Cynthia Lott is the author of the suspense novels The Feathers and The Irises. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inc., and International Thriller Writers, Inc.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for your new novel The Irises, and why did you set the book in 1979?
A: I came up with the idea for The Irises because I wanted to continue my story, The Feathers, nine months after it ends.
With the way The Feathers ended, I wanted to continue the series, reconcile some aspects of the first book, and bring in another paranormal mystery/murder.
Since the second book takes place nine months after the first, it had to be 1979. I wanted there to be a breather but not too much space between both books.
Q: The book's setting, New Orleans, is almost like another character in the story. Do you think this book could be set anywhere else, and how important is setting to you as a writer?
A: I don’t think this story could have taken place anywhere else. I suppose it could have but New Orleans IS its own character and brings a lot to the story.
The city itself is part of the narrative and observer, allowing these characters to develop, explore, discover the mystery within her. She is crucial to the story and the enchantment of the plot.
Q: As you’ve mentioned, The Irises is the second in a series. Did you know it would be a series before you started the first book, or did you decide at a later point?
A: I did know it would be a series…and I knew that the ending of the first book warranted one. I love the paranormal and supernatural…they’re great aspects to play with in a series and I hope to continue on with it for many books to come.
Q: Which authors have inspired you?
A: I am inspired by so many authors, but some of my absolute favorite are Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Milan Kundera, Joyce Carol Oates, Laura Lippman, Margaret Atwood…to name a few. I am always reading and discovering new and old writers. I just recently finished The Haunting of Hill House. I had never read it! A gem.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am currently working on the third book in the series. I can’t say too much about it but a few of the characters in the second book will definitely be front and center.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I am a big believer in supporting indie authors. My advice is to give these authors a chance…you never know what great book you will find next!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb