Friday, May 28, 2010

Interview with Lisa Scottoline

From The Doings Hinsdale (IL) --

Lisa Scottoline talks about latest thriller --

By: Lilli Kuzma --
March 25, 2010 --

Remember the lyrics from "The Patty Duke Show" that described identical cousins: "They look alike, they talk alike, at times they even walk alike, you can lose your mind, when cousins are two of a kind." But murder didn't enter into that light-hearted show.

In Think Twice, the new book by acclaimed writer, Lisa Scottoline, one twin sister definitely loses her mind, and the other may lose her life as a result. With her multiple-viewpoint thriller, Scottoline delivers a fast-forward story that puts the main character in peril by Page 4, bringing new meaning to the description, "page-turner."

"It's important for any novel to do that, to get the reader involved right away," said Scottoline, 54, speaking by phone from her home in Pennsylvania.

"This is a battle between good and evil, and while there is the 'evil' twin, part of the book is about the good and evil in the same person, and the potential for evil in all of us. With Think Twice there is so much more action, darkness. Everyone has dark impulses, someone may wish someone dead."

Scottoline will be at the Borders in La Grange March 29 for a discussion and book signing. Scottoline has written 18 novels since 1994, and she won the prestigious Edgar Award for her second novel, Final Appeal.

Think Twice revisits the characters of Rosato & Associates, a women's law firm in Philadelphia, adeptly incorporating work dynamics, friendships, romantic relationships, parents and family life as interesting sub-plots. The book is also infused with Scottoline's edgy, hip, often "laugh out loud" humor, woven into what is otherwise a harrowing tale.

"I think I'm writing stories about women," said Scottoline. "I write about smart women in difficult situations. And really smart people are also really funny."

Scottoline should know, as she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in three years, then finished law school with honors at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Scottoline also writes a popular weekly column, "Chick Wit" for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has published a collection of her columns in a humorous book, My Next Husband Will Be A Dog. She is twice divorced and refers to her exes as "Thing 1" and "Thing 2." Her daughter, Francesca, 24, is a Harvard grad and emerging writer.

"I learned to write mostly in law school, logically using facts. And I think my newspaper columns are improving my writing, having to (condense) my thoughts into a short space. It's great to involve Francesca in writing the columns, too."

Scottoline laughs often and speaks freely about her home life, where she dotes on her pet dogs, cats, and even chickens. Her Web site contains many pictures of her beloved animals. Writing with a dog or cat in her lap is the norm for Scottoline.

"I feel as if I live on the edge (in my writing), even though I live the life of a housewife in the suburbs!" she said, chuckling.

But Scottoline did do significant research and field work to develop Think Twice, going so far as to roll around in dirt, creep around a Pennsylvania farm field at night, and travel to the Bahamas to develop the final scenes of the book.

"A cornfield really is near my house and there is a wolf in the woods," she said.

In Think Twice, the "good" twin finds herself buried alive in this field, with a wolf sniffing, biting and clawing at the box she's locked inside of.

"I think I improve with each book," said Scottoline. "Writing in multiple viewpoints, this really changed it up. But I'm not one for lots of exposition. Characters are what they do."

Asked if another book is in the works and what it's about, Scottoline would only say:

"I'm in the middle of it right now. Come to the book signing to find out more!"

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