Please welcome L.S. Hawker, author of The Drowning Game.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Some of the most perfect days I’ve ever experienced happened on Great Exuma, Emerald Bay, the Bahamas with my insanely handsome trophy husband.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
If you consider bourbon-water-rocks a meal, then YES, I DO. But also, I’ve always carried kind of weird purses. In high school, I had a clutch that resembled a rolled-up magazine (Playgirl, if you must know). I also have two purses that are in the shape of electric guitars, and one that’s made out of a Colorado license plate. I also accidentally set my purse on fire at a club one time. I was standing watching the band–they were really good–and some guy ran up to me, wrenched my purse off my shoulder, dropped it to the ground, and emptied my drink on it. I started to scream at him when he held it up and showed me the smoldering hole the size of a tambourine in it. I bought him a drink. So…what was the question?
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Definitely my freshman high school English teacher. She was the first person (outside my family) to tell me I had a flair for writing. I’m going to cheat and count as one my critique group, Because Magic, who have brainstormed me out of corners, and made me work hard and hone my craft instead of just resting on my “talent.” And S.E. Hinton because she published a novel at seventeen, which inspired me to write my first (TERRIBLE) novel at fourteen.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I always make playlists inspired by my novels, which I post on 8tracks.com and listen to while I revise (you can listen to The Drowning Game‘s playlist here). But when I’m in first draft, I listen to soundtracks and noise generators like ASoftMurmur.com and MyNoise.net. The second one has all sorts of soundscapes that can create a mood or tone for you. It’s especially helpful when I’m writing suspenseful or creepy scenes.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Anything but white chocolate, because it’s impostor, poser chocolate, which makes me angry and confused just thinking about it.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I can’t tell you without giving away spoilers, but I will say that I started writing it shortly after my youngest daughter Layla was diagnosed with autism. Although my protagonist, Petty, isn’t autistic, her life circumstances have given her characteristics consistent with autism, which I didn’t even realize until a critique partner pointed it out!
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
My characters always seem to have daddy issues–I wonder why that is? (Actually I don’t wonder at all, but that’s a story for another time.) My novels tend to find their way to forgiveness and redemption, friendship, and loyalty.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Twenty-one-year-old Petty Moshen is socially awkward, suspicious, and odd. This is because her father kept her a virtual prisoner in their rural home from the time her mother died when she was three until he dies when the story opens.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Lisbeth Salander, Sarah Connor, and Rapunzel
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Only six? No fair! Tom Wolfe, Nick Hornby, Michael Crichton, Anne Tyler, Stephen King, Annie Dillard.
What’s next for you?
My next novel for HarperCollins Witness Impulse, Body and Bone, comes out April 5, 2016.
It’s another female-powered thriller.
LS Hawker grew up in suburban Denver, indulging her worrisome obsession with true-crime books, and writing stories about anthropomorphic fruit and juvenile delinquents. She wrote her first novel at 14. Armed with a B.S. in journalism from the University of Kansas, she had a radio show called “People Are So Stupid,” edited a trade magazine, and worked as a traveling Kmart portrait photographer, but never lost her passion for fiction writing. She’s got a hilarious, supportive husband, two brilliant daughters, and a massive music collection. She lives in Colorado but considers Kansas her spiritual homeland.