Swagbucks Book Club – Lisa Scottoline Responds

Welcome Back, Swagbucks Book Club members.  Did you enjoy all the  Black Friday Swag Codes?  Christmas sure is coming up fast!  With that in mind we will not have a designated discussion title for December but don’t worry, we’ve got some great discussions, earning opportunities, and even more free e-books to announce this month!  Thanks again to everyone who submitted questions for the author of November’s title, Accused by Lisa Scottoline.  She was kind enough to take time out of her holidays to respond.  Thanks again to St Martin’s Press for giving us this opportunity.

“I very much enjoy the Rosato & Associates series! I’m curious what authors Lisa Scottoline reads, admires or suggests” asks GracieGarson

I love to read and read very widely, without regard to classifications or genre, which I think is meaningless anyway. Some of my favorite authors are Kristin Hannah, David Baldacci, Janet Evanovich, Michael Connelly, Louise Penny, Linda Fairstein, Harlan Coben, Mary Kay Andrews, Jodi Picoult, Meg Wolizter, Sandra Brown, Emily Giffin, James Patterson, Wally Lamb, and tons of others. I love nonfiction authors like Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, Nora and Delia Ephron, Malcolm Gladwell and Frank McCourt.

“As an aspiring author myself, I would be interested to hear about how she feels publishing has changed since her first book. Has access to her fans helped or hurt her process?” from ScottM93

This is an amazingly great question, and I think about it all the time, because I began writing in the 90s where there weren’t even cell phones! I’m thrilled that the culture is advancing technologically by leaps and bounds, for so many reasons, chief among them is that I feel closer to my fans. I was one of the 1st authors to have a website that solicited reader e-mail, all of which I answered, and still do when I can. Now I communicate personally with my readers on Facebook and Twitter, and it really becomes a community of people who not only love my work, which is unbelievably gratifying, but more importantly, a community of people who love books. And not surprisingly, they also love many other pleasures in life, namely dogs, cats, and a great dish of eggplant parm. I love to know what my readers think of my books and it helps me keep them in mind when I’m writing. Most importantly, every day it reminds me of how lucky I am to have this job. So I wouldn’t trade that access for anything. My readers give me much more than I give them, in so many ways.

“One question I have is about Mary’s cell phone use. She always seems to be using her phone in the car. She seems to realize that this is not a good idea, (and her father yells at her about it) but is constantly rationalizing that it’s only for a little while, or that it’s safer than pulling over. Why would the author have her continue using the phone in this way? Is she setting Mary up for a major car accident in a future book?” asks Liz56

This is another great question, and it lets me know that maybe I’ve been too heavy-handed about the cell phone-in-the-car thing. I really drive a lot, like any suburban mom, and I despair over everyone using their cell phones and texting while they are driving. It makes me crazy. I never want my characters to do anything that horrible, but Mary is fighting the same fight that I fight when I’m driving–I know I shouldn’t talk on the phone while driving, but sometimes business has to be conducted. I also think generations think differently about this issue, so that’s why I have her father yelling at her. This answer probably illustrates that there is a real person like me behind these books, and the books will reflect my personal quirks, although I hope and pray that my quirks are the same as yours. But no, I’m not setting Mary up for major car accident in the future book–that gives me way too much credit! LOL!

“One of the things I noticed right away about this novel was the proliferation of brand names. Was this was a conscious decision on her part. Did she feel it would enhance the reader’s emotional attachment to the story?” from Becky, Team Swagbucks

I always use brand names, though I hope I don’t use too many, because I am a big fan of Strunk and White’s dictum to “be specific” in writing. I think we live in a world of brand names, and there is a difference between a character who eats Cocoa Puffs for breakfast and one who eats Special K. That’s why I would never just say that a character ate cereal, because I want to be specific and also want to inform the reader in a subtle way of as many facets of the character’s personality as I can. I am occasionally asked if I accept money for using a brand name, like a product placement, and the answer to that is a resounding no, and I never would.

“Maybe another related question to ask her is does she not fear that making so many references to current technology and/or fads may “date” her books very quickly? Or is this part of her “signature”?” asks Caribbeandream

I never worry about that because I write what I love to read, which is contemporary fiction. It will of necessity have lots of specific references that will be outdated in time, but to me, the crux of any one of my novels comes from the heart and is about relationships between people, whether they are inside or outside of the family. In other words, the substance of the book is the human condition, and that is timeless.

“I have been reading the Rosato & Associates books since the beginning. Is there anything she would change looking back now?” wonders Kibbles12

That’s a great question because I think applies to life as well, and I’ll tell you upfront that the answer is no. I like the way that things grow organically in life, as well as in the Rosato series and as in life, I always try to turn disadvantages or lack of planning into something good. That’s my game, to flip it. So for example, at one point I did realize that I had a lot of people named Tony in the Rosato books and I said to myself, you can either rue the day you did that, or you can just take advantage of it, which is what I ended up doing. That gave rise to The Tony’s, and I love the way that worked out. Importantly, it rings true, and it’s funny.

Thanks again to Lisa Scottoline for taking the time to respond, and with such honesty and humor.  You are welcome to drop by the Swagbucks Book Club anytime!  If reading her responses has you intrigued you can see our full discussion of the book by clicking here.

Today’s Discussion question is simple: What book are you reading right now?  Leave your responses in the comments and on Monday I will randomly choose 3 people and award them 25 Swag Bucks!