Lori Duffy Foster is a former crime reporter who writes fiction and nonfiction from the hills of Northern Pennsylvania, where she lives with her husband and four children. She was born and raised in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, where a part of her heart remains.
A Dead Man’s Eyes, the first in the Lisa Jamison mystery/suspense series, is her debut novel. Look for book two in the series, Never Broken, in April of 2022. Her first standalone thriller, Never Let Go, releases in December of 2022. She is also author of Raising Identical Twins: The Unique Challenges and Joys of the Early Years which is available from Amazon.
Lori is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, The Historical Novel Society and Pennwriters. She is also vice president of the Knoxville (PA) Public Library board.
Describe a typical writing day for you.
I don’t think I have ever had a typical writing day, though I wish I did. Between kids, work and book promotion, I am easily distracted. I write when I can. Sometimes, that’s a few hours a day for several days in a row. Sometimes, it means not writing at all for a month or more, and then going away for a weekend to write for two days straight. I am always writing in my head though. Plots are formulating, characters are developing and growing. When I finally sit down to write, I am usually very productive.
Who are some of your favorite authors and/or books?
Oddly, most of my favorite authors do not write in the mystery genre. I have read most every book by John Irving, Anita Shreve, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Toni Morrison and Joshilyn Jackson. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford and Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson are two of my favorite books. I LOVED Defending Jacob by William Landay. That’s a mystery. I do enjoy mysteries and thrillers though. I usually alternate one mystery or thriller with one book from another genre.
What things influence your writing?
Human nature and my fascination with it. I always thought I would write literary novels because I am so intrigued by human behavior, by those factors that push us beyond our boundaries and tempt us to violate our own moral and social codes. But the more I wrote, the more I realized that crime is the perfect study of that. Most criminals do not start out as bad people. Some never become bad people, even after they kill. There are those who like to believe in a thick, solid line between good and bad, who feel safe because they place themselves on the good side, but that line doesn’t exist. We are all capable of serious crimes given the right conditions.
What do you want readers to experience when they read your work?
I want them to forget where they are and what they are doing while they are reading my books and I want them to take the characters with them when they close the books. A good book should be an immersive experience that sticks with you, that draws you back in days or weeks later. .
What kind of research do you conduct for your books?
All kinds! I never want to lose a reader because I was too lazy to look something up, make a phone call, or visit an area I am writing about. For Never Broken, I did a lot of research into sweatshops and human trafficking, including the trauma modern-day slaves endure as they try to reintegrate into society after being freed. There were lots of little things too, like how to melt aluminum, how Industrial Development Associations work, ways to smuggle goods in the United States from Canada. I am working on book three in series now, No Time to Breathe. For that book, I have recruited the owner of trucking company and a professional gambler as beta readers. My journalism background helps when it comes to research. I spent most of my career covering crime, but I also covered municipal government, education, the military, Native American affairs, the sport of running, all kinds of things. I know just enough to know what I don’t know and when I need help.
Describe a book that changed your life.
I can’t think of a book that actually changed my life, but E. Benjamin Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery, opened my eyes to all facets of human trafficking and was a big influence for my latest novel, Never Broken. Skinner is a journalist who infiltrated human trafficking networks in the U.S. and around the world, sometimes putting his own life at risk. At one point during his research, he was given the opportunity to buy a girl and keep her for $50. It is sickening and shocking. There is no turning away from the reality of modern-day slavery and the urgency to end it once you’ve read his book.
If your books were to made into films, who do you see in the major roles?
I can’t do that. My characters are so real in my head that it is hard to imagine anyone playing their roles. If ever I should get so lucky as to sell the film rights and see my books produced as films, I would have to leave the casting entirely up to the director. Of course, if the director picks the wrong people, then I will have something to say.
What book do you think everyone should read?
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. It’s the kind of book you keep thinking about years after you’ve finished it.
What book are you recommending right now?
Anything by Joshilyn Jackson. Her books defy genre, but they always have an element of crime. Her latest novel, Mother May I, is on my birthday wish list.
Lori’s books are available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. You can learn more about her at her website https://loriduffyfoster.com.