Working in a loft at her New Hampshire home, Lisa Gardner reliably turns out a book a year for her eager readers. Charismatic characters and breathtaking plots that always have a little something extra—lessons in raising spiders, for example—have made her an internationally bestselling author with more than twenty-two million books in print in thirty countries.
Lisa’s resume includes four romantic suspense novels written as Alicia Scott, the FBI profiler series featuring the Quincy family, four standalone thrillers, and seven novels and a novella in the Detective D.D. Warren series. THE NEIGHBOR was honored by ITW with the Thriller Award for Best Hardcover Novel and the Grand Prix des Lectrices de Elle, Prix du Policier in France. THE OTHER DAUGHTER received the Daphne du Maurier Award from Romance Writers of America in 2000. Four of her books have been made into films.
FEAR NOTHING, her new release, again stars D.D. Warren, this time in a harrowing story that tests her both mentally and physically. Responding to a crime scene, D.D. is shot and seriously wounded. She can’t move her left arm or lift her new baby, and she has no memory of what happened to her. She’s not even capable of loading her gun. Returning to work is out of the question. But D.D. is the only person who might identify the serial murderer known as the Rose Killer, and now he’s targeting her. Struggling with her limitations, she has to put aside her fears and take him down before he destroys her.
Recently Lisa answered a few questions about her new book and her life as a writer and a reader.
The world around us offers plenty of material for plots, but the trick is finding something that will keep you excited and involved throughout the writing of a novel. What element in FEAR NOTHING fascinated you most and made you eager to get back to the writing every day?
FEAR NOTHING features Dr. Adeline Glen, a pain therapist who, due to a rare genetic condition, can’t feel pain. In the beginning, her experiences really drove the novel for me; what would it be like to never feel pain? Sounds like such a good thing, but is it? Then, I confess, her sister, Shana, who is a born psychopath moldering away in prison for multiple murders, really started to steal the show. Shana claims to want to help her younger sis, and Adeline is definitely vulnerable to Shana’s outreach, even as the doctor in her knows her sister’s psychosis makes genuine bonding impossible. That dynamic between the sisters, what they want most, what they fear most, made the rest of the novel for me.
D.D. is incapacitated in this book by physical injuries and memory loss. How did you capture the frustration and anger that comes when a strong person is weakened? Have you ever been through anything like that yourself?
As someone who suffered a chronic back injury in my early thirties, I’ve done my fair share of raging against the world. Wastes a lot of energy, frankly. Problem solvers accept, analyze and readjust. Some of my favorite scenes in FEAR NOTHING are D.D. realizing that pain is her friend, her weakened body is not her enemy and yes, she really can deal with this. That’s what makes her tough.
D.D. has a baby now, which raises the stakes for her in every way. What made you decide to give this independent woman a baby to think about? How does the child complicate her life and work—and enrich both?
I love messing with D.D.’s personal life, because on the professional front, you know she can handle almost anything. This is a detective who’s not even on the job, but still on the hunt for a killer. Her husband and child challenge her, but also soften her. Without them, she’d be one-dimensional and she knows it. In FEAR NOTHING, she suffers a brutal attack at a crime scene. This not only renders her incapacitated as a detective, but as a mom. Basically, in thirty seconds or less, her job took away the ability for her to take care of her own child. For anyone that would be sobering. For a workaholic like D.D. Warren, it’s almost incomprehensible. True strength is overcoming your own weaknesses. Let’s just say that in FEAR NOTHING, D.D. is forced to dig deep.
How do you find a balance between the demands of family, writing, and promotion? Are you doing less in-person promotion these days and more social media?
Two things make me very happy in life. One, hanging out with my incredibly crazy family. Two, writing books. Given that, I definitely don’t go overboard with in-person promotions. But I am available online, via Facebook.com/LisaGardnerBks, Twitter @LisaGardnerBks, and LisaGardner.com. I rarely post about what I eat for breakfast, but every now and then I do have something to say. Oh, and I like to recommend books. As an avid reader I’m all about sharing (and hearing from others) great books to read.
Do you plan to write about the Quincy family again at some point? Will we see Bobby Dodge again in a future book?
Yes, and yes. How, when, and where, I have no idea. But yes.
Who are your favorite writers—the ones you read for pure pleasure?
Reading Joe Finder’s May 2014 release now, SUSPICION. Love it! For my personal bookshelf, I always purchase the latest hardcovers from Karin Slaughter, Tess Gerritsen, M.J. Rose, Lee Child, and Mark Sullivan. Also just read a great debut novel, NORTH OF BOSTON by Elisabeth Elo. Great character. I look forward to more in the series.
Lisa Gardner is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of fifteen previous novels, including her most recent, TOUCH & GO. Her Detective D. D. Warren novels include CATCH ME, LOVE YOU MORE, and THE NEIGHBOR, which won the International Thriller of the Year Award. She lives with her family in New England.
To learn more about Lisa, please visit her website.