Friday Interview with… Lori Armstrong

 This month I’m totally jazzed to be bringing Lori Armstrong your way.  I read BLOOD TIES and was totally over the moon for it, so of course grabbed HALLOWED GROUND, and am now anxiously awaiting my Amazon delivery of SHALLOW GRAVE!  Lori’s writing is just phenomenal, and it’s no small wonder that she was nominated for the prestigious Shamus award for her series, and then won Willa Cather Literary Award.  In a word…WOW!With no further ado…I bring you Lori Armstrong!

MftBS: What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you as an author?

Besides getting that all important first contract? And then holding my first book in my hand like a newborn babe? I’d have to say when I recently won the 2007 Willa Cather Literary Award for Best Softcover Fiction. I was stunned, because I’ve been nominated for other awards this year and last, and lost every damn one. I attended the banquet, and let me tell you, it’s a whole lot easier to sit there and choke down your chicken knowing you’ve already won, rather than waiting to hear you’ve lost (which has also happened to me numerous times!) and having to smile when you want to cry or curl up in your room and slam tequila.

MftBS: If you were trying to describe your work to a new reader, what would you say?

Gritty. Dark. Sort of sexy with a thread of humor. I’ve been told the South Dakota setting is an equally important character in the books as any flesh and blood person. My protag, Julie Collins, is a tough tough broad, who’s been knocked around by life – and by various men – and she still manages to be feminine, to come out on top, kicking ass and taking names, yet she has a vulnerable side she shows only those closest to her, but that is a catch-22 because she is damn hard to get close to.

MftBS: Who are three of your favorite writers & why?

Dennis Lehane – because his writing is beautiful and lyrical and every book is a study in how to create a masterpiece.

Sue Grafton – the Godmother of modern female PI fiction and the creator of the fab Kinsey Milhone series.

JD Robb – the “In Death” series is the single best series out there in any genre for me. Period. The way she’s shown Eve’s, as well as Roarke’s character growth throughout the 26 books is amazing and a masterclass in storytelling. The secondary characters add to – rather than detract from – the leads. Robb manages to make the plot important in every single book, unlike some long running series where plots begin to suffer or are simply nonexistent.

MftBS: What is your oddest habit while writing?

I’m normal. I write every day. I take care of the hubby, house and kids. I do some stuff online. That said, it really depends on how far behind I am. If I’m pushing a deadline to the last minute, I’m pretty much MIA from my real life. So far the girls have stuck to the “don’t bug Mom unless you’re bleeding” rule when it’s crunch time. Which means, I live on caffeine, but energy drinks have the opposite effect on me than they do on most folks, so I’m guzzling coffee, Diet Mt. Dew and Diet Pepsi. My husband throws the odd candy bar into our bedroom to appease me.

Umm. That didn’t really answer the ‘oddest’ question, did it?

How about this: rarely do I write anything new on my main computer, I work upstairs in my bedroom on a stone-age laptop without internet access. It keeps me writing instead of goofing off online.

And another one, I single space everything, and keep chapters in separate documents until the book is completely done. Completely. I’m fanatical about it. Only when I’ve written “the end” do I combine the chapters into one document and apply the publisher’s required format. Even if I have to submit a partial, I double space it to send it off, then the document immediately goes back to single space until I’m finished with it.

Ooh, I’m such a rebel, huh? I wish I could say something interesting like I only eat organic or orange food while I’m killing folks and planting bodies…but alas, I’m…boring.

MftBS: Last but not least…what tidbit of BSP (Blatant Self Promotion) would you like to share with my devoted, die-hard fans?

If you like strong, realistic female characters, plenty of plot twists and turns, the occasional sex scene, and aren’t offended by rough language and content, then my books are for you! Run! Don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and demand these books -BLOOD TIES, HALLOWED GROUND, SHALLOW GRAVE – from the Two-time Shamus nominated, Willa Cather Literary Award Winning author, Lori G. Armstrong!

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