Thursday, July 29, 2010

9mm interview: Faye Kellerman

Welcome to the latest instalment in Crime Watch's ongoing series of quickfire author interviews; 9mm - 9 MurderMystery questions put to a variety of New Zealand and international crime, thriller, and mystery authors. I hope you're enjoying the series. Thanks to all of the authors who've generously given their time, allowing us to have such a magnificent and ever-expanding line-up of fantastic participants.

Thanks also to all of you Crime Watch readers who took the time to place some feedback about the series as a whole. Feel free to place more comments and give more suggestions - I'm always open to hearing what the readers of this blog want to read about.

For the 26th instalment in the 9mm series, Crime Watch is featuring popular international bestseller Faye Kellerman, matriarch of the high-achieving Kellerman family of writers, and creator of a series starring Jewish couple Peter Decker and Rina Lazarus. Faye Kellerman debuted back in 1986 with THE RITUAL BATH, which won the Macavity Award for the Best First Novel from the Mystery Readers of America. There have been another 17 books in the Decker/Lazarus series since, along with several other standalone novels (including two co-written with her husband, fellow bestseller Jonathan Kellerman).

Faye is also the mother of authors Jesse Kellerman (SUNSTROKE, THE EXECUTOR etc) and Aliza Kellerman (PRISM). What a remarkable family! I was fortunate enough to interview both Faye and Jonathan (by phone from their LA home) late last year for an article that appeared in the February 2010 issue of Good Reading magazine. Despite their massive success and remarkable achievements, both were completely down-to-earth, generous with their time, laughed easily, and were a lot of fun to chat to. I could feel a real passion for books, writing, and life in general, coming down the phone line.

Hopefully we will see Faye (and perhaps some of the rest of her family too) back down here in New Zealand for a tour at some stage in the future - it has been a while since she has visited. But for now, Faye Kellerman stares down the barrel of 9mm.

The Crime Watch 9mm Author Interview: Faye Kellerman

Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?Besides Alex Delaware who is my absolute favorite I love Sue Grafton's Kinsey Milhone and James Lee Burke – Dave Robicheaux

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?The first book I remember reading as a very young child was Blueberries for Sal - A picture book that I now read to my granddaughter.

The first real book I remember reading were the Laura Ingalls Wilder series – Little House in the Big Woods.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything;) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?I was a math major and have a DDS in Dentistry. Writing came later.

Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I love to garden. Growing things is great because it takes time, effort and patience – but not too much patience especially if you do starts. I also love puzzles and I love to go hear live music. Lately, Jonathan and I have began with formal dance lessons. We both really enjoy that.

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
LA has some great gardens . Things are always in season here and it’s well worth the visit to check them out. We also have wonderful canyons and mountain hiking trails. And of course, we have the Pacific Ocean. We also have the typical bars and clubs for more of a night life.

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
No one. And that’s the honest truth. I’m not much of a movie person to begin with. I do like the smaller or independent movie. We’re in Santa Fe at current and the city has two independent movies theaters. They always play interesting stuff. Sometimes it’s terrible, but more often the films are different and thought provoking.

Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
I honestly don’t have a favorite. It’s like asking which of your children do you like the most.

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication? Or when you first saw your debut story in book form on a bookseller’s shelf?Golly, that was a long time ago,. I don’t even remember exactly what we did, but I will tell you that when I’m done with a book, I still get a charge out of it. The commercial part is nice but it is very much associated with work and stock signings. My favorite thing is fan feedback. I appreciate each and every one who enjoys my books.

What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
Usually they’re really pretty straight-forward. The fans are just great, God bless each and every one of them. I do remember a signing I had at a fan festival in Germany. Beforehand they had a trivia quiz on my books. The people who played the game knew WAY more about my books than I did. It was weird having a jeopardy of things you made up.

I also remember speaking in Dallas, having to hurry things along because a massive storm was about to hit. I also remember being driven in a tropical storm/hurricane where there were just sheets of rain banging down at the windshield of the car. You could not see an inch in front of you. The driver was completely stoic.

Thank you Faye Kellerman. We appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.


So what do you think of this 9mm interview? Have you read Faye Kellerman's Decker and Lazarus series? Or any of her (or her husband, son, or daughter's) other novels? What do you think? Do you enjoy the way she weaves her Jewish culture into her crime tales? What do you think of a family of four successful writers? Please share your thoughts...


  1. Craig - What an interesting interview! Thanks for sharing it. I wasn't aware that Faye Kellerman had trained as a dentist. It's also really interesting that she was an early devotee of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books; I was, too : ).

  2. Interesting that Faye Kellerman is another crime writer with a dental degree. Part of the Jewish immigrant experience is to have one or two generations full of dental and medical degrees. This allows the next generation to become writers and academics.
    Helene Tursten Swedish author of the Irene Huss series is also a dentist. She had to retire due to an arthritic condition.