Friday, March 29, 2013

An Interview with Lisa Black

It's my pleasure today to welcome Lisa Black whose new book, Blunt Impact, is due out April 1. Thank you, Lisa, for taking time to answer questions.

Me - Lisa, I’m certainly familiar with the places you’ve lived, Cleveland, OH and Cape Coral, FL since I’m from northern Ohio and spent 18 years in Ft. Myers. But, I certainly don’t have your background. Would you tell my readers about your life of crime?

Lisa -I spent the first ten years of my professional existence as a secretary, then went back to school for a degree in Biology, specifically to go into forensic science. First I visited all the crime labs in the area, and then I just kept showing up at the Coroner’s Office in Cleveland until they gave me an internship. I was still working full time and using vacation time to go there three mornings a week (I had a very understanding boss at the day job!) and working for them for free for almost a year until a position opened up. I worked in the Trace Evidence department, which pretty much handled everything except drug analysis.  I analyzed DNA, blood, fibers, hairs, paint, clothing and gunshot residue. I loved it; pretty much every case was a homicide--if they weren’t dead, they didn’t come to us. From there I came to the police department in Florida, and about 95% of my job is sitting in front of a computer looking at fingerprints.

Me -   What made you decide to write crime novels?

Lisa - I always wrote crime novels, starting in grade school, putting my friends and myself into some intrigue I saw on Batman or Star Trek. They just got longer and longer over the years.

 Me - Would you tell us about Theresa MacLean, the protagonist in that series?

Lisa - She’s just like me, only stronger, faster, smarter and divorced. She works in the trace evidence department at the coroner’s office, has a cousin who is a homicide detective, and (unlike me) has a college-age daughter. 

Me - What’s happening with Theresa in Blunt Impact?

Lisa - In Blunt Impact Theresa is caught in the controversy surrounding a new county jail under construction. OSHA whistleblowers and missing money, criminal elements using the site for their own purposes and a homely but smart district attorney who becomes more interested in Theresa than the intrigue surround the forensic scientist and her new friend, a tough but endangered little girl named Anna—better known as Ghost.
                Ghost has a unique lifestyle, loved by her construction worker mother and disabled grandmother but constantly slipping out of her home to roam the back alleys of the large city, looking for the father whose identity has always been kept secret from her. Nothing all that bad ever happens—until she witnesses her mother’s murder, the beautiful young woman thrown from the 23rd floor. Ghost will not rest until she learns the truth, which means that Theresa cannot rest until Ghost is safe. 

Me - Authors are usually a year ahead of their publishing schedule. What are you working on now?

Lisa -  A book called That Darkness, about a vigilante and a missing-persons investigator who is closing in on him without realizing it.
Me -  Are you planning to continue to set your books in Cleveland, or are you joining the ranks of Florida crime writers?

Lisa - I think about it, but the problem is that there are so many books set in Florida already. Hardly any are set in Cleveland. But two of my ebooks are already set in Florida.

Me - What would you like to tell readers that I might have missed asking?

Lisa - That I have a website:, and I’m on Facebook. Not Twitter. I can barely keep up with Facebook, so I don’t attempt Twitter.

Me-I always ask authors this final question since I’m a librarian. Do you have a story you can tell us about a library?

Lisa - The library was my second home when I was a kid. It was right up the street from my grade school, so the big fun thing to do when I was a kid was to walk there after school.  My friend and I would scrape together a dime to call my mother and let her know the plan, then we’d walk to the library after school and hang out there until her mother got off work driving a school bus and parked it at the junior high across the street. Then after college, during the 10 years I spent as a secretary, the main branch of the Cleveland Public Library was a 10 minute walk from my office, and I had an hour commute each way by bus plus an hour for lunch. I decided to catch up on all the classics I hadn’t had to read in school. I read everything from Hawthorne to Phillip Roth. It was fantastic. I love that building so much I used it as part of the setting for Takeover, in which robbers have attacked the historic Federal Reserve, so the cops set up negotiations from the library across the street


Thank you so much, Lisa, for making time for this interview. Lisa has additional information below.

Blunt Impact will be available April 1, featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean and a series of murders surrounding a skyscraper under construction in downtown Cleveland. The first to die is young, sexy concrete worker Samantha, thrown from the 23rd floor. The only witness is her 11 year old daughter Anna, nicknamed Ghost. Ghost will stop at nothing to find her mother’s killer, and Theresa will stop at nothing to keep Ghost safe. 

Also, Kindle owners can find a bargain in my new book The Prague Project, written under the name Beth Cheylan. A death in West Virginia sends FBI agent Ellie Gardner and NYPD Counterterrorism Lieutenant Michael Stewart on a chase across Europe as they track stolen nukes and lost Nazi gold, hoping to avert the death of millions of people.

Lisa Black spent the five happiest years of her life in a morgue. As a forensic scientist in the Cleveland coroner’s office she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she’s a certified latent print examiner and CSI for the Cape Coral Police Department. Her books have been translated into six languages. Evidence of Murder reached the NYT mass market bestseller’s list.
          See her website at:


Jane R said...

What a great interview. I love to learn the background of an author and where the characters and stories have come from. Lisa's books sound terrific and her experiences certainly lend extra depth to her stories. Thanks for the introduction to a new (to me) author!

Carol N Wong said...

Loved finding about this author. Would have loved the morgue too. I used to watch operations with my father in the hospital. We were upstairs looking down through the window.

Lesa said...

It's always my pleasure to introduce blog readers to a "new to them" author. I'm glad Lisa was willing to answer a few questions. That's interesting, Carol, that you did that.

Karen C said...

Another new to me author that I just have to add to my TBR. Enjoyed the interview, too. Loved learning about Lisa's life experiences (sounds way more interesting than mine has been!).

Lesa said...

Great, Karen! I love to hear that you're adding to your TBR pile. I'm glad the interview was interesting. Thanks for reading!