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Patricia Flaherty Pagan

dark Fiction & Poetry 

The Colors of Suspense

writercave9-28-10Catching up With Horror/Science Fiction Writer and colorful crafter Lani Longshore….

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 Amazon