Please welcome Leslie Langtry, author of the Bombay Family of Assassins Greatest Hits Series, the Merry Wrath Mysteries, and more.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
My perfect day would involve a very nice beach resort and a good mystery novel. At one point, there’d be some pretty spectacular shopping, followed by a gourmet steak dinner – served with a nice Argentinian malbec. I’m pretty sure somewhere along the line, cake will be involved. And then I would sleep for about 36 hours.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
Let’s see…I already mentioned cake…and my phrase probably includes swearing so I won’t go into that here. I have a signature color – Orange. I have an orange car, my living room/dining room is orange, orange day lilies are my favorite flower, my ipod is orange (so is my ipod cover)…and so on. It’s a very happy color, but now that I think about it, it’s possible that it might be time for an intervention.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
That’s an excellent question – there are so many! To keep the answer simple, I’ll start with my first inspirations – the ones who made me want to write: Agatha Christie and Carolyn Keene. I know, Carolyn Keene was just a pen name for a stable of authors, but I devoured those books. As I got older, I grew into Agatha Christie – and obsessively read all of those too. Someday I’d like to write the perfect mystery. Something like Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE. I’m not sure I’m that clever, but I’d like to give it a shot.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I do! I listen to classical music on my local National Public Radio station. I can’t do complete silence, but I can’t write when there are lyrics. One of my favorite composers is Michael Daugherty. I love his Superman inspired Metropolis Symphony for Orchestras. It’s a great one for writing comedy. I also like listening to the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. Good stuff!
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Hmmm…I think my latest book, MARSHMALLOW S’MORE MURDER would definitely be a marshmallow s’more with Hershey’s milk chocolate. My Girl Scout troop loved making S’mores. They’d eat 2 or 3 – feel full, but keep making them. I probably ate hundreds of S’mores back in the day. Those were the days!
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I love this series because 1) I’ve been a Girl Scout volunteer for 13 years and was a leader for 10 (I have enough material for at least twenty more books); and 2) I’m from a small town in Iowa and I miss it. In this book however, Merry takes her troop to Washington DC. DC has always been one of my favorite cities – so many possibilities for trouble. Trouble is awesome.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
I write funny mysteries. There has to be a ‘fish out of water’ theme in my books. I like dropping my heroine into situations that she’d never imagine (and probably never forgive me for). I also plug a lot of my Girl Scout troop experience in my books. You wouldn’t believe which scenes have really happened. It’s kind of hard for me to believe it sometimes.
Tell us about your main character.
This book is the third in my latest series – Merry Wrath Mysteries. Merry Wrath is an ‘accidentally’ outed CIA agent who is forcibly retired, and decides to go back to her hometown of Who’s There, Iowa, to figure out what to do with the rest of her life. She becomes a Girl Scout leader and finds that this volunteer work might be just as dangerous as her many undercover field ops.
As a result of having spent most of her time in the field, domesticity is very confusing for Merry. She buys a house and has very little furniture. Her living room drapes are Dora the Explorer twin sheets she found on sale somewhere. Merry is a little neurotic, but tough and can handle anything you throw at her. I’d like to think there’s a little bit of me in Merry. Except for the Dora Curtains. I’m more of a Muppets gal myself.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
She would be a mix of Carol Burnett, La Femme Nikita, and Sandra Bullock, I think. Kind of a girl-next-door/killer/comedian.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Oh wow. I guess Agatha would be the first one on the list. Mildred Wirt Benson – who wrote some of my favorite Nancy Drews (and she was a fellow Iowan – we both went to the University of Iowa) would be there. I’d invite Mark Gatiss who has written episodes of one of my favorite shows – Sherlock – for the BBC. I’d love to meet Rhys Bowen – I love her Royal Spyness Series. Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next & Nursery Crime Series’ are beyond awesome. Last but not least would be Joan Hess. Her Maggody Series cracks me up.
What’s next for you?
I’m just about to send my publisher the fourth Merry Wrath book – MOVIE NIGHT MURDER, which will come out in September. Before that, in July, my third series starts with UKULELE MURDER. It’s the first book in a continuity series with several authors and it takes place in Hawaii. I’ve never been there. Someday I’ll go and have that perfect day I described above. That would be nice.
Leslie Langtry is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Bombay Family of Assassins Greatest Hits Series, Merry Wrath Mysteries and UKULELE MURDER – which is the first book in a multi-author continuity series taking place in Aloha Lagoon, Kauai. Leslie lives in the Midwest with her family and assorted dogs and cats. Her favorite food is cake.