If someone hasn't read your work yet, where should they start?
My first thriller was The Perfect Husband, about an escaped serial killer who seeks revenge against the wife who helped put him away, and her own determined efforts never to be a victim again. It’s still considered a classic in the industry, especially for fans of serial killer novels. For readers who prefer a more cerebral approach, I recommend The Neighbor, about the search for a missing woman and the secrets uncovered in her neighborhood, which won the International Thriller Writer’s award for best suspense.
When did you first think of yourself as a writer?
I’m unique in publishing in that this is all I’ve ever done. I wrote my first novel at 17; sold it at 20. I started my career writing romantic suspense, including the Family Secrets trilogy that's available now. I've always liked action, adventure and a hope of happily ever after.
How did you end up living in NH?
After college, I settled in Boston, where I joined the Appalachian Mountain Club and started hiking in the White Mountains. What can I say, it was love at first sight. My husband and I moved here ten years ago and I still get my best book ideas roaming through the woods. Makes me wonder what normal people do while hiking.
Where do you like to write?
I have a designated office outside. My husband refers to it as my dorm room, as it contains an ancient laptop, a mini fridge and an iPod. More importantly, it doesn’t have any phone, internet, or distractions. That’s about what it takes to get an author to work!
How important is place in your writing?
I’m known for psychological suspense. Most of my books have been set in Boston, so there is a sense of the city, as well as larger New England life. But I think state of mind is my main focus. I like characters who are flawed but trying, strong but vulnerable, imperfect but interesting. The characters feel like people you know, which makes the books hit closer to home.
What do you do when you aren't writing?
Hiking, biking, kayaking, gardening, anything outside. I also have an adrenaline-junkie husband, constantly-in-motion child and three active dogs. Life around here is never boring!
What’s the best piece of advice (writing or otherwise) you were ever given?
Writing is a journey, not a destination. Focus on your craft, on being the best writer you can be, and publishing success will follow.
What books do you love and what about them speaks to you?
I’m a huge reader. I’ll read across all genres, fiction, non fiction, the Cheerios box, I don’t care. I’m drawn to stories that transport you as a reader, grab you from page one and never let go. I love Tess Gerritsen, Anita Shreve, Jodi Picoult, Steven King, Dan Brown, Tom Ryan. It’s amazing the talent we have right here in New England.
What are you working on now?
Fear Nothing, the latest Detective D.D. Warren novel. Investigating a serial killer in Boston, D.D. follows the trail to a woman who’s already spent thirty years in jail for one the most notorious murders in recent memory. Needless to say, much murder and mayhem ensue.
What do you want to share that I neglected to ask about?
Readers are welcome to check out my website, www.LisaGardner.com, where they can also nominate the person of their choice to die in my next novel. Yep, the annual Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy sweepstakes where the winner is entitled to a grand literary death. Hope everyone enjoys!