Today Lanny Larcinese is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Death in the Family, his latest crime thriller.
Welcome, Lanny. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
LL: Death in the Family is not part of a series in the usual way of thinking; however, as the first novel I wrote but the second one published, it has some characters in common with I Detest All My Sins, the first book published. The main character in I Detest has only a supporting role in Death; another is a secondary character in both books. Plot, theme and writing style differs. Finally, the ending of Death in the Family is ambiguous enough to support a sequel but is not my work in progress. Readers have said they would look forward to a sequel to Death in the Family. Confused? I don’t blame you!
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
LL: Good question. My story ideas usually begin with a character, his important need, a theme, and some back story. I then develop plot events designed to stress the character and bring his needs into conflict with his world. In Death in the Family, I employed my knowledge of mob lore, the restaurant business and real estate and combined them into the mob’s mysterious interest in a diner owned by my protagonist’s girlfriend’s family. That mystery converged with the mystery of who killed my protagonist’s father and why, and led to the climax.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
LL: All my stories have a theme. The trick is to bury it in a sweet spot just below the surface of more superficial plot events; otherwise, it comes off as a morality tale, or, if buried too deep, lost. I write my stories to be layered: surface plot events and tension; relationship issues; theme. The provenance of Death in the Family began with my image of a talented young man plagued by unrequited love from his mother who was deeply in love with his father, a low level mob wannabe. When the father gets murdered and his hands cut off, it’s the mother urging my protagonist to seek vengeance. By the end of the story, my anti-hero says, “She should always have known I was the better man.”
How do you create your characters? Do you have favourite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
LL: Another great question! My characters and many of their features are always splintered off from my life, by which I mean direct experiences; people I’ve known personally; people I’ve known indirectly, e.g., read about; my imagination; and my knowledge of human proclivities. I mix and match features from all those sources depending upon motivations needed to move the story forward as well as create an interesting mix of people. No favorites; they’re all human, so to speak.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
LL: Place is so important. It can almost be a character. I am a city guy. I have lived and worked directly in 5 cities, including now, and have traveled to many more. I know the urban landscape, city attitudes, risks and risk tolerance, demographic and ethnic variety, slum vs. the high rent district, where the action is, vital or dying, etc. The crack of a gunshot echoes differently in Chicago or New York than Des Moines. I’d have to do special research to place a story on an Amish farm.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
LL: Crime writers joke the FBI may be at the door about our google searches. How did writers do it before google and Wikipedia? For Death in the Family, research included: how much C4 to blow up a Buick; the difference between military grade and commercial grade explosive; how fires spread; which mob capo controls Newark; airport security in 1990; can a stab wound at L4-5 cause paralysis…and more, including thesaurus, spelling dictionaries, grammar usage, etc. Being a pantser-writer, I never know what story matter will bollix me as I’m writing.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
LL: I’m a genre writer, which means action and mystery, but I like this definition of literary writing: “Not much happens but a lot goes on.” I reach for both. Though my story is layered, writing an entertaining story comes first. It is enjoyable on that level. For the reader interested in more meat, that’s there too.
Thanks for answering my questions, Lanny, and good luck with Death in the Family, your latest crime thriller.
Lanny Larcinese will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. To enter the draw click here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f3241
You can find a list of the rest of Lanny Larcinese’s tour stops here:
Why not drop by some of the stops? You’ll have a chance to enter the draw again at each stop.
Readers can learn more about Lanny and his writing by visiting his Facebook page.
The novel is available online on Amazon:
About Lanny Larcinese: Lanny Larcinese ‘s short work has appeared in magazines and has won a handful of local prizes. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a native mid-westerner transplanted to the City of Brotherly Love where he has been writing fiction for seven years. When not writing, he lets his daughter, Amanda, charm him out of his socks, and works at impressing Jackie, his long-time companion who keeps him honest and laughing—in addition to being his first-line writing critic. He also spends more time than he should on Facebook but feels suitably guilty for it.