Catching up with Laurie Chandlar is no easy feat–see her book tour schedule below–but she was gracious enough to spend some of her time between flights, conferences, and talks to share thoughts about the third book in her successful Art Deco Mystery series as well as how she approaches writing.
This is the third (!) outing with Lane. Is there anything you discovered about her in this book that surprised you? Lane is a lot of fun. She makes me laugh. And actually, it occurs to me that she’s how I see a lot of New Yorkers. Many New Yorkers who have lived there a long time, still truly appreciate it. They don’t take it for granted. They’re busy people, yet very kind when someone needs help in the street. They enjoy and soak up the art and cultural aspects. But the best part is that they have this camaraderie with total strangers, this spirit that we’re all in it together. I love that about Lane. In The Gold Pawn, Lane has to come to grips about the premature death of her parents. In The Pearl Dagger, I enjoyed seeing her move on and then even help her love interest, Finn, with his own tricky past. Her depth of intuition and understanding really fun to work with.
Now that you’re well down the road of a successful series, what have you learned along the way? Just so much. It’s all such a learning process and I love to learn. From becoming a better writer, to marketing, to networking and self-confidence. The ultimate lesson, though, is to keep working. I’ve had a lot of people be extremely encouraging and helpful along the way, but it’s a long and hard process. I haven’t had a lot of doors that just opened easily. I’ve most often had to create my own door and barge through it. My lesson to new writers, is to always keep improving and learning. Remember why you write and keep your mind and heart focused on that. And never let anyone ever to you, “You can’t do that.” I was told I was too cute to get far in PR, that if I moved to New York city it would eat me alive (I’ve lived there 18 years), that I wouldn’t get published, that I couldn’t write my novel until I had a ten week beach retreat, that I probably would never be in the awards world… None of it was true. I just kept sticking around and learning. 🙂
Can you describe your writing process? Has it changed since you wrote your first book?I usually come up with the beginning, the middle and kind of the end (I might not know who the culprit is, but I have an idea of the culmination scene). Then I begin to write scenes. Mostly from beginning to end, but sometimes I get stuck or I have the inspiration for a great scene later and I go ahead and write that. Usually, if I can have fun with that, it gives me an idea or a way to get unstuck. Then I like to create a timeline vs. an outline. I like to visually see everything laid out like that. I helps me see gaps and what needs to be filled in, places that I need to develop further, etc. When I first began, I was still figuring out if I was a writer. I mainly started writing scenes in general (I had characters developed, but not really a full plot). I needed to write scenes to get the ball rolling. I’d tried an outline up front, but for me, when the characters and my own voice were not fully realized, I’d be stymied by the whole outline and I never found traction.
Before you started this series, you wrote a book on creativity. How was writing that book is different from writing fictionThat one I could outline! 🙂 Creativity is something I can talk for hours on. I teach classes on it, so I had the bullet points all set. I just needed to flesh it out. I love characters, so writing fiction is the most enjoyable for me because I love to see how they develop and relate with each other. I love people-watching, so this is like creating my own way to people watch