Write side... with novelist Shari Lapena
Novelist Shari Lapena on how she got into crime fiction - and staying at home with her coffee, her chocolate and her cat.
Your successful thrillers are described as 'domestic noir'. Why is that genre so popular now?
One reason may be that in these books women are more active than passive. They display emotions that mean that they are not always seen as good characters. They are not inhibiting themselves.
Why did you switch from literary fiction to crime and were you surprised by your success?
I always wanted to write a thriller, so I did it as an experiment to see if I could do it. I winged it. When I finished it, I thought it was okay, but I certainly did not expect the positive response.
When did you start writing fiction?
I was a lawyer and then a teacher. I always wanted to be a writer, so when my first child was born, I stayed home, and started writing. That was 19 years ago and my first thriller was published three years ago. I like to say that my overnight success took 16 years.
Which books would you take to a desert island?
The Collected Works of Agatha Christie and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.
Does your latest novel, An Unwanted Guest, have a slight Agatha Christie feel?
Yes, it's a nostalgic walk-through mystery, updated with mod cons. A group of people go away to stay in a nice hotel in the Catskill Mountains, and get stranded in an ice storm. Someone dies, then someone else dies. The characters wonder who will be next, and who the killer is.
When and where do you write?
I am not one of those people who could write in a café. I prefer it at home with my coffee, my chocolate and my cat. I am definitely a morning person. I do my quota every day. I have a desk in my bedroom. I have a nice comfortable office chair, and a nice chair beside and my cat sits on that. I had to get her her own chair, because she sat on mine.