Lisa Gardner, renown writer of suspenseful thrillers and formerly writing as Alicia Scott, romance writer, has published 30 novels all told. Each of her thrillers can be read alone and are various series only because some of the same characters appear in each of the series book. There are no continuing books dependent on your reading any other.
Lisa was born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon where she graduated from high school. However, life has taken her far from Oregon. She now lives in New Hampshire.
She began her career in food service, which she eventually left after catching her hair on fire too many times. Really! She then concentrated on writing and admits she is a research junkie. Her work as a research analyst for an international consulting firm got her an avid interest in police procedure and cutting edge forensics. Her books published as Lisa Gardner are all about suspense and have won her various awards. Some have even been made into a movie for TV.
Lisa now lives in New Hampshire with her auto-racing husband, daughter and two pet canines and a cat. She spends her days writing in her loft.
Her Alicia Scott books, from Silhouette Intimate Moments, are entirely the opposite from her Lisa Gardner novels. They are romantic and what she calls as “the other side of Lisa Gardner.”
Lisa’s style of writing under her name, is more than a murder mystery. Her books have a psychological slant to them and are thought provoking, more complicated than the usual suspense novel.
Lisa says she has always loved to read and write. She says, “That geek in the back of Latin class who was working on a short story instead of listening to her teacher’s lecture – that was me!. One summer I decided to see if I could write a whole novel. I spent my days drafting a book and my nights working as a waitress. The results were one complete, albeit truly dreadful novel, plus shorter hair that I’d caught on fire twice serving an appetizer caller flaming saganaki.”
So, Lisa turned to writing for a living. She says, “I had the good fortune to sell my first book when I was 20. Granted, I worked on the book for three years and rewrote it four times, so it’s not quite an overnight success story.”
Lisa claims she doesn’t know where the plots come from. “I must have been dropped on my head a lot as a child.” She says that growing up she read Stephen King, John Saul, and V. C. Andrews.
Writing Routine. Lisa shares with us her usual routine. “I like to write first thing in the morning, armed with a giant mug of coffee and a cat to warm my lap. I’m always trying to get a certain number of scenes done each week. Sometimes that means writing a few hours a day. Sometimes that means writing ten hours a day. It depends on how fast the hamster is turning the wheel in my brain. I start with a general outline of each novel. The major plot points, key scenes, research that needs to be included into the story, etc. I change a lot as I write, however, so the end novel may bear little resemblance to my starting idea. Sometimes I come up with a better idea for a plot point or a plot twist, so I reorient the story to make the new and improved concept work. It usually takes me six months to draft a novel, then three months to polish it to a point where I decide it’s not horrible.”
“Whenever possible,” she tells us, “I try to interview professionals in the field. Personally, I don’t have a law enforcement background, so I generally start with a call to some poor detective who has the misfortune to pick up his phone. I’m honestly touched and amazed by the thorough assistance I’ve received. I’ve interviews FBI agents, ATF agents, state police, local police, corrections officers, etc. and every single one of them has taken significant time out of his or her day to answer my questions. They are very nice people doing very tough jobs.”
In her writing, she admits , “I am routinely inspired by true crime. The basis for “The Other Daughter” is the real life story of Ted Bundy, who fathered a child while on Death Row. That made me wonder what it would be like growing up as the child of a notorious serial killer. “The Third Victim,” of course, is based on the string of school shootings we’ve had in the U. S. That research was very sad for me, but I also needed to do it. Like most Americans, I wanted to understand what would drive kids to perform such heinous acts. Many of the answers surprised me.”
“A European producer optioned my first suspense novel, “The Perfect Husband,” which later came out as a TV movie called “Instinct to Kill.” (staring Mark Dacascos, it appeared in Germany which is much more liberal about nudity.) “My novel “The Survivors Club” was made into a CBS Movie of the Week starring Roma Downey. This aired in early 2004.” (This also starred Jacqueline Bisset and Lauren Lee Smith.) And in 2011 my novel “Hide” was aired on TNT television starring Carla Gugino, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Kevin Alejandro, and Bridget Regan. I was fortunate to be on the set for some scenes and loved seeing the process to transform my words into theater.”
Books that Have Inspired her. “I remember being 12-years-of-age and reading M. M. Kaye’s “The Far Pavillions.” I was completely enthralled by that novel. The way she made the setting, history, and characters come so richly alive. From the beautiful romance to the gritty battle scenes. I thought reading that book was one of the most intense experiences I’d ever had, Of course, I was Twelve. I still love that novel, however. I reread it every few years, and everty few years I’m enthralled mall over again. I also enjoy Stephen King, John Standford, Tami Hoag, Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Connolly, Harlan Coben, Amanda Quick, Susan Wiggs, and Iris Johansen.”
Writing “Crash and Burn,” her latest novel – “Each book is its own challenge,” she tells us. “It feels more comfortable now, and there’s less self-doubt, but I still expect the first one-hundred pages to be a pain in the ass.
With “Crash and Burn,” after she turned it in to her editor, she realized how about a third of the manuscript would have to be scrapped.
“I knew the book was somehow wrong and with my editor’s advice, I’d have to fix it.” she says. “But in doing so, it became a book that I am proud of. I don’t consider myself a great writer, but I’m a damn good rewriter.”
Here’s a very personal situation Lisa shares with us. “I’m really good at FreeCell. You know, the card game that comes with most computers. Every morning, I’d’ turn on my computer to write, and play roughly one hundred games of FreeCell instead. When I broke the five thousand mark, my husband deleted the game on my compter, plus all the back-up copies. Have I mentioned that he is a very smart man?”
Writing as Alicia Scott. Lisa Gardner wrote under the name of Alicia Scott at Silhouette Intimate Moments 13 times. She has retired that name now, writing under her real name. The Scott novels were romantic suspense novels and shorter. Now Lisa writes thrillers with a psychological twist to most and darker, deeper novels. There is less romance involved now, but always some.
The auto-racing. Lisa’s husband is a race car driver and Lisa sponsors a car which bares the name LisaGardner.com. She is part of the crew on weekends when the car competes on the East coast and in New England. Sometimes, a race car will have a picture of her latest book on the hood.
A Day in her life: On her web site Lisa gives a minute by minute accounting of a typical day. Usually, one of the dogs wakes her around 7 am to go out. Then there’s coffee and breakfast to make. By 8 am she is in her office She checks out the emails first. By the time she has finished all that and had a snack, then checked out the emails again, stopping for lunch, doing a game of FreeCall and sees how time has whizzed by with alarm. With only an hour left before she leaves for the gym she tries to get some writing done. She’s late for that date at the gym with a personal trainer. Home again around 5, she writes for hours before stopping for dinner. Tongue-in-cheek, this is how Lisa describes her day.
The books of Lisa Gardner and Alicia Scott:
- Walking After Midnight – as Alicia Scott – 1992.
- Shadow’s Flame – as Alicia Scott – 1994.
- Waking Nightmare – as Alicia Scott – 1994.
- At the Midnight Hour – as Alicia Scott – 1995.
- Hiding Jessica – as Alicia Scott – 1995.
- The Quiet One – as Alicia Scott – 1996.
- The One Worth Waiting For – as Alicia Scott – 1996.
- The One Who Almost Got Away – as Alicia Scott – 1996.
- Maggie’s Man – as Alicia Scott – 1997.
- Macnamara’s Woman – as Alicia Scott – 1997.
- Brandon’s Bride – as Alicia Scott – 1998.
- Partners in Crime – as Alicia Scott – 1998.
- The Perfect Husband – as Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler (Quincy) series – 1998.
- The Other Daughter – as Lisa Gardner – 1999.
- Marrying Mike – as Alicia Scott – 2000.
- The Third Victim – as Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler (Quincy) series – 2001.
- The Next Accident – as Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler (Quincy) series – 2001.
- The Survivor’s Club – as Lisa Gardner – 2002.
- The Killing Hour – as Lisa Gardner – 2003.
- Alone – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2005.
- Gone – as Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler (Quincy) series – 2006.
- Hide – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2007.
- Say Goodbye – as Lisa Gardner – FBI Profiler (Quincy) series – 2008.
- The Neighbor – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2009.
- Live to Tell – as Lisa Garner – Detective D.D, Warren series – 2010.
- Love You More – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2011.
- Catch Me – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2012.
- Touch and Go – as Lisa Gardner – 2013.
- Fear Nothing – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2014.
- Crash and Burn – as Lisa Gardner – 2015.
- Find Her – as Lisa Gardner – Detective D.D. Warren series – 2016.
Lisa Garner symbolizes a name you can count on. You know before reading the first page that this is going to be a well-written novel. Not many laughs in it, but a little romance and plenty of action. In other words – perfect! I haven’t read too many of her books, but keep wanting to. Below are the ones I’ve read that I can recommend to any and everybody.
“Fear Nothing” featured an injured D.D. Warren with a personal insight into the murder(s). It was extremely depressing and gripping.
“The Neighbor” was made into a motion picture with Ben Affleck in the lead. The story is strange, odd, and really hard to put down. Not sure I liked it, because of how strange it is, but it kept me reading to the end in record time. Could never have guessed the ending.
“Crash and Burn” is featured in this edition and you know I liked it. Again, it was a strange story, well told and I never guessed the ending.
Just be warned that none of her stories are simple or easy reads. All have psychological twists and turns to it. Yet each story challenges you to try and guess what will happen next and keep you glued to the story. Few others write like she does. Lisa Gardner is truly a one-of-her-kind. She’s unique.