Ten years ago I left my last newspaper job, capping off a five-year gig at the once-great Baltimore Sun. Among the many inspiring reporters and editors I worked with was Laura Lippman, and it's been great to watch Laura's writing career evolve from her early Tess Monaghan novels to the fantastic stand-alone novels of recent years. Laura's latest, And When She Was Good, is one of our Best of the Month mystery/thriller/suspense editors' picks for August. During her Seattle book tour stop last week, Laura and I caught up and talked books over a midday beer.
She's the mom next door--and a high-priced call girl.
What's on your
Pages away from finishing galley of Ben Schrank's Love is a
Canoe. Reading John Lanchester's Capital on my iPad (sorry! I'm a Macophile).
Gearing up for annual Marjorie Morningstar re-read, which makes my husband fear for
my mental health.
Favorite books of all
Important book you never read?
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is under-rated, in my opinion. Made
me want to be a writer and also taught me some valuable lessons about writing.
Most memorable author
I started as a paperback original writer and one of the
first things I ever did to promote my work was have a pizza party with the
drivers who put the books in racks at grocery stores, drug stores, etc. One of
them asked me if this was my first novel and I swelled with pride when I said
yes, figuring he was going to comment on my youth. Instead, he shook his head
and said: "And you're already $5.99?"
What talent or
superpower would you like to have (not including flight or invisibility)?
I want to be able to inhabit other people's minds, to feel
what they are feeling--but I want to be able to shut it off, too.
What are you obsessed
Finding a bed for our narrow rowhouse that will allow us to
have a place to put books and beverages.
What are you stressed
Being away from my 2-year-old daughter for the longest
period since she was born.
What are you psyched
People are reading! I am actually super Pollyanna-ish about
the future of the book in all formats. I think reading is increasingly
appealing in our chaotic world.
What's your most
Right now, the single most important thing in my household
is a stuffed Winnie the Pooh who is so dirty he appears to have leprosy. My
life's not worth living if he disappears.
That changes day to day, so in this day, this moment, I'll
say Stewart O'Nan's Emily Alone.
What's next for you?
A novel inspired by the disappearance of Julius Salsbury,
who skipped out on a 15-year sentence connected to his numbers/sports book
empire and was never seen again. But I'm interested in writing a novel about
the women left behind--a wife, three daughters and a mistress.
What's the last dream
My husband found my journal and read it. Strange, because I
don't actually keep a journal.
From Auden: For poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/In
the valley of its making where executives would never want to tamper, flows on
south/From ranches of isolation and the busy griefs/Raw towns that we believe
and die it; it survives,/A way of happening, a mouth.
Favorite method of
procrastination? Temptation? Vice?
Cleaning is for procrastination. Procrastination is temptation.
If wine is a vice, so be it.
Best piece of fan mail
you ever got?
Technically not fan mail, but Stephen Sondheim
did write me when he heard that he was referenced in To the Power of Three, so I sent him a copy and appreciated the
fact that he entrusted me with his return address. In exchange, I have resisted
the urge to stalk him.
>See all of Laura Lippman's books
>Read the "How I Wrote It" interview I did with Laura last year