Kathy: You have short stories published in two recently released anthologies, Buffalo Noir and Frozen Fairy Tales. How is writing a short story for an anthology different than writing a full length novel?
LR: Having a strict word count. When you only have 10,000 or 7,500 words to tell an entire story you have to make every word count and economize when you can. All the luscious descriptions and backstory get chopped when you are 900 words over.
Kathy: You and I are both from Buffalo and your contribution to Buffalo Noir is, of course, set in Buffalo. What makes Buffalo such a great setting and what must you include in a Buffalo story?
LR: The first two things people think of when they hear Buffalo are snow and chicken wings with the Bills as a close third. Snow was a big part of both stories, which is ironic this year since we've just set a record for fifty degree days in December and there is not a snowflake in sight! Wings takes on a whole new meaning in my story Buffalo Wings, since it is a fairy tale. The Buffalo Bills don't make an appearance in either story but there's always the next one!
Kathy: Are you a fan of fairy tales? The originals or the more modern takes on them?
LR: I love fairy tales, whether modern or classic. Good versus evil, beautiful princesses and dashing (or accidental) heroes never seem to go out of style.
Kathy: What first drew you to mysteries?
LR: Growing up I read Nancy Drew and Encyclopedia Brown books. I puzzled over how to solve the crime. When I got older and became a cop and then a detective myself, I found myself solving real life mysteries. Although watching CSI makes me cringe, I still love a great, well written mystery.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
LR: I'm actually working on my last draft (hopefully) of a young adult novel. It's taken me out of my comfort zone and I think that's a good thing. When you get stuck on one project or type of project for too long I think you need to cleanse your brain a little with something else. It's a little post apocalyptic but not dystopian. It's more about survival and love, no evil empires or dark futuristic societies. It takes place now and what would happen now, to a seventeen year old girl faced with her family's survival and breaking the bonds with her past. It's such a great genre to write in, to connect with that younger part of yourself.
Kathy: Tell us about your books.
Frozen Fairy Tales is exactly that. Fairy tales set in winter, both classic and contemporary. I love the log line on the back cover: Winter is not coming...winter is here. And in Buffalo winter is almost always here. It just made sense to set my frozen fairy tale there.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LR: I really like my hero in the Frozen Fairy Tales anthology. He's an over educated, under employed hipster. He really tries his best and his heart is in the right place. He's the kind of guy you'd set your best friend up with and she'd dump him for being too nice. I'd love to bring him back again and see what other trouble he can get himself in to.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your stories?
LR: My story in Buffalo Noir was inspired by a newspaper article my mother in law brought me about a murder in 1938. It was so fascinating, I had to write my own take on it.
The fairy tale sprang from my own constant questioning of What If? There's a table made from an old door at a local bookstore and cafe, over the years I've sat at it and drank my coffee. What if there was something special about that table made from a door? Where was the knob and lock? Why is there never any cream when I want it? It's funny how such small things can turn into a story.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
LR: Luck? I've always been a writer but getting on the police department at twenty-two years old put a damper on my writing. Two years ago I was approached by Ed Park, the editor of Buffalo Noir, to submit a story. No one was more surprised when they offered to publish it than I was! Especially in the company of such greats as Joyce Carol Oates, Lawrence Block and S.J.Rozan. I retired from the Buffalo Police Department this past May and now have the time to devote myself to writing.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
LR: Stephen King for the ghost stories.
F. Scott Fitzgerald because I'd love to party roaring twenties style.
Agatha Christie because she was a fascinating person as well as an amazing author.
Walt Whitman because after a wonderful dinner full of great stories and good company, I imagine him tipping his hat, pulling on his overcoat and getting back to traveling the open road.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LR: For Whom the Bluebells Toll by Beverly Allen (almost done, so sad to go onto the last book in the series, I love her fictional town of Ramble) and Hercule Poirot's Christmas, because tis the season!
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
LR: I snap a lot of pictures so I fell into scrapbooking. I try to get together with my friends to do it. It's one of the few hobbies where you can gab and still get things done. I'm not very athletic so you'll never see me posting about going to the gym or working out. The only way I'm running now is if a zombie is chasing me.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
LR: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate and coffee. Did I mention the chocolate?
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books?
LR: I have plans for at least four different projects but I have to be realistic and finish the projects I am working on now. That's the great thing about being a retired cold case homicide detective, I will never run out of ideas for a good story.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
LR: I love meeting people, especially at the events I've gone to and talking to them about books. In this day and age I love finding people that still cherish the written word and appreciate good storytelling. When I was growing up authors were my rock stars. Other girls dreamed of meeting Bon Jovi and I dreamed of meeting Stephen King. I am so grateful to be able to share my stories with readers.
Lissa Redmond is a recently retired veteran of the Buffalo Police department. She spent her first five years on patrol before making detective in 1999. She then joined the Sex Offense Squad where she first started looking into the Bike Path Rapist, a serial killer who terrorized western NY for over twenty years. She was put on the Bike path rapist task force in 2007, which culminated in the arrest and conviction of Altemio Sanchez. The task force’s investigation also led to the exoneration of Anthony Capozzi, who spent twenty two years behind bars for crimes Sanchez committed. She then became a member of the Cold Case Homicide Unit, from which she retired. Her cases have been featured on Dateline, America’s most Wanted, the Nightmare Next Door and others.
Redmond is also the author of one accidently self-published book. Her short stories have been included in several local anthologies produced by the Dogears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center. Her short Story, Like Falling on Ice, is slated to be published in Akashic Books new anthology Buffalo Noir in November. She also content edits for writers on police procedure.
She is the wife of a Buffalo Homicide Detective, Dan Redmond and the mother of two girls, Natalie and Mary Grace, who prove to her daily that she is not as smart as she thinks she is.