From all the
books you have written, do you have a
My fave is
always the book I'm working on; my next fave is the one
for sale, in this case, LOUISIANA BIGSHOT; my third fave is
the new paperback, this year LOUISIANA HOTSHOT.
seem to have a short attention span.
At what point in time did you realize that
writing was "the thing for you"?
When I was seven, there was a talent show at my school. I
went crying to my
mom because I had no talent and, casting about
for something to make me feel
better, she said desperately,
"Well, I think you have a flair for writing."
Now, really. How
much talent could a seven-year-old have possibly displayed?
what can I say? I was just a kid--I believed
advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a
resist) How about don't give up; have faith. Show don't
good . But here's my very favorite: Don't get it right, get
written. That always seemed self-explanatory to me, but
thought it meant be satisfied with second-rate work,
Not at all, It means
get something on paper--you can always
revise, My old city editor used to
say it at deadline when a
reporter was still on the phone.
What is the name of your favorite mystery
HOUSE OF GAMES,
What other authors do you enjoy
Sartre are particular favorites. James Joyce, that kind of
Kidding. I like authors who can tell a good story in
straightforward manner. Verbal acrobatics make me want to go
you normally do a lot of research when writing a
Hate it, Can't stand
it, I was a reporter for 24 years, and I'm over that
noise. I try
to write books dependent on characters and a good story
than heavy procedure.(She said pretentiously.) But,
actually, what I do
research I research thoroughly--to me, it has
to be *ABLE* to happen the way
I wrote it, even if it usually
doesn't in real life.
What other types of jobs have you had?
Waitress, motel clerk, library page, newspaper
reporter, copy editor,
starving free-lancer. I once invented a
character who was an ex-reporter
trying to support his
mystery-writing habit by free-lancing. Gave him a job
had--writing client reports for detectives who could detect
good, they just couldn't write so good. Grammar problem, I
guess. But don't
look for the Paul Mcdonald books--they're out of
attend conventions and signings?
Is the Bear a pope? It's part of the job, I'm afraid.
Sometimes even one of
the fun parts.
Is there anyone, in particular,
who influenced you?
mean besides Joyce and company? (See above). Well, maybe not
but almost everybody I read, probably--that is, every good
isn't a magical realist. You can always tell a
writer who reads too much of
that stuff. It works my
led you to write mysteries?
Who are you, my shrink? Okay, so I have a criminal mind.
Also, I hate
chaos, love order. Only one to get it besides hire a
maid--make it up.
Do you read reviews of your books?
Yes, but I only believe the good
would you like to be remembered?
As a writer, you mean? As a good storyteller with a keen eye.
who was more interested in what makes a criminal than
whodunit. As a New
Orleans institution, maybe.
As a person? As
someone who never made anybody feel bad. (Except those
really deserve it.)
What do you believe is the highlight of your writing
career so far?
competition there--winning the Edgar. It's up there as a life
Do you write on a fixed schedule or do you wait until
thoughts come to you?
Fixed schedule, more or less. But highly flexible. So
maybe not so fixed.
If I waited for thoughts, I'd be at the
computer 24 hours a day. (I'm
serious). My best hours are between
9 p.m and 11 p.m. Go figure.
How did you get started in
One day many
years ago, my mama jilted a man and he cursed her,
furiously, "May your babies grow up to be writers!" And
it came to pass.
(Also, I wrote seven unpublished novels and then
one got published.
After that more did, but I got paid about
twelve cents for them. Then one
day, after seventeen years, I
started making a living at it. Piece of cake.)
How do you come up with
I sit down with a
yellow pad and don't get up for a month. You'd be
how boredom frees the imagination,
Did you take any classes on how to
Yes, and I highly
recommend it. In fact, I established a novel-in-progress
memory of my creative writing professor. If you have a novel
progress, run, don't walk to my
www.casamysterioso.com, click on the grant, and enter
the contest. (Actually
you can't till it opens again in January.
But go to the site anyhow. And put
it on your
you ever get writer's block?
I can't answer that. It might be unlucky.
What are your hobbies and
If reading can
be classed as a hobby, I guess that's my main one. Love
travel. Nuts for movies. As for interests, I'm deeply
mythology--would love to go back and get a master's
in it (if such a thing
is offered, which I
do you spend your free time?
Is that anything like excess cash? I guess to the extent
I possess either,
they go to the same
Do you have a message you would like to give to all the
readers out there?
yes! Hurry on down and get LOUISIANA BIGSHOT right now--hot off
presses and deeply satisfying In fact, get two or three--you
just can't have
too many! You'll thank me for this. You're
gonna love it and cherish and
probably propose to it. And be sure
and pick up my back list as well--get
extra copies for all your
friends and relatives. Make someone happy today.
Is that the
kind of thing you meant? Thanks for the opportunity. It's been