Please welcome Cori Lynn Arnold, author of Thin Luck and other works.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
On a perfect day I’m motivated. I get out of bed, inspired by some idea, and sit down to write. Sometime later, I let out a long breath and busy myself with whatever else I’d planned that day—usually reading or volunteering at the library—and in so doing something unusual happens to break up the constant fight against housewife monotony.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
I’m known for my roast turkey. I make it a lot more than just the requisite Thanksgiving meal. I’ll have one at least once in the spring, one for Canadian Thanksgiving (or what my son calls “Practice Thanksgiving”), one for American Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. I vary up the side dishes. My most popular side dish (besides the crescent rolls) started from an accident after my husband told me two hours before dinner that one of our guests was vegetarian. I cut a lot of corners for the “tofurky” recipe and made something akin to stuffing.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
At the start, the plots of Stephen King and the literary prose of Ross Macdonald inspired me. More recently, the unrelenting production and dry wit of Lawrence Block and the pure irony and darkness of Megan Abbott and Patricia Highsmith have pushed my writing further.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I have a playlist for writing including a lot of soundtracks and some late 90’s women vocalists, but when I really need to drop into “the zone” I’ll listen to RJD2’s “Ghostwriter” on repeat.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Thin Luck is the chili chocolate of novels. Thought there are plenty of warnings about the spice, but it’s still a delightful surprise.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Thin Luck stared out of a simple idea. A woman is released from prison and commits a series of felonies to get her baby back. I wanted to write an anti-hero. I was inspired by a panel at Bouchercon on noir, not knowing anything about noir. I wrote down and then read almost every book they mentioned, and set out a month and a half later to write my own noir for National Novel Writing Month, my first.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Relationships are complicated. Families make them more so.
Tell us about your main character.
Robyn wants to put the pieces of her life back together after she spent two years in prison, giving birth to her son behind bars. Only her husband has other plans. The clues to his whereabouts and their shared troubled past comes out chapter by chapter. We start to understand by the middle of the second act why she is behaving the way she is.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
First and foremost she’s MacGyver. She will use any skill and everything she knows to get out of sticky situations. Like Hildy Johnson (from “His Girl Friday”), she’s after the story, no matter the cost. Finally, Cora from The Postman Always Rings Twice, highlights her darker, determined side.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Let’s start with the aforementioned five: Stephen King, Ross Macdonald, Lawrence Block, Megan Abbott and Patricia Highsmith. I mean if they’re going to be an inspiration, I should invite them to dinner. I’d add Marian Keyes, because she’s always good for a laugh.
What’s next for you?
As a challenge I decided to write the screenplay for Thin Luck. There is a local, vibrant, screenwriter’s group here in town. I enjoy their collaboration and enthusiasm. It’s an infectious energy. I also have three drafts in the works.
Cori Lynn Arnold grew up in the town of North Pole, Alaska. She has worked as a hotel housekeeper, handy woman, laundry attendant, radio disc jockey, library clerk, historical photographic archivist, mathematics tutor, teaching assistant, art work framer, photo lab junky, portrait and wedding photographer, high school algebra teacher, internet security researcher, security analyst, computer programmer and ethical hacker. She currently scribes her novels in her attic in West Hartford, Connecticut.