At Silent Book Club, we love hearing about what people are reading. Recently we chatted with Katy Leen, a longtime SBC supporter and the author of the Lora Weaver mysteries. Her third book, The Ménage à Trois: A Lora Weaver Mystery (Lora Weaver Mysteries Book 3) releases today.
Katy coined the term "Blanc" mystery to describe her series of light, upbeat capers that explore themes of moral justice, blind faith, and loyal determination with soft-boiled heroines who have curvy exteriors and steadfast interiors—and male counterparts who lure them in with their lustful ways. It's Katy's twist on Noir mysteries because she believes while Noir may be classic, Blanc definitely has more fun.
SBC: What are you currently reading, or what's the last great book you read?
Katy Leen: When I'm in writing mode, I can't read fiction so I go through a lot of non-fiction. At the moment, though, I've given myself a wee writing break so I'm blissfully reading whatever I want.
My most recent indulgence is What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Very interesting. It's about a woman who sustains memory loss and forgets the last ten years or so of her life. Bits and pieces come back to her over time, but meanwhile she has to face the life she has now with the self she was before. Love how the book explores how we grow through experience and become the people we do, yet also how sometimes that means we lose bits of ourselves that maybe we'd rather have kept. Of course, there's a lot more to the story, but I don't want to give too much away. :)
SBC: Do you have a favorite genre?
KL: Not really. It's stories that draw me not genre. Truth be told, often I wonder if people pick books or if books pick people. So many times when I finish a book, I feel it touched on a timely issue in my own life and offered helpful thoughts or perspectives. Like it came to me by kismet, making it the right book at the right time.
SBC: Yes! I love the idea that books pick people. I've definitely felt the same way with books that have crossed my path over the years. Partly because of this I find it impossible to pick a favorite book (or even narrow it to a top 5) since it changes so much depending on my stage of life. Do you have any all-time faves?
KL: I totally agree with you. I think I'm way too lucky a reader to have just one fave.
SBC: Are you a re-reader? Are there any books that you come back to again and again?
KL: Yup. I have a lot of books. So many that one of the things that drew me to my current home is that it has oodles of built-in bookshelves. All filled now with hardcovers that I do reread. Not to play favourites, but the Jane Austens do spend less time on the shelves than the others.
SBC: Print or e-books or both?
KL: Both. E-books are especially handy for hard-to-get books.
SBC: Were there any authors or specific books that inspired you to become a writer?
KL: Growing up, I was surrounded by books. My mom was an avid reader who never went anywhere without a book. Books literally flowed from her cupboards. Where other women kept shoes, my mom kept books. So I'd say although she wasn't a writer, she definitely instilled in me a love of story.
As for a specific book or author, when I was a kid I read a lot of Nancy Drew and The Three Investigators, and I write mysteries now so I have to give those early reads some credit. But really if any writer inspired me, it was Virginia Woolf with her A Room of One's Own.
SBC: What's the last book you gave as a gift?
KL: I give a lot of books. The two latest were The Nix by Nathan Hill and Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen because I like to mix things up as a gift giver. :)
SBC: What are three books you think everyone should read, and why?
KL: Probably I have a similar apprehension re "shoulds" as Carrie Bradshaw does, but there are definitely books that leave impressions on me and I like to share with others. Way more than three, so I'll just pick at random here.
For the basic tenets, I like The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. For writing inspiration, I got a lot from Writing a Woman's Life by Carolyn G. Heilbrun. And for its candor and grace, Colleen Saidman Yee's Yoga for Life.
Of course, what all these books have in common is that at their core they're about life journeys, which is what fascinates me most of all as a reader and a writer. In my own books, even though I write a series and much of each plot comes from the mystery, the soul comes from the characters and their journeys. Since my books also have a splash of romance, even better when those journeys intertwine. Super fun to write, but also it allows me to explore relationships and interconnectedness—the creamy filling in the Oreo of any life journey.
Overall, connection is a big thing for me as a writer and a reader. At their best, books offer a way to connect like no other. Which is why I find communities like the Silent Book Club that build on that connection so awesome. Big thanks to all for letting me pop by and share in the book love!
SBC: Congratualtions on your book release! We loved the first two books and can't wait to read this one.
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