- Hi, Lani. Your work is truly original. But everyone has their influences. Which mystery, thriller, suspense or horror writer has had the most influence upon you? In brief, why? Every author I read influences me in some way, but let’s start with first ones – the Nancy Drew mysteries, H.P. Lovecraft, and Edgar Allen Poe. These writers kept me searching for more – more of their work, more in their style. They prepared me for Stephen King, who can make a horror scene out of a peanut butter sandwich (well, a slice of pie, at any rate, in Thinner), Sharyn McCrumb, who can be hilarious but also devastatingly sorrowful, and Elizabeth Peters, who is just a hoot. Finally, there’s Donald Westlake, who can write the funniest crime novels and the scariest horror, and P.D. James, with her brutal honesty.
- Did this writer’s craft (style, language, characterization, themes etc.) influence your writing in some specific way? How? When I’m stuck, I’ll try to channel an author who wrote a scene similar to the one that is giving me problems. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try to imagine how one of my favorite directors might handle my scene in a movie. If that doesn’t work, I’ll think about what one of my favorite cooking show hosts would offer me as a snack until an idea emerges.
- What is the most important element of a well-crafted mystery or thriller? What I love most about good mysteries and thrillers is watching the separate threads weave themselves together. I adore seeing how the silver tea service – the one I knew was important but couldn’t say why – leads to the discovery of the murderer. I also love counting up the number of clues I missed, because it inspires me to make my own work more subtle.
- You get shot by an unknown assailant. Which female detective or hacker would you want on the case: Miss Marple, Cordelia Gray , Kinsey Millhone, Angie Gennaro, Stephanie Plum, or Lisbeth Salander? From this group of sleuths, I would choose Miss Marple, but to be honest I would prefer Barbara Havers.
- What are you writing this month? What makes it unique? My current project is quilting sci fi, but since my quilting heroines are trying to stop a civil war on another planet from spilling over to Earth, you could also put it (loosely) in the thriller category. Three things make “The Chenille Ultimatum” unique: using quilters as space travelers; faster-than-light travel explained (we pleat the space around us); plot twists involving ice cream, ruby rings and chenille fabric.
Reading Lani Longshore’s haunting short story, “The Family Tree” in the collection “Eve’s Requiem” is a great way to celebrate All Hallow’s Read 2014. Order your copy here:
You can find Lani’s unique novels for sale at California indie bookstores and on Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/When-Chenille-Not-Enough-Anastasio/dp/1595944915/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412720926&sr=8-1&keywords=Lani+Longshore