Congratulations on your debut novel! It sounds very exciting; tell us a little about it!
Distortion is a noir mystery told from the point of view of the “bombshell,” except she isn't stupid, evil or blonde. An artist, Adele Proust, paints a crime scene in reverse perspective and turns a murder investigation backwards—onto her friends. To clear them, she introduces undercover feds into her art-punk community. She betrays its secrets. Along the way, she figures out that it isn't her art that defines her, or even herself. Adele Proust is truly defined by her reflection on the people around her—the way she treats the people she loves.
What started you writing and is it something you always wanted to do?
I've always been a huge reader and wrote in my teens/early twenties. While I never saw writing as a career option, I dreamed of becoming an author and wrote fiction mostly secretly. My poetry and non-fiction were published at school and in tiny little newspapers. When I started my volunteer work and business career, I fell out of the creative habit, just kept a diary. Then I had kids and no time. As my children grew older, I looked into my wide-open future and decided to go after my dream career: to be a novelist.
Describe your typical writing day.
I do write every day. Because I still teach in the daytime, my schedule varies, but typically I'm up at 5am. I like to work out first at the gym, sort of shake up my brain. Afterward, I sit down at the computer for a good hour or so. My goal is to write 500 words per day. Sometimes if I feel blocked, I take a paper notebook outside to write. For some reason I find the blank computer screen intimidating, but the blank paper page inviting. I often add in a second writing session late at night. With my husband and children asleep, I crank up the volume on my headphones and allow myself to fall into the rhythm of a scene.
What projects are you working on now?
I'm currently revising a short story for Buzz Books called “Retribution.” A prequel to Distortion, it focuses on the time period when Adele first fell in love with the activist Jack Thomas. My morning sessions are focused on the sequel to Distortion, my Charlie Parker plumber mystery, and travel articles.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Yes, two things: 1) Write every day. To do that, you have to allow yourself to believe that you have a unique insight into the human condition. This messed up world needs to hear it. You cannot share your wisdom or become an author if you don't write. 2) Learn about the industry and put together the tools you need to present your work to agents and publishers in its best light.
Other than your own, what’s your favourite work of fiction?
(First, I just have to say that I love that “ou” in favourite. When I came home from study abroad in London, my family and friends often caught me “misspelling” words in British fashion.)
Do I have to pick one book? As a small girl, my favourite book was The Long Winter, a sort of darkish sequel to The Little House on the Prairie. By sixth grade (at about age 12 in the U.S.), I took home The Count of Monte Cristo because it was the thickest book in the school library. That was my fave for many years. As a teen I fell in love with Doyle's “Sherlock Holmes” mysteries and Kurt Vonnegut's insane Slapstick. More recently, I have to say I love Elizabeth George's What Came Before He Shot Her.
If I must sum up a lifetime love of books in one novel, it would have to be Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone--and yes, I read the British edition. I picked it up in a used bookshop to read aloud with my son, completely unaware that it had a different title in the U.S. From the cat reading the map through our first encounter with Voldemort. I felt a perfect escape into the magic that IS reading.
Which author had the greatest influence on you as a child?
Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Finally, and most importantly, you’ve lost your wallet, who do you enlist to help you find it, Poirot or Miss Marple?
Most definitely Miss Marple. She embodies my belief that every one of us has the wit and forbearance to rout out the bad guys.
Lucie can be found on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/LucieSmokerAuthor and on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/luciesmoker