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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

SPOLIGHT and Q&A: Two Girl Down by Louisa Luna @vintageanchor #LouisaLuna

Two Girls Down by
Louisa Luna

Excited to be spotlighting Two Girls Down today AND bring you a Q&A with the author herself!
The paperback has been out and available for purchase - so get on it! 😃

Publisher: Anchor Books
Paperback Publish Date: January 9, 2018
384 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

As addictive, cinematic, and binge-worthy a narrative as The Wire and The KillingTwo Girls Down introduces Louisa Luna as a thriller writer of immense talent and verve. 
When two young sisters disappear from a strip mall parking lot in a small Pennsylvania town, their devastated mother hires an enigmatic bounty hunter, Alice Vega, to help find the girls. Immediately shut out by a local police department already stretched thin by budget cuts and the growing OxyContin and meth epidemic, Vega enlists the help of a disgraced former cop, Max Caplan. Cap is a man trying to put the scandal of his past behind him and move on, but Vega needs his help to find the girls, and she will not be denied. 
With little to go on, Vega and Cap will go to extraordinary lengths to untangle a dangerous web of lies, false leads, and complex relationships to find the girls before time runs out, and they are gone forever.

Louisa Luna is the author of the novels Brave New GirlCrooked, and Serious As A Heart Attack. She was born and raised in the city of San Francisco and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter.

What does your writing process look like?  

It’s a weird one.  I have a day job (I’m an admin assistant at a financial company), so I write during the down time there.  Also on the subway if I get a seat.  Also at home on the weekends, and sometimes late at night. 

I like to think about a story quite a bit before diving in, and I truly believe my subconscious is always working even when I’m not.  When I start a book, I usually have a midpoint in mind, and maybe some stepping stones along the way, but I never know the ending.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?

Circling back to the first question, it’s probably finding time and space to write.  I’ve read books about writing that say things like you should always write at the same time every day for at least an hour or something, and that’s just not realistic for my lifestyle.  I’ve made my schedule work for me, but ultimately, being able to just get up in the morning and sit down in a quiet room with a nice strong cup of coffee and write would be really nice.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

I talk to myself quite a bit.  Usually I do that while I’m writing dialogue for a scene, or I’m trying to work through the emotions of a character, so I will just walk the streets shaking my head and muttering.  Fortunately I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan, so no one notices.  You would really have to try to stand out to get people’s attention in NYC.  Not because people here are so crazy, just because everyone’s busy doing her own thing; they don’t have time to worry about a basic weirdo like me.

Is there a type of scene that's harder for you to write than others?

You know, there’s no one type of scene that’s harder for me, but there are some scenes that I hit, and for whatever reason, they take forever.  Usually these are taking place toward the beginning of the story, and I’m still feeling my way around in the dark trying to find the drive and the intricacies of the plot so those scenes can feel painful but the only way is to push through and write it out.  I usually end up changing these scenes quite a bit – during the draft process, I’m not quite sure why they’re there, but I know they need to be there, and their purposes become clear as I continue.

Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Both.  When you’re working, you have to be confident and believe it’s good enough to finish.  When you’re looking for an agent, you have to believe you’ll find one (I sent Two Girls Down to 57 agents before I found my current agent, who is my dream agent, by the way).

But when you’re revising, you need to listen and trust your readers and your editors.  There are, of course, exceptions, and you don’t want too many cooks in the kitchen that is your revision/editing process, but it never hurts to be humble.  I wish I had been more so in my early career.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?

I’ve finished the sequel to Two Girls Down.  It’s called The Janes, and it should be out in about a year.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?

Sometimes I read them.  The bad ones don’t bother me anymore; I think they did at one point.  I guess now I’m just thankful to be in the game at all, so as long as I can make some money by writing books, I feel like it’s a win.

I would never respond to a reviewer directly.  I’d funnel that energy, good or bad, into writing new work.

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it? (and yes, I meant reader's) :D

Well, this is an intriguing question.  Sometimes I will read a book that everyone says is just great, and I start it and think, what am I missing here.  And I will try and try to get through it and read like a paragraph a day and slug my way to the end.  So when I was younger I would make myself finish every book I started, but as I got older I got to the point where I was like, who has the time?  I think there are some tough reads that end up being quite rewarding, so it can be difficult to discern.

But I think my solution would be if you can’t get through a book, put that shit down and re-read one of your favorites, one that you’ve read ten times with the spine peeling off and the gum or coffee stain or mold on the cover.  Read that one again, and then go back to the toughie and give it one more try, and if you still can’t get through it and if you don’t have to read it for a review or an assignment, then don’t.  File it away in the “Life’s too short” stack.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?

The best writing advice I ever heard was in a lecture from the writer, Andre Dubus III, at a conference in 2012.  What resonated the most with me was a story he told about writing House of Sand and Fog, when the character, Kathy, runs across the street and steps on a nail.  He said while writing it he had a little argument with himself:  “Come on, if she steps on the nail, then I have to make her foot hurt in every subsequent scene; I have to have it bleeding and smelling; it will be a pain in the ass to write.”  But he knew that was the story; that was the truth of the story, and it had to happen.  He had to let her step on the nail.  So I have been trying to let my characters step on the nails ever since. 

What's the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?

My daughter, who’s 8, and I were playing a game where we were making faces like different emojis and trying to guess what the other person was doing, and I did what I thought was a perfect laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying face, and she was like, “What is that?  You look like a sad coyote.”
She just cracks me up.

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