This is the first part of a two part interview with Lisa Lutz
For my last two interviews with Lisa Lutz - for her first book and for her second I complimented her and her books and asked my usual random zany questions. Which leaves me with the dilemma of how to introduce this, our third interview and her third book.
So I thought I'd try something different:
You should read this book if...
You like to laugh
You miss the late great Donald Westlake
You like to see twists on traditional detective stories - to wit, instead of trained detectives working together or for different entities these take the ideas of dysfunctional families to new lengths. Your mom wants to know what you're up to? We can relate to that. But your mom sends others to find out, or bugs you (literally), etc.
You like to forget you're in a public place and start laughing so hard that you're choking and tearing up and enjoy the resulting stares at others
You would like your family to appear normal
You like Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich but you wish they were more consistently original and funny instead of getting formulaic
You like funny footnotes and/or appendixes with subjects like how to kill time during therapy sessions or, in the first book, a list of ex-boyfriends and the last words as the relationship ended.
You like Nancy Drew and alcohol so the fact Lutz was once called "Nancy Drew after a bottle of Jack Daniels"appeals to you.
The new interview
Scott: What is the status of the film development of your first book?
It's in development with Paramount Pictures, with Laura Ziskin producing and Barry Sonnenfeld attached to direct. The very cool screenwriters Josh Stolberg and Bobby Florsheim have been working on the script and they're hoping to shoot this year. But all that information is subject to change.
Each of your books' book flaps alludes to a past bad experience with screenwriting. Can you explain what happened there?
I spent ten years rewriting the same script (and others). The film that was ultimately made, Plan B,is almost unwatchable. I wrote about the experience extensively for Salon, and I think that should be the final word. However, having a bad experience writing a screenplay was ultimately what pushed me to write a novel. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.
Do you realize you have the best appendixes and footnotes of any mystery writer I read (and I read quite a few)?
I did not realize that. Thank you!
What do you see as your biggest strength and your biggest weakness as a writer? How have you changed as a writer during the course of writing your three books?
Apparently my greatest strengths are the footnotes and appendixes, and my greatest weakness is the rest of the book? I don't know how to answer that question. I write in such a way that my weaknesses are mostly hidden. I don't deliberately write books that highlight my flaws, so if you don't mind, I'll keep them to myself. One of my strengths is understanding the rhythm of a conversation. I think my dialogue sounds natural, even though it isn't. If you really listen to people talking, it's horribly boring.
It occurred to me that your name is included in the word "klutz." Coincidence? Personally I'm a confessed klutz so if you want to confess something, be not afraid.
If you've grown up with the last name Lutz - which rhymes with more than klutz - you learn to live with it. That's all I'm going to say.
Is there going to be a 4th book?
Yes. Look for The Spellmans Strike Again in March 2010.
What's in the future for David?
I don't like to reveal what happens in future books in detail. David, like all the members of the Spellman clan, will evolve in a way that feels right for him.
What was your favorite part of the book?
It would hard to pick one specific moment, but there's an exchange between Isabel and Rae that I enjoy. Isabel is trying to extract some information from her sister, and Rae is being cagey.
Isabel says, "The next time I see you, I'm going to throw you out the window."
Rae replies, "I'll make sure to be on the first floor."