From the Booking Desk:

There was no Composite Sketch last week because of Bouchercon – the International crime fiction convention. The plan is to skip only Bouchercon week and Malice Domestic week for this feature, so that will give us all 50 Composite Sketches each year. I know that thrills you all as much as it does me.

It’s only appropriate then that this week’s Composite Sketch comes to us from an author whom I first met at Bouchercon. Laura McHugh attended the BOLO Books soiree last year in New Orleans and one would be hard-pressed to find a nicer human being on the planet. She has written some amazing, critically-acclaimed crime novels; her smile is infectious; and she is incredibly supportive of her fellow writers. You are in for a treat with this week’s answers.  Enjoy!

Name: Laura McHugh        
Location: Columbia, Missouri

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

My mom. She was always a talented artist and a voracious reader, but she never got to spend time on creative pursuits, because she was busy raising eight children and working crappy jobs at Waffle House and Wendy’s to keep us afloat. I didn’t realize until I was older how much of herself she had sacrificed for our family. She started night school in her fifties while waiting tables full-time, and we were all stunned to see the beautiful drawings she produced in an art class. It wasn’t until many years later, after my father passed away and my mother retired, that she finally gave herself permission to devote time to painting, drawing, and writing. She reads more than anyone I know (mostly mysteries), and I credit her with my love of books, because even though we were very poor, and she was very tired, she made time to read to me. She taught me that it’s never too late to start following your dreams.

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

It’s tough to choose just one, because the crime fiction community is full of kind, brilliant, and supportive people, from writers to booksellers to readers to bloggers. Laura Lippman was one of my favorite authors years before I knew anything about this community, and years before I would write a novel of my own. I was so excited to meet her in person for the first time at a Bouchercon signing, and when she glanced at my nametag to check the spelling of my name, she was like “I know you!” and congratulated me on things that were happening with my book. I told her I loved her and started crying, which I should probably be embarrassed about, but I’m sure she’s used to that kind of thing! She’s so smart and down-to-earth and willing to help others, and to my unending delight, she manages to crank out a spectacular book every year.

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

For a long time, I desperately wanted to be best friends with Trixie Belden.

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

David Boreanaz. Bones is great, and Angel, but this goes way back to his days on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my all-time favorite shows. I have every season on DVD.

My personal catch phase is (or should be):

“It could be worse.” My superpower is the ability to discern the worst possible outcome in any situation. If a friend is going on vacation, I’m like, have a great time, but please take lots of bug spray because there is a terrible outbreak of the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus in Belize.