We are delighted to have award-winning author and lawyer Stephanie Kane visiting us today! Read on for a lively discussion between Stephanie and her heroine Lily Sparks.
In between murders, I thought it’d be nice to touch base with my heroine, Denver Art Museum’s Conservator of Paintings, Lily Sparks. Lily solves art-based crimes by using her so-called perfect eye, a talent her widowed dad cultivated in her from the time she was a child.
In Lily’s first outing, A Perfect Eye, she recognized the grisly slaying of the museum’s chief benefactor as the human embodiment of a prized landscape by famed Impressionist Gustave Caillebotte. When I caught up with Lily, she was fresh off her second adventure, Automat, scheduled to be released this fall. The unedited transcript of our phone call follows.
Me: Thanks for returning my call, Lily.
Lily: No problem. Sorry it took so long.
Me: I won’t take too much of your time. I wanted to ask—
Lily: Are you recording this call?
Me: Well, I—
Lily: I’m switching my recorder on too.
Me: I forgot you’d been a lawyer. As we’re set to embark on our third adventure, I wondered how you felt about the last two.
Lily (laughs): You’re finally offering hazard pay?
Me: Talk to the museum, Lily. Sorry about the scar, but as I recall, your injuries in A Perfect Eye occurred in the conservation lab. Now, in Automat—
Lily: Oh, let’s not give away the plot! It involves mid-century realist Edward Hopper, so it’s a kinky thing about that stony blonde he kept painting over and over again. Speaking of kinky, I’m not cool with how you’ve made me look at art. You should probably talk to somebody about that. And when do I go back to my day job as a conservator? Not that a painting can ever be just—a painting.
Me: The next story doesn’t have a painting. But books are a collaboration, and surely you’ve gotten something out of this.
Lily: Well, I did hook up again with Paul.
Me: And he’s staying in the picture, so to speak. (nervous chuckle) So… as we’re getting ready for—
Lily: You want more conflict.
Me: Um… yes. Who do you have a beef with, besides assorted killers and your colleagues at the museum?
Lily: I’m glad you asked! Margo and I were just talking about that. She’s still at the old law firm, you know. Is there some reason you left her out of Automat?
Me: The story’s a ticking clock, there wasn’t time for dinner at the bistro.
Lily: Hmm. Well, speaking of beefs, I do have a few.
Me (pulling out legal pad and pen): Shoot.
Lily: Why won’t you ever let me finish a sentence?
S: Well, I—
L: —or have sex on the page. No wonder Paul’s frustrated!
S: But I don’t get to do that either.
L: So we, your creations, should suffer? And by the way, I get that bit about not describing myself unless I’m looking in a mirror. But just because you’re going grey doesn’t mean I need a touch-up.
Me (scribbling madly): Fine. Got it: dialogue, sex, hair…
L: And frankly I’m more social than you are—thank God! How about a couple of age-appropriate friends?
Me: Besides Margo? But the pacing…
L: And it’s time Paul and I quit playing house and actually lived together.
Me (sighing): After Hopper, I swear. Anything else?
Lily: On hazard pay—think collective bargaining. I’ve been talking to the rest of the guys, and Margo said she’d represent us for free. And you better put her in the next book.
Me (mumbling): Time for another car accident.
Me: Nothing. Final words?
Lily: What’s the next story?
Me: Crime-scene dioramas.
Lily: Hmmn…. I may stick around. This could actually be fun.
Stephanie Kane is a lawyer and award-winning author of four crime novels. Born in Brooklyn, she came to Colorado as a freshman at CU. She owned and ran a karate studio in Boulder and is a second-degree black belt. After graduating from law school, she was a corporate partner at a top Denver law firm before becoming a criminal defense attorney. She has lectured on money laundering and white collar crime in Eastern Europe, and given workshops throughout the country on writing technique. She lives in Denver with her husband and two black cats.
Extreme Indifference and Seeds of Doubt won a Colorado Book Award for Mystery and two Colorado Authors League Awards for Genre Fiction. She belongs to Mystery Writers of America, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and the Colorado Authors League.
COLD CASE STORY BLOG: writerkane.com/blog