Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lisa Lutz, The Spellman Files


While I was on vacation, this book arrived on my doorstep. Our neighbor who was pet sitting, let my Great Dane, Lola, roam around the house where she found The Spellman Files looking irresistible on the kitchen table. Lola, being enormous, only had to rest her chin on the table in order to get this tasty treat (still in the packaging) for a mid afternoon snack. I returned home to this delightful novel minus about an inch of the spine. The side of the book has been nibbled but thank goodness not a page was missing!

I loved The Spellman Files from page one, it's a mystery and a comedy. You will laugh out loud in parts, her descriptions are so real. I totally get her humor- Lisa and I could be best friends because we would laugh and laugh. When I say this book is quirky, I mean it as a compliment. I love quirky and humorous.

Here's the lowdown. I'm keeping it brief so that I remain vague and ambiguous: Isabel wants out of her family's PI firm. She is twenty- eight and still living at home, where nothing can be kept secret. Her parents and sassy fourteen- year old sister can listen in on conversations and track her comings and goings. Izzy has been working for her parents since she was twelve and just can't seem to leave. Just when she plans to quit working for her parents and move out, they ask her to crack one last case...

Check out Lisa's website here and The Spellman Files website which is awesome, here.



What were you doing last Tuesday night around eight p.m.?

If my memory serves me correctly, I was at my first book reading/signing ever. I was a nervous wreck. But it was also a lot of fun.


Your biography says that you are from Southern California. How evasive of you. Where exactly in Southern California are you from?

I’m really into being vague. I grew up in Los Angeles. That’s the city it says if you mail something to my childhood home. Considering how big LA is, it still seems evasive, I think.

The book is really funny, I chuckled, guffawed and giggled all the way through. Do you consider yourself to be a humorous person off paper? If we were to meet for drinks, would you have me rolling around, clutching my sides in a fit of laughter?

Thank you. That’s the compliment I crave the most. I’m not sure how funny I am, but people do seem to enjoy drinking with me. I’m more of an inside joke person. In fact, I see the humor in SPELLMAN as being about letting people into another world and in on the joke. It’s not the same as wit, which can exist without all that background.

How do you like to spend your time when you aren't writing?

I have NO IDEA. The day passes and I can’t for the life of me remember what I’ve done.


The Spellman Files is going to be made into a movie, you are living my dream. Not about the Spellman Files per se, but having my own book turned into a film. Who can you see playing Isabel, Uncle Ray or Rae? I adored the character of Rae, she was hilarious.

Other people think about this a lot more than I do. So I will say that at least four separate people have mentioned Zooey Deschanel to me as Isabel and I do think she’d be great. I think there are a lot of actresses that would be fantastic though. I think Uncle Ray would be the most fun to cast—Jeff Bridges, Alan Arkin, Bill Murray. Rae will be the hardest.


Did you ever document your ex-boyfriends parting lines like Isabel? What a great idea, if I had read this book twenty years ago, I would have begun journaling about all those exes and their lame excuses.

It’s not a habit of mine, but once after someone gave me a lengthy explanation for a “break-up” (that sounds more dramatic than it was), I reduced it to one simple line that I found very funny. That line is almost verbatim in the book.

Do you ever Google old boyfriends or classmates to see what, if anything, they are doing?

I Google everything and everyone.

Do you consider yourself successful? What does success mean to you- is it having a best selling novel, writing a screenplay that becomes a movie, having a family or lots of money in the bank?

I have always wanted one thing out of life. To make a living as a writer. I never even bothered being ambitious about anything else. So, yes. I do feel successful. I got precisely what I wanted. It was a long struggle and I feel like it would be really sad if I weren’t completely happy about it. And I’m freaking unbelievably happy.

Where was the last place you went on vacation?

It was last year. I took my first ever “family vacation” as an adult. My mom, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin and his wife all took a road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. It was the weirdest contrast ever. Sadly, after the decadence of Vegas, everyone started whining about the hotel at the Grand Canyon, which was pretty much a glorified log cabin. Nature is great, but if you’ve had every whim catered to for the previous 72 hours, you’re kind of like, ‘eh, big hole in the ground.’ It’s terrible, I know. We should have done the trip backwards.

What can we look forward to in the next installation of The Spellman Files?

The second book is about obsession. I know, I’m being evasive again.



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