Happy (sic) 2006

Happy New Year!

Here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, some of my neighbors seem to have made a raid on Chinatown’e2’80’99s less licit businesses and come away with huge booming firecrackers. I suppose it’e2’80’99s an improvement on the shooting off of handguns–at least the only people in danger are the idiots lighting the fuses, not those who live downstream from the bullets, but I put large fireworks in the same category as Hummers and 20,000 square foot houses: adored by guys with severe adequacy issues.

And it makes for a grumpy morning.

However, in the interest of open doors and fresh air, let’e2’80’99s start this year off with ‘e2’80’9cAsk LRK.’e2’80’9d Send me those questions you’e2’80’99ve been saving up and I’e2’80’99ll see about answering them.

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  1. Vicki Larson on January 1, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    Happy New Year to you, too. I am sitting looking out a window at beautiful snow-laden trees, a quiet pervading my small town existence. Creating stuff gets in the blood. How do we stop? Or should we? I don’t think so. It makes our world so much more fun, and sometimes we can even make other people happier. No matter where our bodies are, our minds can range free. vicki

  2. myninki on January 1, 2006 at 4:52 pm

    After a chapter or two of locked room for the nerves, and the waiting, you killed Dr. Leah Ginzberg. Why, isnt it a bit disappointment to find her gone?
    I’c2’b4m not sure if i put it right. Happy New year

  3. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Happy New Year!! I really don’t have a question. This appears however to be a good opportunity to say thank you. While I can’t remember not enjoying a good read I have especially enjoyed your works. You construct characters so beautifully. I like all of your series.

    Wandaleen in Baltimore

  4. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    Happy New Year to all from Texas!
    The new year will be excellent if I get a job but it’s off to a great start just knowing that we’ll see KateM again!

  5. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    Hi Laurie, and Happy New Year to you too! Over the past few months I’ve been devouring the Russell/Holmes novels, and ‘Folly’, and want to thank you so much for the pleasure your writing has given me. As well as your characterisation and plotting, I really enjoy the way you describe things, and use details – the description of Rae’s hammer in ‘Folly’, for example; or Russell’s breakfast in the tea shop at the beginning of ‘A Monstrous Regiment of Women’. You write with subtlety, wit, and compassion, and really put the reader in the scene.

    I do have a question – though I apologise in advance, as you must have been asked similar things many times before…

    I write, and was wondering if you might have any advice regarding plotting/structuring a novel and building narrative tension? I get ideas for starting stories, but working out (in advance) where the story is going is where I stumble. I can wing it, but I know that if I can get an outline of sorts down before I start, the writing tends to flow much more easily. Any advice would be hugely appreciated.

    All the best,
    Antonia Gray

  6. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    Have you ever read Anne Rice ?
    Kit Marlowe

  7. Anna on January 1, 2006 at 8:30 pm

    Hi Laurie,

    My question is: Holmes and Russel have been married for a few years now. Do you have any plans for them ever to have children?

  8. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 9:19 pm

    Here’s a question: in Monstrous Regiment, there is a passing mention of Holmes’ having a son (clearly not with Russell). Is this something from the original stories that I have forgotten? Or your own invention? And if the latter, will there be more about it?

  9. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    I want to say that I love your books. I was wondering why you, a straight woman, made Kate M a lesbian? It seems unusual to me.

  10. Anonymous on January 1, 2006 at 11:55 pm

    Hi Laurie! I have a writing question. How … I mean HOW … do you develop the discipline to sit down and write every day? I feel like the old spiritual song that goes: “Sit down!” “No, I can’t sit down!”

    It’s not that I’m energetic and unable to settle down in a chair. It is focus and self-discipline I lack. How do you just say: “I’m going to start writing my new book on such-and-such a day”, and then actually do it? Enquiring minds want to know! I’m never short of ideas, plots, characters, etcetera. It is the sitting down and getting to work that trips me up. Any suggestions will be welcomed. Tall, bearded, but unfocused iris celebrity.

  11. Rebecca on January 2, 2006 at 12:05 am

    I have a question about writing… you’ve talked about the length of novels before, but this is something that’s always frustrating for me. I love to write, but the longest piece of fiction I’ve ever completed is about 20,000 words long. Do you have any insights to share on how to come up with a plot complex enough to make a “real” novel without needing a lot of filler? Was this ever an issue for you when you first started writing novels?

    Thanks so much! When I got home from college for break I immediately started hunting around my bedroom for my copy of BEEK to reread for the umpteenth time as a bit of relaxation, then remembered I’d lent it to a friend, and was extremely agitated by not having it on hand when I wanted it. I love your books!

  12. riobonito on January 2, 2006 at 1:39 am

    Okay, I’m going to be really nosey. You mentioned going to the hospital lately; so wondered if your husband is well? Also I always want to know more about his life growing up in India and just your life together..okay she says, this one is asking more than I want to answer, how come she doesn’t want to know more about my methods in writing a short story etc. My answer, I like knowing about people and relish, the most mundane facts. Thanks Laurie for any answers you comfortable anwering. Happy New Year..(hey I’m always glad when California is wet, so those nuts with their firecrackers etc. don’t start a fire!)

  13. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 at 3:51 am

    I am sure you have been asked this a thousand times—how did you decide to write BEEK? and succeed with a Holmes story that is very believable? Also, why not have the two work side by side as a pair? Too many of your books separate Holmes and Russell with one having very little to do with actually solving the mystery. Thanks.

  14. dave lamson on January 2, 2006 at 3:54 am


  15. terri c on January 2, 2006 at 5:49 am

    No questions from me either but thanks for your writing… including this blog. I have now passed a most enjoyable evening reading thru all of the archives. However, I was supposed to be writing my last verbatim paper for clinical pastoral education. Too bad. Oh, here’s a question: will the first 4 Martinellis really be re-released?? Hoping the answer is yes–and delighted to hear you have had at least one wolfhound.

  16. Pen on January 2, 2006 at 9:32 am

    Let’s hope 2006 improves on the previous year for many people across the world. I’d like to say that it always appears to me that you somehow enjoy writing, speaking about your Mary Russell/Holmes novels more than the Kate Martinelli ones. Am I wrong? I only say this because even in the new KM book you are bringing in Holmes as though you can’t bear to leave him out. Can’t wait to read TAOD by the way!

  17. KLCtheBookWorm on January 2, 2006 at 3:03 pm

    I’m not going to be long winded with this question. But are we going to see more of the trunk full of clues that was featured in the forewords?

    And ditto on wondering about Holmes’s mysterious son. Is he homage to Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe?

  18. Bob on January 2, 2006 at 4:43 pm

    Happy New Year to you Laurie. My wife and I just spent our 35th anniversary in the Russian River Valley and now I know why you love Northern California. Even though I am a native Californian (born in San Jose) I left when I was nine weeks old :^) so it was unknown territory to me until recently.

    My question is why did you choose to write “Califia’s Daughter” under a pseudonym?

  19. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Laurie, and happy 2006.

    I have a question about the POV in both the Russell series and the Marintelli series. Russel is limited first person POV, while from what I’ve read of the Martinelli books (not all of them yet, I’m a new convert to your work :), it switches back and forth between different characters in third person POV.

    Did you make a decision to write the books like that, to focus on different aspects of the characters and stories? Or was it a happy accident that worked over time?



  20. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you for giving me so many hours of pleasure reading your books. Do you have any thoughts on the future of the characters from A Darker Place?


  21. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 at 9:43 pm

    So…. my question is… when is the sequel to Califia’s Daughters comming out?


  22. Anonymous on January 2, 2006 at 11:40 pm

    Thanks for letting us ask whatever! Ditto the pseudonym question and, at the end of BEEK you mention Holmes and Russel going to Europe together, do we ever get more details on that?

  23. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 at 4:52 am

    Happy New Year, Laurie! Thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions. 🙂
    Is the next Russell book going to focus on the interlude in Japan that was mentioned in Locked Rooms?

  24. britlife on January 3, 2006 at 2:37 pm

    Happy New Year, Laurie!

    What was the most amusing reaction to Russell you’ve received from a diehard Holmes fan?

    Thanks for providing me (and many others) with hours of enjoyment!

  25. Anonymous on January 3, 2006 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Laurie! I love the Russell books, but I need something else to read. Have you read any good books lately?


  26. WDI on January 4, 2006 at 2:24 pm

    Happy New Year — at least with all the rain, I’m guessing you didn’t have to worry about brush fires as a consequence of those firecrackers. I hope you don’t face mudslide issues . . .

    My question, as a novice rider, is where/when did Russel learn to ride so well and how/when did she keep her riding up to the level she displayed while pig-sticking in India? I can easily imagine an answer, but was wondering what backstory you had in mind.

    Like another reader, I’d also love to know whether or not you have plans for a Califia’s Daughters sequel — that was one of my favorite post-apocalypse utopia/dystopia books ever.

    Thanks for taking the time for all of this, and for the books you craft! Oh — and a super extra fantastic thanks for writing a new Martinelli 🙂

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