Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Laurie, thank you for sharing with readers your short story, entitled The Man With the Black Feet, in MYSTERY IN PARADISE 13 Tales of Suspense,and for taking time to visit with us today. Can you please offer a brief insight into something humorous, poignant, or unusual in your life that led you to a career in writing?
LAURIE HANAN: Since I was a very young child I’ve loved reading mysteries. As I grew up I dreamed of being a mystery writer. But while work, marriage, and parental duties provided lots of material for stories, they left no time at all to pursue a second career. Then my health failed and I was forced to take a medical retirement at a much younger age than I’d planned. While most would see this as a tragedy, I turned it into an opportunity and started writing my first mystery. I am now working on the fourth in the series and have no plan to stop writing.
Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Writers, by default, are independent contractors who sit alone at their computer/typewriter/journal, composing prose, poetry, lyrics, haiku, or limericks, for hours on end. Why did you choose to collaborate in a short story anthology featuring 13 authors?
LAURIE HANAN: Part of the reason I loved working other mystery writers on this project was the simple fact that writing is such a solitary pastime. The anthology has given me a wonderful opportunity to connect with other people who enjoy spending their time exactly the way I spend mine.
Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Each short story in the anthology offers a glimpse into the personality of the writer. In The Man With the Black Feet, what is one phrase or scene that reflects something about you as a writer?
LAURIE HANAN: Animals are an important part of my life. I love them and advocate for them. In all my stories I show how animals interact with humans to bring an added dimension to our lives. One example is the scene where Rusty returns home around midnight after a hard day on his job as a janitor. He climbs the stairs to his apartment and is greeted by his rescued terrier, Truffle. Their interdependent relationship shows in the way Rusty finds the strength to go back down the stairs to take Truffle for a walk.
The dog trotted to him with the leash in her mouth, wagging her tail. It was after midnight, but what did dogs know about time? He snapped the leash to her collar.
They made their slow way down the stairs, both of them feeling their years. While Truffle squatted in the patch of dry weeds at the edge of the sidewalk, Rusty’s gaze darted up and down the dark street.
He knew they were watching. He made a game of it, trying to spot them. There was one, huddled in the shadow of the bushes across the street. She was dressed in filthy rags. Beside her, a shopping cart overflowed with garbage bags, newspapers, and old shoes.Truffle took her time, stopping every few feet to check out new smells and mark the territory.
Here came another one, the bone-thin black guy with the spiky hairdo. Every day he wore the same floor-length dress and worn-out Nikes without socks. Now he moved down the sidewalk in a shuffling dance, singing to himself, a cigarette dangling from his lips.
Rusty whispered, “Do they really believe I can’t see through their disguises?”
A police car rounded the corner. Rusty turned his back to the street. The local cops were probably not involved, but he couldn’t be sure.
Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Every writer has a WIP (Work-In-Progress). Can you tell us a bit about your current project?
LAURIE HANAN: I’m working on the fourth novel in my Louise Golden mystery series, Stairway to Heaven. Like all my books, this one is titled after a popular song. There is a Biblical reference to a stairway to heaven. It is rumored that the Led Zeppelin song, when played backwards, contains words from The Satanic Bible. Those familiar with O’ahu will also recognize Stairway to Heaven as a treacherous and illegal hiking trail. So as you can see, the title has several connotations that I hope some readers will recognize.
Sisters in Crime/Hawaii: Where can readers find your published Louise Golden Mysteries?
LAURIE HANAN: My books are available exclusively through Amazon, in Kindle and trade paperback format.