A Crazy (?) Way To Tell Stories

Writing a novel together was second nature for the three sisters who created their own Nancy Drew mysteries as kids. “We live very different lives,” Kari says. “What brings us together is a voracious love of mystery, a wicked sense of humor, and the thrill of victory.”

Kari lives at the foothills of Mt. Rainier and loves hiking, stand-up comedy, and the Blues. She’s written a column for a local paper as well as numerous plays and children’s stories. She’s a mean baker and a bit like Cat’s crazy Mama. Her canolli will drop you to your knees.

Julianne is the youngest of the six Larsen girls and spoiled as God intended. She teaches classes in organic gardening and is a gifted artist and poet. She lives on a farm with her horses, her beagle, and more four legged children than any person with good sense. Like Cat, she prefers jeans and a sweater but she cleans up nice.

Kristen is a gifted writer, weaver and actress and has appeared in plays off off Broadway. Her eyes are green like Cat’s and she’s a shoe-in for the role in the blockbuster movie to come. She lives in the Chicago area and was recently spotted dancing in Bridgeport with Chance Savino. Kristen’s shitzu, Buster, and Cat DeLuca’s beagle, Inga, are rumored to be dating.

Sisters Kari, Julianne, and Kristen write under the pen name, K.J. Larsen. A second book in the Cat DeLuca series, Sticks And Stones, will be released in August 2011.

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Two years ago three sisters, with no better sense, became accidental writers. We began writing on a whim.  We had no vision or outline. We weren’t familiar with words like protagonist, character development, or literary agent.  We’re voracious readers but we’d never been to a book signing.  In short, we were clueless.

What we had was an idea.  We had Cat DeLuca, a woman with a lying cheating ex-husband.  We had her Pants On Fire Detective Agency. And we had Skype.

Each morning we’d stumble out of bed, get our coffee, and go on Skype.  Blurry eyed and in our pj’s, we’d ask the question: What does Cat DeLuca do today?

Cat always made us laugh.  She bumbled into a murder, a smoking hot diamond smuggler, an arms dealer, and a car bomb.  At the end of the story, each sister thought someone else committed the murder.  It was crazy, outrageous fun.  There was bloodshed among sisters.  But there were always bandages.

People write for different reasons.  Writing is more fun than therapy and a helluva lot cheaper.  We sisters write to play.  For a little time each day we get to be in that space we lose when we become adults.  We’re kids again recreating our Nancy Drew adventures.  We never take ourselves too seriously.  And we write for the joy of being together.

Cat DeLuca is about joy and crazy and family.  People say Cat makes them laugh out loud.  She makes us laugh until our sides hurt.

Everyone has a story to tell.  At signings, I like to ask readers what kind of book they would write.  Most people have a ready answer.  I suggest they team-up with a couple siblings or friends.  If you write in a team, you only have to be 1/3 as smart as a real writer.  Do the math.

Here are some things I’ve learned about team writing.

Your teammates will almost certainly hate some of your ideas.  Screaming is childish and may not change their minds.  You won’t know until you try.

Before you commit to a team, imagine you’re stranded in an elevator together for twelve god-awful hours.  If you can’t possibly do this without killing someone or slitting your own throat, run for the hills.

Learn to compromise.  A little give and take is good for the soul.

Trust each other’s muse.  What you create together is larger than what any one of you can create alone.

And always make it fun.

Kari Larsen

Three sisters, Julianne, Kristen, and Kari Larsen are co-authors of Liar Liar, released September 2010.  Their second Cat DeLuca mystery, Sticks And Stones will be available August 2011.

http://www.kjlarsenauthor.com/