Today, I’ve decided to make a post that is a bit more personal in nature.  I think that we all have personal milestones in writing. They can range from tiny realizations to major life/career changing mind blows.

As most of you know I am the editor of New Zenith Magazine I’m constantly looking for authors, editors, agents, and publishers who don’t mind giving us an interview geared towards writing, its process, and making a career of it. Recently I contacted Lisa Scottoline on the advice of a few writers, an editor, and some of her fans.

When I contact an author, I start to prepare for an interview even though they may never contact me, much less agree to an interview. In case you are wondering I haven’t heard from Lisa yet.  I’m not giving up though since I only contacted her a week or so ago and my server had some email troubles. She’s also a very busy woman.

Back to the main point. To prepare, I visit the writer’s website, read articles, previous interviews, and of course I, read some of their books to get an idea of their style and who they are.

I had never read any of her books before. I started with “Every Where That Mary Went” Which is her first book. I have since, in less than two weeks, devoured almost every one of the “Rosato and Associates” books and a few of her other books. I’m no worse for wear except for being a bit tired.

Here is what I learned.
#1 If, I never even sniff that interview, it will be Ok. It was all worth it, because for the last two weeks I’ve lived in another world. I find myself wanting to be a lawyer in a all woman law firm. I’ve never read so many books in such a short period. I haven’t read this many books since I discovered David Baldacci.

#2 Reading Lisa Scottoline will make you a better writer. She is a master at creating characters you love like your own family. Her description strikes the perfect balance. If you want to learn how to weave description into your narrative without large blocks of clunky descriptive   text that rip a reader out of the narrative, then read her books. I love Tolkien (Don’t Flame Me For This! I mean The Hobbit has been just about my favorite book since I could read at the age of five)…  but He could have taken a lesson from Lisa about economy of description. I am never ripped from the mind of the character, yet, if I had any artistic talent I could paint flawless portraits of Mary, Judy, and Bennie.

#3 Lisa has the most genuine acknowledgements I’ve ever read. Once she says in her book “Moment of Truth”, “It takes a village to raise an author”. I believe her 100%. Authors rely on their family, friends, colleagues, and their idols. These people form and temper an author. If ever, I ever have a major book published I will remember Lisa and I hope to be at least half as kind, humble, and fun-loving as she seems to be, in her acknowledgements.

I hope that Lisa will someday grant our small magazine an interview, but even if she doesn’t I’ll thank her anyway for a very memorable span of reading. I can see now why my friend at karate raves about her and why she came so highly recommended. I advise my writers to sit down and read their favorite authors before starting to write to give them a sense of the style they are going for and as a reminder of what works in writing. Add Lisa to your shelf. Lisa is just another reason to love the City of Philadelphia. I’m glad to live in Southeastern Pennsylvania.


Michelle Irby

NZM Owner/Acquisitions Editor