You would be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the crime fiction community than Laurie L.A. Chandlar. Besides writing excellent and award-nominated historical mysteries, she is also a huge supporter of and champion for her fellow authors. I have had the pleasure of chatting with her poolside in San Diego and engaging with her around the halls of LCC, Malice, and Bouchercon. Never without a smile on her face, be sure to say hi the next time you are attending one of the mystery fiction conventions. You will come away a better person because of it. Now, let’s see how she tackles our standard Composite Sketch questions.

Name: L.A. Chandlar
Location: New York City

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration: 

I admire my mom for being an absolute hero during the tumultuous divorce with my father when I was eleven. It was just the two of us and we had to overcome many frightening situations that are too unbelievable for fiction. She taught me so much about self-respect and perseverance. I also deeply admire my husband. Though I had no plans on getting married until well into my forties, if ever, we met when we were teenagers and have been together ever since. He was the first person in my life who taught me about taking risks to put yourself out there for your art and how to tackle rejection to grow from it and make something beautiful. 

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

We write about Justice every day. We describe it, fight for it, give it literary flesh and blood. As I’ve thought about this question, the people I admire most in our community embody justice in real life as well. I could list fifty. Jeez, thanks a lot, Kristopher. For now, I deeply admire and appreciate Greg Herren, Kellye Garrett, Meg Gardiner, Anjili Babbar, Lori Rader Day, Alex Segura and James D.F. Hannah. (Ed. Note: all of these folks have been profiled in the composite sketch series, except for Meg-who I will be reaching out to.)

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

If we’re going old school, I’d absolutely stalk Ramses from Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series. And I’d also like to stalk Celia and Marco, the main characters in Erin Morgenstern’s THE NIGHT CIRCUS. I’m enamored with that book and just a bit in love with Marco and all of the magic. But most of all it’s all about Ramses. I wanted to be Nefret. If you know, you know. 

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

I love a lot of vintage things, as you can probably tell from my 1930s Art Deco Mystery series. And I do listen to a lot of jazz Greats like Cole Porter, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald not to mention the Rat Pack. But I also love rock and two surprising favorites might be Eminem and the Foo Fighters. 

My personal catch phrase is (or should be):

I’ve always been a fan of people who are rascally and those who go against expectations. My husband’s grandmother will make it into one of my books one day as she was always dishing out the unexpected. Even as an elderly woman she drank 7 & 7s all day, every day. She’d eat a chicken leg by putting the whole end in her mouth and when she pulled it back out, the bone was clean. And late in life her kids wanted her to finally quit smoking. She pretended to try. At a family reunion my father-in-law went over to say hi to her and nonchalantly said, “Mom. Your purse is on fire.” She’d tossed her forbidden lit cigarette into her pocket book. I love her! So along those lines, I love being rascally myself like when I stole my ex-boyfriend’s car and re-parked it on the other side of the Kohl’s parking lot for him to hunt down. I love to laugh and make friends. However, because I’m not a tall or large person and I smile a lot, I can be read as unassuming or that I can be easily taken advantage of, which is not the case. Women can be soft and strong (and funny!) at the same time. So the past few years my catch phrase has been Shakespeare’s, “Though she be but tiny, she is fierce.” Or as my best friend / husband likes to quote from Frida Kahlo and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Not fragile like a flower, fragile like a bomb.” LOL

You can find out more about Laurie L.A. Chandlar on her website.