I would like to welcome John Lutz to Kelsey's Book Corner! He was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions for me about his newest release, Pulse. (my review is HERE)
I know you’ve just published Pulse and I really want to talk about that. But first, I’d like my readers to know a little about you.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
A) I have a short memory.
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
We’re going to talk about the book that you’ve written, but first, let us learn a little about how you got your start in writing.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
A) Like most writers, I began as an avid reader. While growing up I always had plenty of material to read at home, and lived within easy walking distance of two branch libraries. Also I didn’t have had anyone looking over my shoulder telling me what to read, or not read. I was probably much influenced by short stories in slick magazines as well as the pulps. Somewhere along the line I simply went from reader to writer. It seemed natural.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
A) Knowing when I have gotten it right. “Right” being precisely how I want it to read. When I’m revising and realize I’ve just changed something back to its original form, I know I’ve probably tweaked all I can out of the material.
Okay, now we can get to talking about Pulse.
Tell us about a little bit about Pulse.
A) Like most serial killer novels, Pulse brings to the fore life’s randomness that we seldom think about, because at the least it makes us uneasy. I try to convert that uneasiness to fear as my characters, especially the victims, come to realize they actually don’t have much influence over their lives and how, or if, they continue. Layers of security are peeled back to reveal undeniable vulnerability. Psychosexual serial killers have no rational reasons to murder. Women are prey to voracious assailants who have their own concepts of their victims, and project their own scenarios of their deaths. Victims have no control over this whatsoever and often not any suspicion of danger until it is too late. They would have to manage a glimpse into their killer’s childhood to obtain even a hint of motive, and then they still probably wouldn’t understand. The fact is that no one knows why some people are born with or acquire the compulsion to kill other human beings. As a writer of serial killer novels, my monsters are ready made – and plausible. Readers know such people exist. Now and then one of them reminds us.
How did you develop your plot and characters?
A) I think characters are the most important component of fiction. They not only need to be real in and of themselves; they need to suit the story. The plots of the Quinn books are set within the (sometimes) dramatic arcs of actual serial killer investigations: Growing public awareness, titillation and involvement, a lead investigator who finds him or herself in a chess game confrontation with a villain who kills with increasing frequency and ferociousness, the secret growing desire of the killer to be caught, and often a violent showdown involving both hunter and prey at the investigation’s conclusion. Inside this architecture there are a lot of stories to be told and characters to be developed.
What was the hardest part about writing this book?
A) Pulse is particularly complex. The challenge was to keep all the plates spinning simultaneously, and tangentially to supply their own momentum.
How many more Frank Quinn novels do you plan to write?
A) I’m not sure, but there are plenty of roads unexplored.
Have you started your next project yet? If so, can you tell us anything about it?
A) I have started the next Quinn novel. I could reveal something about it, but I think it would be better all the way around if I left it a mystery. Besides, I’m kind of superstitious when it comes to revealing anything about a present project. I don’t want anyone’s reaction to influence me.
Do you have any specific last thoughts that you want to say to your readers?
A) I’m trying to provide them with the kind of roller coaster ride that will make them queasy but compel them to buy another ticket.
Working hard at it, in fact.
(I hope those weren’t my last thoughts.)
BONUS FUN QUESTIONS
What is your favorite color?
A) Blue, with a tint of hope.
What is your favorite food?
A) Apple pie. There is no bad apple pie. Like there is no bad ice cream.
What’s your favorite place in the entire world?
A) The sunny side of the Earth’s crust.
Are you a person who makes their bed in the morning, or do you not see the point?
A) I would answer this question, but what’s the point? I get up in the morning and later in the day I notice that someone has made the bed. Could’ve been my wife.
Do you get road rage? If so, what bugs you the most about other drivers?
A) Sometimes I do get road rage. What bothers me most about other drivers is their road rage.
John Lutz published his first short story in 1966 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and has been publishing regularly ever since. His work includes political suspense, private eye novels, urban suspense, humor, occult, crime caper, police procedural, espionage, historical, futuristic, amateur detective--virtually every mystery sub-genre. He is the author of more than thirty-five novels and 250 short stories and articles. His novels and short fiction have been translated into virtually every language and adapted for almost every medium. He is a past president of both Mystery Writers of America and Private Eye Writers of America. Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of two private eye series, the Nudger series, set in his home town of St. Louis, and the Carver series, set in Florida, as well as many non-series suspense novels. His SWF SEEKS SAME was made into the hit movie SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and his novel THE EX was made into the HBO original movie of the same title, for which he co-authored the screenplay.
When Lutz isn't writing, he's reading, following baseball, dining out with friends, or going to movies. He's a serious movie buff and is on the Mystery Writers of America committee this year for the Edgar Award for best mystery movie. Lutz and his wife, Barbara, split their time between St. Louis and Sarasota, Florida.
Some Killers Come Back For More
The killer’s depravity is insatiable. What he does to his victims is unthinkable. Homicide detective turned P.I. Frank Quinn has seen this M.O. before. A demented ritual, it’s the work of Daniel Danielle—a notorious serial killer who blurs the line between male and female, human and monster. Danielle disappeared ten years ago. Is a copy cat repeating the crimes? Or has Danielle made a deadly return? Either way, this time the killing won’t stop…