Recently, Shey Saints interviewed me for an author feature on HubPages (https://hubpages.com/literature/interview-with-author-lynn-slaughter). One of her questions was, “Which of your books do you relate to the most?” I talked about both While I Danced and Leisha’s Song because the protagonists’ struggles with parents who opposed their interest in pursuing careers in the performing arts mirrored my own.
However, as the one-year anniversary of the release of DEADLY SETUP approaches on July 5, I realize that DEADLY SETUP also ranks right up there as a work close to my heart and reflective of my own growing up experiences.
Living in a downtown apartment in Greenwich, Connecticut, I used to ride my bike to the nearby stationary shop where I’d spend my allowance buying a Baby Ruth while checking out the lurid headlines and stories featured in the movie fan magazines. I never forgot the one about Cheryl Crane, the teenaged daughter of Hollywood star Lana Turner, who stabbed her mother’s gangster boyfriend to death.
Years later, playing the “What If?” game with that story gave me the idea for DEADLY SETUP. What if a high school student goes on trial for killing her mother’s shady fiancé, and she’s determined to prove her innocence? This is what happens to my protagonist, Sam.
I’d always wanted to write a courtroom drama as I got to do in DEADLY SETUP, and that passion dates back to Saturday nights glued to our family TV for episodes of Perry Mason.
Then there’s Sam’s love of the American Songbook, jazz and popular twentieth century standards by composers like Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter. She’s a pianist and enjoyment of this music was passed down to her by a grandfather who played in the pit for Broadway musicals. Since my dad’s family was littered with jazz musicians, I too grew up listening to and loving this music.
Finally, Sam’s difficult relationship with her fabulously wealthy mother was inspired by the experiences of some of my friends. Growing up in ultra-wealthy Greenwich, I had several friends who lived in mansions and had every possible financial advantage, but who were emotionally neglected by their parents. In many ways, their stories inspired Sam’s, who more than anything wants to have a home, a place where she’s loved and wanted.
DDEADLY SETUP is a book with so many echoes from my past. I loved immersing myself in Sam’s world. It’s a thrill to celebrate the book’s one-year anniversary!