I’d like to welcome mystery novelist Lane Stark to DJ’s Book Corner. Thank you for taking the time to come dish it up with me.
First question, when did you first know you wanted to be an author?
I can’t really answer that, because I’ve always been a storyteller, from earliest childhood. I lived a lot in my imagination. As soon as I learned to write, I committed stories to paper. I can’t remember a time when the plan to write books wasn’t there.
When did you write your first book?
About fifteen years ago, I finally tackled the somewhat daunting task of writing a novel. It was awful, but taught me a lot about the mechanics of assembling a readable story with believable characters.
Tell us a little about your mystery novel, The Hour of Predators.
The inspiration for the story was the place itself, Bella Coola, British Columbia. We visited the valley some years ago, and my first impression was that it was the perfect setting for a mystery—those looming mountains, the isolation, the constant threat of nature’s worst, and the racial conflicts within the community. Irresistible!
Sum the main character Marcus up in three words.
Honorable, genius, and of course, sexy!
What do you like best about writing crime and mystery thrillers?
The exploration of what makes human beings commit vicious acts. I don’t like to read about nor write about mindless lunatics. I’m fascinated with those who begin with good intentions and go very, very bad. I also enjoy working the backward puzzle: I know whodunit, but I have to figure out how the good Inspector will find the answer.
You also wrote a novel, A Toll to the Devil, which was inspired by the life of your father. It sounds really wonderful. Tell us about it.
It’s a personal novel for me, dedicated to my dad, and he had a ball helping me with details. He gave me a crash course in trumpet playing, among other things. It’s not a book for everyone, because it challenges the readers to set aside their own beliefs and understand the protagonist’s. It probably won’t ever be a big seller, but it gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that some people are reading it and appreciating it. It deals with the fundamental issue of the struggle within us between good and evil. It also deals with some very entertaining times in America: the Jazz Age, Prohibition, the great music era of the Thirties and Forties. And some somber times: the Depression and WWII.
What is your writing schedule like?
My husband and I took up a vagabond life over a year ago, living in our RV and exploring the country. The winter is our slow time when we return to Houston for the holidays and warm weather. That’s my big chunk of writing time, and I try for 5 afternoons a week. I’m not a morning person. The rest of the year I squeeze it in when I can, but I’m always writing in my head.
Do you need absolute quiet to write? Do you listen to music when you are writing?
I have no problem writing with the TV on! I have the ability to tune everything out.
Do you like to read mysteries as much as you like to write them? Who are three of your favorite authors? Books?
I love mysteries, but only the thoughtful ones. Elizabeth George is my favorite mystery writer. John Irving is my favorite writer, and his A Prayer for Owen Meany is my favorite book. Another all-time favorite is John Le Carre and his George Smiley books.
As an author, what is the best compliment you could receive from a reader?
That I took the reader to another place beyond this everyday one.
Last, but not least, my Super Silly Question: If you were a detective and a sweet old lady wanted to hire you to find her missing freshly baked cherry pie, would you take on the case?
Only if she paid me with another pie.
My thoughts exactly.
Thanks so much, Lane!
Visit Lane's website to learn more about her writing!