When I looked over my new list of interviews today, I realized I should have had more coffee this morning.  My head is already pounding just looking at this group.  But then, they’ve all been tricky – trying to trip me up – evading questions here and there – leading me down corridors of confusion – but they don’t realize who they’re dealing with.  I’ll get my answers one way or the other.  So, okay – my window is closed.  No problem – it was too drafty anyway.


THE CRIMES:  Writing some of the best fiction out there.


TESS GERRITSEN   http://www.tessgerritsen.com

Tessgerritsen_1 Now, this lovely lady means business.  Just check out this photo!  You don’t want to mess with her.  Besides being an Edgar nominee, she just won the Nero Award a couple of weeks ago.  You already know she’s a NYT Bestseller – an international supernova with TEN Medical Suspense novels under belt-but did you know she also wrote NINE Romantic Suspense novels as well?  We all know Tess is a physician – but I gotta tell you -that mock autopsy she did with Doug Lyle at ThrillerFest was a show stopper!

Not only is Tess one hell of a stunner – which is easy too see – (so let’s just all get over our envy) – she is also warm, generous with her thoughts (check out her blog) – has a terrific laugh and a wicked sense of humor.  I had to keep that in mind whilst I read her latest  two books- VANISH – because that’s what she did to my sleep.  It vanished.  And her newest – THE MEPHISTO CLUB – added more wrinkles around my eyes.  But I’ll make Tess pay – she owes me a drink next year at ThrillerFest. 

EE:  Okay, here’s an easy one:  What is your favorite retreat?  And what do you do there?

TG:  My own head.  And I do everything there.  Not all of which I can talk about.

Really.  Hmmmm.  Oh, we’ll really have to have that drink!

EE:  Everyone has a Walter Mitty dream, what’s yours?  75,000 words or less.  I normally say to keep it clean, but after that last answer-I’m intrigued.

TG:  Brad Pitt decides Angelina Jolie just isn’t hot enough for him anymore, and then his gaze meets mine across the room, and…   No, honestly, I’m already living my Walter Mitty dream.  I still can’t believe I’m getting paid so well just to make stuff up.

Aw, shucks – you had me going there.  But hey, if you’re happy?

EE:  Word on the street is that Orlando Bloom is after you to star opposite him in the next Pirate’s of the Caribbean: The Quest for Tess’.  When do you see your calendar clear to begin?

TG:  Five minutes ago.  (Will I get to keep the sex scenes?)

There’s a slight problem – it’s a bit iffy at this point.  But I think I’ve got everyone convinced as long as you promise to get back to work on your next thriller.  See, the powers that be are afraid you might run off with Orlando…but not to worry, okay?  I’m on the case.

JIM ROLLINS   http://www.jamesrollins.com


Jim Rollins is one of the few men I take to bed who can keep me up all night.

Well, it’s true.  His chapter endings are such cliff-hangers, I can’t let go of my anxiety.  But then, what can you expect from this best selling author of SEVEN pulse racing thrillers?  Oh, and then he’s also a best selling fantasy author of THREE different series under the name of James Clemens!  And then of course, he also has a Ph.D in veterinary medicine, his undergraduate work focused on evolutionary biology-he’s an amateur spelunker and a certified scuba diver.  Other than that, he’s just your ordinary regular guy.  Yeah. Right.  A super human dynamo is more like it.  Lest you think me gaga, be sure to pick up his newest – BLACK ORDER – and see for yourself.

Jim Rollins is the newest member of my secret loves club.   p.s. I have six now, and room for one more.  And I’ve got my eye on a few candidates.  Keep tuned.

EE:  Let’s try the ‘lighten up’ thing, okay?  Who would you love to do a book tour with?

JR:  Only you, El…can I call you "El"?  Think of the lonely road together, the whispers across late candle-lit dinners, debating the works of Proust, Shakespeare, and Lemony Snicket…then the occasional longing glance out of the corner of the eye, the sudden smile, the laughter that hides something more.  Where might it lead?  More than just the New York Times bestseller list?


EE:  Whew!  I’m not sure if I can go on here.  Pardon me for a moment whilst I fan my face.  Okay, I’m fine now.  I can do this.  Other than writing two series (!), what do you consider your biggest challenge?

JR:  It has to be my role as an international man of mystery.  It gets so tiring doing all those quick changes in disguise:  the modeling clay, the fake teeth, the tinted contact lenses.  The dry cleaning bill alone ate through my last royalty check. But at least the world is a much safer place.

The hell with the world, where shall we meet?

LAURA LIPPMAN   http://www.lauralippman.com


Great talent, beauty, brains, her warmth, crackling wit, generosity and welcome smile – all wrapped up in one long-legged supernova is just too damn much for one woman to have – but this lady has it all.  And then some. 

And then there are the books.  Oh, boy.  Fourteen books and a combination of damn near every nomination and award that’s out there.  Laura has won the Edgar, Shamus, Agatha, Anthony, and the Barry – and nominated for Best P.I. from Romantic Times.  And there is little doubt her latest – NO GOOD DEEDS – will most likely bring more nominations and awards.

EE:  Okay, Laura – I’m going to start off the bat with one of the hottest rumors running around Mysteryville.  In fact, it’s so hot – cell phones are sparking.  Can it REALLY be true you’re not taking Jude Law’s calls anymore???  And all because his so-called excessive craving for Greek food at midnight was the last straw?

LL:  More his excessive cravings for nannies.

Huh? That’s it?  Nannies?  But…but…I heard he swore on bended knee that he was cured.  Well, okay.  But hey-that does leave him open ladies and I’ve got his private number. Email me -but be warned-the highest bidder, okay?

EE:  My spy in Vegas (no not that Elvis look-alike that stalked you at Bcon/2003-he’s not working for me anymore. But that’s another story) – tells me that you’ve instructed your publisher not to give into the threats from that mega rich casino owner who is claiming you wrote NO GOOD DEEDS in his  coffee shop. And – that he was so taken with you, he personally waited on you!  All the poor man wants – he claims – is to be acknowledged as your muse, but you won’t even send him an autographed copy. 

LL:  I love you, Elaine, but you clearly have the worst sources in the world.  Who are you talking to, Jayson Blair and James Frey?

Uh, no – it was…well, I can’t really say.  My lips are sealed.  I mean, I have to protect my sources.  Surely, as a former journalist – you understand that, right?  But he had gorgeous hair and the dreamiest blue eyes…and…and…well, never mind.

DYLAN SCHAFFER  http://www.misdemeanorman.com


I was prepared to remind you that besides being a criminal defense lawyer for the past fifteen years, Dylan was also a guest blogger here at Murderati, AND he writes an absolutely terrific legal thriller series – MISDEMEANOR MAN – which won Mystery Ink’s 2004 Gumshoe for best debut, and the second in the series – I RIGHT THE WRONGS, was a Booksense selection.  Oh, so was MISDEMEANOR MAN.  And then I was going to tell you that his next book, LIFE, DEATH & BIALYS: A FATHER/SON BAKING STORY (which made me laugh, smile and cry all at once) came out September 6th.  And…ta da…is a Barnes & Nobel Discover pick.

Anyway, God help me, I still don’t know why I asked Dylan for some additional info, but I did.  I mean, I know him, okay?  He’s a pal.  I know that a mischievous monkey resides in his cranium-so I shoulda been warned. Fasten your seat belts – here’s what he sent me:

Dylan Schaffer was born Hilda Nihelitheg in 1912.  During WWII she served as a factotum to the Emperor of Jerusalem.  Ms. Nihelitheg disappeared from the political scene until 1974 when, having shed his female skin, he took a position as Gerald Ford’s manicurist.  After careers in journalism, plumbing, and phlebotomy, Mr. Schaffer settled into the final chapter of his life as a writer.  His comic legal thrillers, MISDEMEANOR MAN and I WRITE THE WRONGS were both well received in the Japanese religious community.  The well known celebrity chef Mario Batali called Schaffer’s new memoir, LIFE, DEATH & BIALYS: A FATHER/SON BAKING STORY,  "a book."

See what I mean?  But, not to worry, it gets better.  Well, sort of.  But be warned – 

EE: Somewhere in the night, Dylan, or at what point in your career, did you find it necessary to stop after each chapter draft to go outside and stare at the moon?  I mean, to know you is to love you, but what?

DS:  Elaine, Elaine.  You’re amazing.  I haven’t thought of that weekend in New England in years.  It was fall, Saturday, 1970.  I was taking a few days away from my job trading zero coupon bonds on the Street.  My pockets were full, but my heart was empty.  I parked in a shuttered seaside town. The fog slithered over me, its chilly fingers sneaking behind my collar and up my pants legs.  I ducked into a dive, Avenue C.  The barmaid was called Mandy.  She looked like Terri Hatcher, only blond and tall, with Streisand’s nose and a chest that would have hooked Johnny Depp.  She fed me near beers and laughed at my jokes about Jewish cannibals and David Hasselhoff.  By the time her shift ended I swear I couldn’t smile without herIt could have been magic. But around daybreak, during some romantic gymnastics, I tripped and spent the next six hours in the emergency room trying to get the feeling back in my left foot.  Mandy said she was going out to find some Chuckles.  I never saw her again.  To this day I’m running too hard, chasing that feeling, saying these words, "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there."

Gosh, is that all it took?  Uh, Dylan? Don’t turn around. There’s a duck chasing you yelling, ‘AFLACK!

EE:  Please don’t be scared, or take offense, but I’ve got to ask this next question.  You do thoroughly scrub your hands before making those famous cookies you give out at book signings, don’t you?  I promise not to turn you into the Cookie Police if you just rinse them, but I’ve been asked to ask you.

DS:  Thanks for asking.  You’d be surprised how many people don’t know what a bialy is.  I suppose you can’t really blame them.  I sometimes think that bagels are the insecure bread, couldn’t tolerate sharing the Jewish breakfast food arena.  I suppose we have Noah to thank for that.  You don’t see that dude pushing bialys on bus stop advertisements, do you?  Anyway, I suppose by now it’s pretty obvious that bialys are like bagels – round, baked, made with flour, good for spreading cream cheese.  But unlike bagels, they don’t require boiling to taste good.  If you ask me, only narcissistic bread feels the need to sit in a hot tub before baking. A hot oven is good enough for bialys, and bialys are good enough for me.  There’s a good bialys recipe (http://bialybook.com/bialy_recipe.htm) on my site.

Where’s my Advil?  Never mind, where’s my Jack Daniels??

EE:  Could it be magic, or can you really complete a first draft in two weeks?

DS:  Magic.  Please.  Magic?  I don’t think so.  I’m not trying to embarrass you, but magic?  If someone’s magic, it’s you, Elaine.  Your books?  Incredible.  The awards?  Deserved, deserved, deserved.  I remember watching you eat your Kung Pao shrimp in Chicago last year and thinking to myself, "Magic.  There’s really no other appropriate word."  Listen, if I’m Magic – and I have my moments, sure – well, you’re triple super-duper magic.  Seriously.

You’re a darling to say such wonderful things about me, but lean closer and I’ll let you in on my secret.  No, closer.  That’s it…a few more inches.  Okay, just between us, right?   I cast a spell, and it worked.  I have all these dolls, see, and at midnight at every new moon, I…well, I’ll have to show you.  It wouldn’t have happened otherwise.  I mean, a gal’s gotta do what she can, right?  So I used magic.  They don’t call me Evil E for nuttin’.

ALEX KAVA  http://www.alexkava.com


Six blockbuster books – over three million books and published in twenty-two countries – could it happen to a nicer gal?   If you don’t believe me – just pick up Alex’s newest – A NECESSARY EVIL and when you can’t turn off the lights when you go to bed – just don’t blame it on me.

EE:  Other than writing those mega-best sellers, which talent would you most like to have?  Don’t tell us you’re still hoping to go on the poker tour either, okay?

AK:  Scorpion killer!  I actually tried it at this year’s ThrillerFest.  (Seriously, I found one in my cottage.) But I was told squeezing a scorpion between a Kleenex with your bare fingers is NOT the way it’s done.  In my defense, it was the closest weapon I had available at the time.

You could have shown the scorpion the cover of your new book – it would have keeled over with fright!

EE:  My new spy hit me with a real juicy tidbit.  He swears up and down he saw you and Tess Gerritsen in a huddle with Dominick Dunne at ThrillerFest.  So…what was that all about, hmmm?

AK:  For those who might not know, Tess did an autopsy at this year’s ThrillerFest.  Now just think on those same lines for next year but add Dominick to the mix…well, I hate to spoil the surprise.  As a hint I’ll tell you that Tess needed to use some of my research I did for SPLIT SECOND on putting body parts in take-out containers.  Which by the way, a few weeks ago when the New York Times reviewed the ITW anthology, Thriller – that was my short story’s "Pie Topped With Spleen" that made it into the headline.  I couldn’t have been prouder.


I gotta tell you, it’s been a day with this bunch.  A doc who likes to do autopsies in public, a vet who is a master of disguise, a leggy blond who stands up Jude Law, a scorpion killer who can show you how to put body parts in take-out containers and a nut case lawyer/baker who thinks he’s Barry Manilow.  They think they’ve thrown me off, but I’ve got news for them – I’m on to their tricks.  See, I’m an expert face reader – I can tell when perp’s are trying to give me the bum’s rush.  Hey, I’ve been around the block a few times.  Okay, so I’m direction challenged, but I eventually get to where I gotta be.  And let me tell you, they know I’ve been there when I get there.  Never mind – you hadda be there to get that one.  My list is narrowing down – two more sessions and I’ll know who dunit.

So, until next Wednesday – stay safe out there people, okay?


  1. Louise Ure

    Hi Elaine! Nice to see this latest round up of suspects again, and especially nice to see two of my faves, Laura Lippman and Dylan Schaffer, given the rubber hose treatment!

  2. Dylan Schaffer

    Yo Evil E

    Once again — will I be forced to call my lawyers?

    All threats of litigation aside, it was an honor to do battle with you. And to be in such august company, well, I may have to treat myself to an entire box of Lucky Charms this morning. As you know, they’re magically delicious.

    I leave you with the insightful words of the great philosopher and shuffleboard champion Gerald U. Finksayer, “When in doubt, blow your nose. At least that buys you a little time.”

    Your Pal Forever and Ever,

    Dylan Schaffer (the former Hilda Nihelitheg)

  3. Elaine Flinn

    Thanks, Louise! But you should know the rubber hose was just on the table for effect. Have to say – it scared the hell out of them, though.

    Better strip down, Guyot – there’s more to come.

    And dear, dear Hilda! What would life be without you? But hey – watch those Lucky Charms – loaded with carbs. As if you had to worry?

    By the way – the’they know I’ve been there when I get there’ is an elevator joke. I never remember which way to turn when I get out. Really. Ask anyone.

  4. pari noskin taichert

    Um, I was wondering if that quote in Dylan’s comments here is in reference to the picture in the interview? Just curious.

    Thanks again for these mini-interviews, Elaine. They’re great tidbits that give us enough to laugh and learn and to enjoy these fine writers’ in delicious bites.

    Oh, that sounded really bad .


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