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My Interview with Laura Benedict
Laura Benedict, author of Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts, agreed to answer some questions for me. With her permission, I share these answers with you. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.
What was your inspiration for this book?
I love a good demon story. When I was a preteen, I had a friend whose older sister was (probably) Wiccan. She just always claimed that her sister was a “witch.” My friend, ostensibly styling herself after her sister, frequently gathered several of us together to do made-up spells, play with the Ouija board (something I will never do again), and trek through graveyards. I’ve always wanted to put that part of my life into fiction.
Del, Alice, and Roxanne attended a Catholic school. Did you attend a Catholic school? If not, why did you choose to have them attend one?
I was raised in the Roman church, but I attended public schools. Romero’s position as a priest is critical to the plot. The girls needed to have frequent contact with him, and they wouldn’t have otherwise. It was also important that they know each other throughout their lives. That rarely happens now in public schools.
How did you choose the names for your characters? Did you choose the names based on what they meant? Why did you choose the name Varick?
Getting the names just right in a book is difficult. Roxanne came right away. It’s romantic and rather unusual. Alice came straight from Alice in Through the Looking Glass. Del had a completely different name for the first few weeks I was writing. She originally bore the name of a personal friend, but when I realized what would happen to her, I had to change it. I like Del as the shortened version of Delilah. Del sounds practical. She’s the character who is most like me.
Varick means “protector” and “ruler.” He’s hardly a protector in the novel, of course. I like that Varick sounds Eastern European and fierce.
Did you write the book in the order in which it was published? Or did the you write the book out of order, then put it together like you wanted it to be?
I wrote this novel in a fairly linear way. I worked on one story line for a few chapters, then went back and worked on another, and so on. I had absolutely no idea how it would end until all the story lines came together.
How did you come up with the title? Were there any other titles that you considered?
I don’t remember any other titles. Calling Mr. Lonely Hearts was pretty much there from the beginning. There’s a character in Hitchcock’s "Rear Window" whom Jimmy Stewart’s character calls Miss Lonely Hearts. He watches from his apartment as a man she brings home from a bar tries to assault her. Just like Miss Lonely Hearts, the girls get far more than they bargain for when they go looking for affection.
Are you writing another book right now? If so, can you tell us a bit about it? When do you expect it to be published?
I’m always working on at least one book. The one that will be available in a few weeks as an ebook is called Devil’s Oven. It’s a Gothic tale about a lonely mountain seamstress who believes she’s created the perfect man. When he escapes her control, he goes on a murderous rampage that terrorizes the county, and he can only be stopped by a woman who can’t possibly exist.
Another Gothic, Bliss House, in almost finished. I’m also planning a series that will be a little lighter in tone than my Gothic suspense/horror novels.
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