The series has grown to four novels, with stories ranging from the Southwest (Anacacho and Spa Deadly) to New York (Xs), to the most recent (Dark Lake) featuring her beloved Adirondacks. Her next Allie Armington mystery will be set on a cruise ship.
Her first Allie Armington Mystery, Anacacho, won the 2003 National Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Mystery/Suspense sponsored by Publisher’s Marketing Association in Los Angeles. The San Francisco Book Festival awarded Louise with best audio book in 2010 for Spa Deadly. And most recently Recipes from Camp Trillium won the Dan Poynter’s Global eBook Awards, in which Julia Fairchild and Spa Deadly were also finalists.
A world traveler, Louise divides her time between her homes in Houston; Santa Barbara, California; and Old Forge, New York in the Adirondacks.
Read an interview by Dark Lake author, Louise Gaylord:
How did you create Allie’s character?
LG: I served on a grand jury panel in Houston and the Assistant District Attorney was so lazy. I decided that a woman could do a much better job. Your mystery novels have brought us to the Southwest (Anacacho and Spa Deadly) to New York (Xs) and now with Dark Lake to the Adirondack Mountains, where you also spend a lot of time at your camp.
Why is the area so special to you?
LG: The first time I came up here I hated it. My husband’s brother said we were going to the club. A club to me meant a place for a dress and heels. They took us out to a camp with no electricity or running water for five days. It was quite a shock and I didn’t want to come back. But then I came back again and again and again, for over 40 years. It became my heart’s home. As a successful, award-winning mystery writer, you stepped out of the genre to work on a few other books, including Recipes from Camp Trillium.
What’s your favorite dish to stir up in the kitchen?
LG: Grandma Betsy’s Chicken. My mother put Lawry’s seasoning and Worchester sauce on everything. This made a nice, simple one-dish meal to serve all. To make it, you just need chicken, Worcestershire sauce and Lawry’s® Seasoned Salt. Then add any vegetable of your choice. Cut up potatoes, mushrooms, onions or red bell peppers, carrots, almost anything except greens. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Quarter the chicken or cut it into single-serving pieces. Place the chicken skin side up in an aluminum foil-lined pan. Throw the vegetables all around it. Douse it with Worcestershire sauce and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Bake that for 25 to 40 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Now it might be impossible, but if you had to choose one place from everywhere you have traveled or lived, where is the best food? Answer: I love Paris and I also really love Venice, but those are so obvious. You can’t beat Santa Barbara. They have many different kinds of fine restaurants – and lots of Italian. You studied art history in college after your grade-school teachers encouraged you to do something with your painting skills.
How has painting helped you write?
LG: I’m a very visual person. So I can imagine a scene as if I’m painting it and portray that in words on page. A lot of people who write also paint. I noticed though that I never had a problem dropping the paintbrush to go play tennis or golf. But once I start writing I can’t leave. Your mystery novels are known for having very unexpected twists and surprise endings.
How do you keep readers on their toes?
LG: I don’t outline so sometimes I even surprise myself! I really write to amuse myself. One of my writing instructors said I should have fun when writing. I have a friend who writes a chapter here and then a chapter there. I can’t do that. I write in a linear fashion. There is a fifth Allie Armington mystery in the works. Can you give us a sneak peek as to what we might find? Answer: Another murder! My husband and I took several cruises together, and I recently took my whole family on a cruise. It was so much fun, so I thought, “Why not? It’s still fresh in my mind.” This next book will be set on a cruise ship leaving Venice and going to Rome.
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