Lisa Scottoline started last night's program on as good a note as a speaker possibly could: She gave everybody who walked through the door a hard-covered copy of her newest novel, Think Twice, a thriller with gunplay, chase scenes, bad girls, and a gooey center. A 372-page tome, her 18th, with a sticker price of $26.99. Personalized autographs and hugs at no additional cost.
Free books are a remarkable first for the Authors! Authors! series that's brought nearly 100 writers to town over 16 years. For Ms. Scottoline (scott-a-LEE-nee), it's a gesture of appreciation to those with whom she seeks to connect.
"I'm 54, and I've finally understood the most important words are 'Thank you,'•" she said, addressing about 250 in the Stranahan Theater.
Petite with a mane of blond hair, Ms. Scottoline strode the stage, delivering a rollicking talk. They heard her take on America's changing views of the law and its relation to justice (she's an attorney), events that fueled themes in her stories, and theories on the relationship between writer and reader: Both, she figures, contribute about 50 percent to the book.
"The book is a connection of the imaginations," she said. A reader once discussed with her a recurring character, Bennie Rosato, mentioning the character's perfume. Ms. Scottoline didn't recall writing about Rosato's perfume.
"Then I realized something very interesting was going on, and how much imagination the reader brings to a book." She tries to underwrite a little "and your heart and your soul will fill it in."
Ms. Scottoline talks fast, her words clipped with a Phillie accent. She's a favorite of book clubs and has a top-notch Web site (scottoline.com).
She generated belly laughs with self-deprecating humor, mocking her own dyed tresses and dark roots, being middle-aged, and her single status. Referring to a sex scene in the new book, she said wryly, "I wrote it from memory."
Her aim is to imbue her stories with emotional truth. She noted what filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola said: Nothing in his movies ever actually happened, and all of it is true.
Authors! Authors! is cosponsored by The Blade and the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
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