Questions, please?

As we seem to be coming up to the first of the month (whatever happened to January?) I’m open to questions again. If you have something to ask about writing in general, or about LRK’s writing in particular, or indeed, about any other topic that catches your fancy, I’ll do my best to answer, or at least to respond.

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  1. Anonymous on January 31, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Laurie, I’m curious to know how distracting it is to you when you must travel/sign books/ give talks as part of publicizing your books. For me, it would be very distracting … especially if I had a book in progress. (I am not a seasoned traveler, and I believe you are.) Still, at the moment you are in the process of birthing a first draft … every bit as exhausting as childbirth. I’m wondering if PR interruptions are asked of you at this point, and if so, how they affect your concentration on the task at hand. Iris Lady

  2. Anonymous on January 31, 2006 at 8:00 pm

    Which books have sold the best – Mary Russell’s or the gay Detective’s?

  3. Melissa on January 31, 2006 at 8:24 pm

    I know your novels are character driven, but I’e2’80’99m wondering if you have any advice for setting description. Nothing I put on paper is close to what I see in my mind’e2’80’99s eye.

  4. Anonymous on January 31, 2006 at 8:54 pm


    I’m wondering when you write a series (if, in fact, you meant to)do you visualise several books into the future, or do they come to you one adventure at a time?

    Ps Loved Cat’s Paw–there were elements of Russell in there!


  5. Elle on January 31, 2006 at 9:39 pm


    I have a question concerning O Jerusalem. Much is made in the book about Russell’s new identity, Amir. All three of the men must learn to address her as Amir, and do so. However, you never mention whether Holmes also took on a new name. Throughout the book, he remains “Holmes” to the other three characters. I would have thought he needed an Arabic name as well. It’s been a while since I read the book, so I don’t remember whether Russell, Mahmoud, or Ali ever addressed Holmes by name with “outsiders” around, but it has always rather bothered me that Holmes doesn’t have an Arabic name to go with his Bedoin disguise. You always pay such close attention to the details of your stories, which is one of the reasons I love your books so much. Am I being too nit-picky?

  6. Ruth on January 31, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    I’m just curious as to whether we’ll ever see any of Kate’s family in any future Martinelli stories, as we’ve had brief mentions of them in the last four books. Seeing as Kate and Lee are parents in the Art Of Detection, that must qualify Kate’s mother as a grandmother?

  7. Anonymous on January 31, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    Have you had any feedback from Vietnam vets on the Vietnam portion of Keeping Watch? I thought you did a tremendous job on that part, and hope someone who was there congratulated you on it (instead of nit-picking.)

  8. Mousie on February 1, 2006 at 2:18 am

    I had thought of a question last week, but being incredibly forgetful, I forgot it. So the question I ask to substitute for my previous question is:
    Does Russell’s experiance with a Sari reflect one which you experianced? (I personally find them easy to wear, though that may be because mine is cotton)

  9. Dianna on February 1, 2006 at 3:36 am

    From the oh-too brief appearence of Lord Peter, and the previous month’s response on Sayer homage among Kate’s novels (by the way, is the one in The Art of Detection included in the sample?), it’s quite clear you’re a fan of Dorothy Sayers. Do you see any comparisions between Harriet and Mary? How do you think the pair of them would interact if they met?

    Thanks! Dianna

  10. Rebecca on February 1, 2006 at 3:51 am

    The specific question about O Jerusalem made me think of a somewhat similar one of my own.

    Margery’s miraculous healing in MREG has made me curious ever since I read it. One of Holmes’s defining traits (beginning from the canon) has been absolute disbelief in the supernatural, yet no rational explanation is ever offered for Margery’s healing. I was wondering why you wrote that the way you did? A “miraculous” event just seems out of place in a story about Sherlock Holmes.

  11. Anonymous on February 1, 2006 at 4:04 am

    I am currently re-reading the Mary Russel series, and am currently in the middle of A Monstrous Regiment of Women. A question occured to me as I was reading it today, and I was glad to notice that you had posted the request for questions. Is Margery Childe a real person, or based on someone real, at least with regards to the Temple and the work she does there? Molly

  12. Jaimee Drew on February 1, 2006 at 5:09 am

    I was wondering if you have ever thought of writing a travelogue or a memoir? Your descriptions of locale throughout all of your books are fascinating, and through your blog I have really enjoyed your personal stories about your experiences (such as the cockroach story). Reading your books tends to make me want to pack a suitcase so it made me wonder…

  13. Anonymous on February 1, 2006 at 5:30 am

    I’m curious about your current favorite mystery writers … those who are alive and writing today. Could you list a few, or would that put you too much on the spot? There seem to be a lot of promising newcomers on the shelves these days.

  14. Emma on February 1, 2006 at 7:38 am

    I think I have the most trivial question here! Does anyone actually smuggle freon in the USA? Or was that your own idea for Folly?

    Thank-you for your excellent books and the blog.

  15. WDI on February 1, 2006 at 12:45 pm

    I’m curious about how much backstory you develop for your “series” characters. Do you envision entire lives from childhood, or broad outlines that fill themselves in as new stories develop? I’m interested in this as a general question, but also as it applies to some of Russel’s physical skills. She’s a good rider, but we don’t know much about when she learned or how she keeps it up. Ditto with her martial arts — we know when she started training, but not whether or not (or how) she maintains her skills. Do you carry a sort of vision of her life in which those things play a part, or do you simply allow the skills to manifest as needed and assume she takes care of them herself?

    (I hope that makes sense!)

  16. Anonymous on February 1, 2006 at 1:12 pm

    Thank you for writing the Mary Russell series. My post-exams reward was to sit in front of the heater with Locked Rooms and a hot chocolate. Sheer bliss.

    A question that popped into my head last night (I hope it’s not too personal – or worse, airheaded):

    Can writers make good money from their writings alone? Not including whatever they get from movie deals or merchandise.

  17. Curtis on February 7, 2006 at 12:21 am

    I am jumping late into the Feb queue for answers, but I just remembered–is Margery Child’s name in Montrous Regiment an echo or homage to Margery Kempe, the medieval mystic? If yes, say more about that.

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