Alison: Congratulations on the release of The Gold Pawn! In your first book in this series, The Silver Gun, I feel you portray New York City almost as a character as much as a setting. How does the city feature in this second book? Laurie: Thank you! In The Gold Pawn, the main mystery takes place in New York City, but Lane Sanders, aide to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, must also face the ghosts of her past as she discovers a disturbing link between her family’s secrets and the current mystery she’s embroiled in. Lane continues to soak up life in NYC, and she witnesses the unique and magical things that the city spontaneously provides. So YES, New York is a major character! But you also have Detroit and Rochester, Michigan added to the story this time. The history in both the small town of Rochester and the industrious Detroit of the 1930s is delicious. There are some fun cameos and real history with the restaurants, vintage cars, and other establishments that gave the cities their special personality. Alison: For those who don’t already know Lane Sanders, can you introduce us? Laurie: Lane Sanders is the twenty-four-year-old vivacious, clever aide to one of America’s greatest mayors, Fiorello La Guardia. She not only helps him administratively, but her intuitive observations lend him critical help in the nuance that his boisterous and take-charge demeanor sometimes misses. She sees herself as an amateur investigative reporter and finds herself in the crosshairs as the controversial mayor is often threatened by the gangsters he’s ousted just as much as her own family history compels her involvement. Alison: I heard it from a little bird that there’s a third book in the series. Anything you can share? Laurie: Yes! The Pearl Dagger releases next year this time, where Lane and her love interest Finn take a voyage to London in early 1937 to not only discover if a crime network is starting up all over again, but to find out if Finn can face the ghosts of his own past and his dark secrets that have been held over him for many years. Again, the main mystery takes place in NYC, but my crew gets to take a trip on the Queen Mary and returns on the Normandie. Expect some fabulous cameos and history – I adore illuminating historical points of interest that may have been lost over the years. And of course, Lane lends her own special spark to any and all intrigues. Alison: I mentioned to you I’m dedicating this week to writers in New York. So, I’m going to get personal. Do you consider yourself a New Yorker? If so, why? Laurie: YES! Not only have I lived here over 17 years now, I feel like NYC is in my blood. Right when I moved here, I had this crazy sensation that I’d been looking for the city my whole life and just didn’t know it.
Alison: How has the city changed since you moved here? Laurie: The city has definitely gone through some shifts in the almost two decades I’ve lived here. First of all, I moved here two weeks after 9/11 which was a rare and strange time to move to the city. The people of the neighborhood we moved in to were warm, welcoming, and shocked that we still moved in! I have adored the city, and there is a strange quality that Lane notices, too. That the more the city changes, the more it stays the same. There is a lot of history here and I think it’s the spirit that is the thing that remains, whether there are newer and taller buildings, faster cars, new fashion…
Alison: What New York writers do you love? Laurie: Besides D.A. Bartley? Hmmm… (Yes, Laurie is that funny and sweet in person) Of COURSE Caleb Carr and The Alienist. I have a penchant for historical mystery, so Victoria Thompson and the Gaslight Mysteries, R.J. Koreto and his Alice Roosevelt series (Teddy’s wild daughter whom I love), and I continually have little remnants of Pete Hammill’s book, Forever, floating around my mind.
Alison: What about New York could you not live without? Laurie: The energy of learning. I love the idea that you don’t have to plan for adventure here. Just walking around, you come upon magnificent, idea-challenging, sparks of interest. From arriving early at a meeting only to pop out of the cab on a fall day in front of St. John the Divine cathedral and its artistic garden. To waiting for a subway in December only to have 102 giddy Santa Clauses flood out of the single car. To walking into a cold, wet subway station in February and suddenly hearing the strands of “The Bittersweet Symphony” come across from a violin trio. That surprising aspect never gets old. Thank you, Laurie!