Laurie R. King http://laurierking.com New York Times Bestselling Author Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:43:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Takeback Tuesday: pour you a drink? http://laurierking.com/2017/06/takeback-tuesday-pour-drink/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/takeback-tuesday-pour-drink/#comments Tue, 20 Jun 2017 09:43:35 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14521 So, there’s new role coming up for Laurie: bartending for Planned Parenthood. In August, I’ll join Jonathan Franzen, Karen Joy Fowler, and Elizabeth McKenzie in serving drinks for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Which should be interesting because I don’t know anything about cocktails—maybe they’ll put me in charge of the beer. […]

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So, there’s new role coming up for Laurie: bartending for Planned Parenthood.

In August, I’ll join Jonathan Franzen, Karen Joy Fowler, and Elizabeth McKenzie

in serving drinks for a Planned Parenthood fundraiser at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Which should be interesting because I don’t know anything about cocktails—maybe they’ll put me in charge of the beer.

This is going to be crazy fun, and it’s also going to do good for an excellent, life-saving organization. Bookshop Santa Cruz welcomes you to buy a ticket, and we can see what kind of beer you like.

Get your ticket here.

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Kepler’s and me http://laurierking.com/2017/06/keplers-and-me/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/keplers-and-me/#comments Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:52:36 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14526 Thanks to everyone who came out to see me talk about Lockdown during the past week–although if you’re in the Bay Area, you can still come down and see me one more time, tomorrow night at Kepler’s.  Send ’em a RSVP, here.

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Thanks to everyone who came out to see me talk about Lockdown during the past week–although if you’re in the Bay Area, you can still come down and see me one more time, tomorrow night at Kepler’s.  Send ’em a RSVP, here.

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Portland, I’m coming! http://laurierking.com/2017/06/portland-im-coming/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/portland-im-coming/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 08:08:38 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14530 Today I get to play at Powell’s, that extensive shrine to the printed word. This is the downtown store, at 2:00 this afternoon. Do join me–details are here.  

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Today I get to play at Powell’s, that extensive shrine to the printed word. This is the downtown store, at 2:00 this afternoon. Do join me–details are here.

 

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Seattle Friday http://laurierking.com/2017/06/seattle-friday/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/seattle-friday/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 08:57:45 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14528 I’m having such fun with this book tour, I think I’ll set off up the coast today and drop by the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, then swing past the University bookstore, before ending up with a reading and talk at the great Third Place Books. Come and join us!

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I’m having such fun with this book tour, I think I’ll set off up the coast today and drop by the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, then swing past the University bookstore, before ending up with a reading and talk at the great Third Place Books. Come and join us!

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Lockdown day 2 http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-day-2/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-day-2/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 09:05:18 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14512 I’ll be flitting up the length of the Bay Area today, dropping in at various Copperfields and Books Inc shops in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco for the odd ritual of scrawling my name on a lot of title pages, then at 6:00 turning up at Book Passage in the Ferry Building for an […]

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I’ll be flitting up the length of the Bay Area today, dropping in at various Copperfields and Books Inc shops in Petaluma, Santa Rosa, and San Francisco for the odd ritual of scrawling my name on a lot of title pages, then at 6:00 turning up at Book Passage in the Ferry Building for an evening event talking about Lockdown.

Join me! (Details here.)

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Lockdown launches! http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-launches/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-launches/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 09:35:58 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14506 Come and play tonight at my beloved neighborhood bookstore, That’s right, it’s time for Bookshop Santa Cruz, my home town kids, talking about Lockdown, my home-town book. About the event, here. ** Lockdown goes on sale today! Order a copy from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed), Poisoned Pen (signed), your local Indie, Barnes & Noble, or […]

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Come and play tonight at my beloved neighborhood bookstore,

That’s right, it’s time for Bookshop Santa Cruz, my home town kids, talking about Lockdown, my home-town book. About the event, here.

**

Lockdown goes on sale today! Order a copy from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed), Poisoned Pen (signed), your local Indie, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

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Lockdown: Guadalupe Middle School http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-guadalupe-middle-school/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-guadalupe-middle-school/#comments Mon, 12 Jun 2017 08:17:40 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14488 The Lockdown tour begins tonight, at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. And it’s making me realize that talking about Lockdown during this tour is going to be tricky. You can’t miss the suggestion that it’s about a school shooting—if the title doesn’t give it away, the cover art will—and yet, that’s not what it’s about. […]

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The Lockdown tour begins tonight, at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. And it’s making me realize that talking about Lockdown during this tour is going to be tricky.

You can’t miss the suggestion that it’s about a school shooting—if the title doesn’t give it away, the cover art will—and yet, that’s not what it’s about. Yes, there is a school. And yes, the reader learns early on that a gun comes to school this day. But when it comes to the story, the gun is the seed, the gun is the shadow, the gun is a brief stutter in the book’s steady heartbeat.

Lockdown is about a community. It’s about children who function as adults, and about adults wrapped up in childish concerns. It’s about the wealth of the poor and the poverty of the rich. It’s about how we can help each other, and how we really haven’t a clue what drives our kids, our husbands, our best friends. It’s about unexpected strength and unseen weaknesses.

It’s about a school community, and all the worlds contained therein:

Its tiled walls had once been a mosaic. Under the years of filth, felt pens, and chewing gum lay a mural somebody had spent a lot of time on. Up at the top (beyond the reach of student arms) was a row of surprisingly ornate hand-painted tiles—a sort of picture frame, wrapped around a sky as blue as the afternoon beyond the archway.

Linda studied the brutalized surface, trying to pick out the design. The tiles themselves were a mix of tidy rectangles and anarchic shards: a long rectangle evoked the school’s façade; in the blue sky, a spatter of chips made for an Impressionistic, breeze-stirred flag; ten thin triangles shaped the circle of a wheelchair. Some of the tiles were painted, rather than pieced: a woman’s face here, obscured by felt-pen beard and horns; a cluster of high-top shoes there; a brown hand sinking a basketball.

Linda stepped closer, her attention caught by that face: a woman with an expression of authority, captured in a few deft lines. Wasn’t that the school secretary? Bemused, Linda let the Señora drive her back to the elementary school, all the while composing a refusal, polite but firm.

The job would be thankless. If Guadalupe’s new principal man- aged to get test scores up five points, the school board would demand to know why it wasn’t ten. If absenteeism and violence fell a notch, why not two? Playground bloodshed, drugs, and student pregnancy would be daily concerns. It would be terrifying and exhilarating and the mere thought of it made Linda want to take to her bed.

But that night, she had a dream of using her thumb-nail to scrape the felt-pen from that tile face. The next morning, Gordon asked why her sleep had been so restless. The next day at school, her thoughts kept going back to that mosaic. And when the final bell had rung, Linda picked up the phone and called the district office with a list of demands—a very long list.

**

Lockdown goes on sale June 13, but you can pre-order a copy from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed), Poisoned Pen (signed), your local Indie, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

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Lockdown: walking back the cat http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-walking-back-cat/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-walking-back-cat/#comments Sun, 11 Jun 2017 08:15:40 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14490 Many years ago, when I was a new writer, I needed to have the final scene clear in my mind, if not actually on paper: a goal to work toward, even if the path itself wasn’t immediately visible. But about seven books in, I somehow forgot to choose my ending before I began to write. […]

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Many years ago, when I was a new writer, I needed to have the final scene clear in my mind, if not actually on paper: a goal to work toward, even if the path itself wasn’t immediately visible. But about seven books in, I somehow forgot to choose my ending before I began to write. And although I got into a panic when I realized it, the back of my mind just patted me on the hand and said it would be fine. And it was.

That’s why I knew Lockdown was a book even though it began as stories. From the outside, the creation of Lockdown looks like chaos: six short stories that for some reason their author decided to glue together into a novel.

But that’s the reverse of the process. Do you know the term “walking back the cat”? It’s an Intelligence reference to finding the cause-and-effect pattern in a series of apparently random events. Yes, you have a school lockdown: in this novel, you know that from the early pages. But how does it happen? What are the links, invisible but steely, that tie the alarm clock of principal Linda McDonald (see the last post) to the can of spray paint carried by one of her students…

2:45 am, Career Day

Chaco

Chaco put his head around the dark corner of A Wing, filled with . . . what was the word? Foreboding. Yeah, so the janitor made him nervous. Gave Chaco misgivings.

Scared the shit out of him.

Far as Chaco knew, Tío wasn’t nobody’s uncle, wasn’t even from Mexico like everybody Chaco knew. Sure, he talked Spanish, but his accent was, like, exotic—from somewhere else. Nicaragua, maybe? El Salvador? Tío was just the limpiador, walking up and down in his dirt-colored uniform and cleaning the floors. Big thrill for the old guy was the day he got to shut off the water in the girl’s baño, stop it running all over the floor. Real hero, man.

Maybe the reason Tío made him nervous was cause the dude was so pinche quiet. Tío talked quiet, he didn’t turn on a radio the minute the bell rang—even his cart with all the mops and brooms, the same one the last janitor used, didn’t rattle and squeak so much. And, like, the other day when one of the substitutes shouted some question down the breezeway at him? Tío didn’t just shout back an answer. Instead, he put away his broom and walked over, all polite, to see what the guy wanted.

Funny thing was, the teacher looked a little . . . Not embarrassed. More like he thought maybe Tío coming at him so quiet (like Angel) meant the old guy had a knife. Edgy, maybe? Wanting to edge away?

Anyway, yeah, Chaco felt a little edgy tonight himself, crouching in back of A Wing, away from the all-night floods, a can of spray paint in his hand. He really, really didn’t want to turn around and find Tío there, looking at him.

Which was stupid. Or—what was that word he’d found the other day?—ludicrous. (Chaco had a private collection of perfect words—words he’d never, ever use out loud.) Tío didn’t spend the night at school, and no way could he just guess who’d done a tag. Chaco knew all about crime labs and forensic science and stuff, so he was wearing a set of his uncle’s overalls he’d fished out of the trash, and his most beat-up pair of shoes, and he’d dump it all on his way home. He’d take a shower in the morning so he wouldn’t smell like paint. How would Tío know?

Besides, there wasn’t really much choice. He was almost thirteen—and, he was family to Taco Alvarez.

So now, at near to three in the morning, Chaco the Tagger crept down the A Wing breezeway, the old rubber on his shoes making a kissing sound against the smooth concrete. Nothing moved, no cars went by. Under the main breezeway, into the entrance arch— and there it was, all shiny and new-looking, hundreds of little chips and tiles with pictures of school things and people on them. He hesitated, just a little, ’cause really, it was kind of dope. Intricate, like. And a man didn’t tag someone else’s art unless it was enemy action. But this was a school, and in the end he had to prove himself to Taco (and Angel) and yeah, to Sofia Rivas. Though she’d probably just give him one of her looks, all arrogant, or maybe condescending.

Chaco’s arm went up to shake the can, making the little ball inside ting back and forth five, six times. He chose his spot with care, right there on the face of the school secretary for his first letter, and—

And as if the pressure of his finger had triggered a lot more than paint, the universe exploded into a blinding glare of flood-light, outlining every tile, giving texture to the grout, showing the cheerful expressions on a crowd of pieced-together figures.

The can bounced and skittered across the walkway as Chaco fled into the night.

**

Lockdown goes on sale June 13, but you can pre-order a copy from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed), Poisoned Pen (signed), your local Indie, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

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Diana Gabaldon & Match Up http://laurierking.com/2017/06/diana-gabaldon-match/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/diana-gabaldon-match/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 09:28:09 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14500 Tonight I’m Scottsdale having an onstage conversation with Diana Gabaldon, about the story that pairs her up with Steve Berry–and her Jamie Fraser with his Cotton Malone.  Time travel enters into it… The story is in Match Up, edited by Lee Child, and the event isn’t at the bookstore, so check the store’s page for details, […]

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Tonight I’m Scottsdale having an onstage conversation with Diana Gabaldon,

about the story that pairs her up with Steve Berry–and her Jamie Fraser with his Cotton Malone.  Time travel enters into it…

The story is in Match Up, edited by Lee Child, and the event isn’t at the bookstore, so check the store’s page for details, here.

There’s also a possibility that early copies of Lockdown may make their way into the boxes…but in any case–

I’ll be at the store on Monday, June 12, at 7:00 pm, for my own event, talking about Lockdown. Details and order info are here,

And if you can’t make it but would like to join us, the Pen is hosting a Livestream event, here.

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Lockdown: intricate community http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-intricate-community/ http://laurierking.com/2017/06/lockdown-intricate-community/#respond Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:11:33 +0000 http://laurierking.com/?p=14476 Lockdown (June 13!) is set in a middle school’s Career Day, when a spectrum of professionals are coming to talk about their work. The school’s entrance archway is a mural of tiles and splintered objects that make for a history of the school, and there’s a brief scene where the principal stands looking at it, […]

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Lockdown (June 13!) is set in a middle school’s Career Day, when a spectrum of professionals are coming to talk about their work.

The school’s entrance archway is a mural of tiles and splintered objects that make for a history of the school, and there’s a brief scene where the principal stands looking at it, musing that this is a metaphor for the school itself.

A look into the backgrounds of eight hundred people at any given school across the country will produce a mind-blowing spectrum of ethnicity, family ties, and participation in the events that define our history. Even one classroom can provide a writer with a lifetime of stories, from the quietly personal to the headline-making.

The days when we could be confident about knowing our neighbors’ histories is gone.

Take Guadalupe Middle School, for example. An ordinary central-coast school, one eighth grader among hundreds, she looks like any of the other Hispanic kids. Except…

7:03 am, Career Day

Mina

Mina Santos had three mirrors in her bedroom, and they all showed a different person.

The one she was looking at now, hanging on the back of the door, showed a Nice Girl—at least, down to her ankles where the boots started. Long black braid, orange T-shirt, plaid skirt that reached her knees, black tights. Pretty much the same girl it showed last year, and the year before: a girl so short and fresh-faced, you’d think she was a child if you didn’t notice her chest. (One reason she wore baggy shirts at school.)

The dressing table mirror, the one with the circle of bright light to help her judge when she had more makeup than Mâmân would permit, showed Mina her too-large nose, coarse pores, and (oh, God!) what threatened to become a moustache.

The third mirror was on the wall next to the closet. Not much bigger than an iPad and surrounded by a pretty enameled frame, the mirror itself was so old its glass was dim, with freckles along the edges. It had belonged to her grandmother, who’d received it as a present for her thirteenth birthday back in Tehran. It was about the only thing Mâmân had from that whole family, and she gave it to Mina last year, when she turned thirteen.

At the time, Mina thought that was sweet. Later, she worked out that two months later, her grandmother had not only been married, but pregnant, too. Mina didn’t look at this third mirror much now. It had a way of showing her the face of a grown woman, which was more than a little creepy.

Anyway: three mirrors, and none of them gave her the same truth as the mirrors at school.

**

Lockdown goes on sale June 13, but you can pre-order a copy from: Bookshop Santa Cruz (signed), Poisoned Pen (signed), your local Indie, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

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