that there are a lot of things you can't imagine and sometimes the gods still throw them at you.

What do you love most about the book you’ve just written/released?

The thing I love most about The Good Liar is that it's an international thriller that moves from Russia to New York to Brazil, but at it's core it's about an average Chicago woman who finds herself in an unbelievably un-average situation. I love stories about everyday girls.

What are you working on now?

A few things. Mostly I'm working on my "Red" series that will come out next summer featuring a sassy, redheaded lawyer from Chicago who keeps finding herself in a mess of trouble (hmmm, sounds like someone I know. Note to self: see therapist soon). The first one is Red Hot Lies, the second Red Blooded, the third tentatively titled Code Red. They are all coming out in the summer of 2009.

What do you want the reader to take away from your book?

I want a reader to be entertained first and foremost, but I always hope that the books are thought provoking too.


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