Author Lisa Gardner to make High Point appearance

Sep. 03, 2013 @ 01:00 AM

Over the phone — and probably in person, too — best-selling author Lisa Gardner sounds too nice, too demure, to be the author of evil.
This can’t be the same woman who weaves suspenseful tales of diabolical murderers, sadistic serial killers and demented kidnappers, can it? She isn’t really the creative force behind such malevolence, is she?
It can be, and she is — and she makes no apologies for her evil bent.
“I love the psychology of crime,” Gardner says during an interview from her lakeside home in New Hampshire.
“I think we are all fascinated by the nature of evil, and I think each of my novels is an attempt to answer the question, what is evil? Is it nature or is it nurture? Can evil be made? Can evil be born? I think we have a deep-down evolutionary need to try to understand evil, because if we feel like we understand it, we’ll somehow be safer — we’ll recognize it.”
Gardner will be in town in conjunction with the Writers’ Police Academy, an annual event that gives writers a hands-on, interactive, educational experience that will enhance their understanding of law enforcement and forensics. The idea is to learn things that will make their crime-writing more realistic.
“I think research and this kind of hands-on experience is one of the most valuable things a writer can do,” says Gardner, who will be a keynote speaker at the sold-out event.
“It allows you to distinguish your story from the rest of the crowd. We all come at this with assumptions about law enforcement, about squeezing the trigger, but to actually go and do it, you get that extra little tidbit — what it sounds like, what it smells like.”
For Gardner’s latest thriller, for example, she was able to tour a state-of-the-art, maximum-security prison that was built but never put into use because funding ran out. In her novel, “Touch & Go,” a family is kidnapped from their home and taken to just such a facility, so Gardner’s tour paid off in her realistic descriptions of the prison.
“It’s always good to do some time in the field and find out some things you didn’t know,” Gardner says. “For an editor — and for a reader — those are the details that are going to make the book authentic and make it really shine.”
Gardner wrote her first book at age 17 and sold it at 20, but it wasn’t until she sold her first big thriller, “The Perfect Husband,” in 1997 that she was able to make the leap to fulltime writer.
Other Garner books include such titles as “Catch Me,” “Live To Tell,” “The Neighbor,” “Say Goodbye,” “Hide,” “Gone,” “The Third Victim” and “The Other Daughter,” among numerous others.
Four of her books have been adapted into made-for-TV movies.
Gardner points to a couple of things she believes have made her writing stand out — her research and attention to details, and her character development.
“In a field that’s so much about what is happening,” she says, “I think I do a good job of making you care about who it is happening to. There’s always room for strong characters.”
jtomlin@hpe.com | 888-3579

Want to go?

New York Times best-selling authors Terri Blackstock and Lisa Gardner will make public appearances this week at the High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., while in town for the Writers’ Police Academy.
Blackstock will speak and sign copies of her books at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Gardner will speak and sign copies of her books at 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
Both events will be held in the Morgan Community Room, located on the first floor of the library.
The events are free and open to the public, and no registration is required.