Chick chat: An interview with Lisa Scottoline

To hear best-selling author Lisa Scottoline describe her life “as just books and dogs and cats,” doesn’t do it justice.

She’s funny. Hilarious, actually, and it’s not an act. And Scottoline will bring that humor to Williamsport when she comes to town as the featured author for the James V. Brown Library’s Author Gala on Oct. 24.

Although the event has been sold out for months – a fact that Scottoline attributed to people being bored that night since “Breaking Bad” is over – there’s still excitement in the community about her visit, as the library has a waiting list of people who still want to attend if there are any last-minute cancellations.

Scottoline enjoys visiting libraries because that’s where her heart is. “It’s such a worthy cause,” she said. “I owe a lot of my success to libraries.”

She said that at book signings for her “chick-lit” books, people end up asking her for family updates, because they know so much about her personal life.

“They say, ‘How’s your mother?’ or they ask about my other family members,” she said. “In this modern age, there are no questions because it’s out there on Facebook.”

And Scottoline enjoys using Facebook to connect with her fans. On her page she often posts adorable photos of her five dogs, her garden and whatever else she fancies. She enjoys reading what her fans comment about, too.

But on this day, there was excitement in Scottoline’s voice as she talked about her recently published book, “Accused,” which will be available Oct. 29, a few days after the library event.

“Yesterday I got a copy of it and when I went to put it on the shelf in my office I realized that it was my 25th book in 20 years,” she said. “When did that even happen?”

When asked how she kept up the pace to write so many books, while still publishing a weekly column with her daughter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, she said she was doing it without even knowing it.

“I don’t have a very busy personal life, either,” she joked.

Her goal in speaking at libraries is to change the way people think about them, which is why she’s also chair of PA Forward, an initiative through the Pennsylvania Library Association to show that libraries are not just book repositories and to highlight the real-life needs libraries serve in a community.

“We ask so much of libraries, and then we don’t want to fund them,” she said. “It’s all gimme, gimme, gimme.”

The next book she’s working on with her daughter, Francesca Serritella, is a humor book titled, “Have a Nice Guilt Trip.”

“My daughter thought of that title,” she said with a laugh. “What do you think that says?”

Scottoline’s trip to Williamsport will not be her first. She has spoken here before when she was a lawyer through the Luzerne County Bar Association. “At one time, that county chose one of my books as a countywide reading book,” she said. “It was a huge honor.”

As a lawyer, Scottoline had the first-hand knowledge for her Rosato and Associates series, which includes the books “Everywhere That Mary Went,” “Final Appeal” and “Running from the Law.” “Accused” will be her 14th book in that series.

She said libraries will always have a special place in her heart especially librarians, whom she said are always “so sweet.”

“The real truth of why I love libraries is that we only had one book in the house when I was growing up: TV Guide,” she said. “The library gave me my career. I read because it’s like oxygen, so I owe libraries big time.”

Because she supports libraries, Scottoline does not keep her speaking fee from any library appearances. “I don’t take that money, I use it to buy books to put in the community,” she said. Everyone who attends the Author Gala will receive a copy of “Don’t Go.”

“Don’t Go,” which has a male lead character, was a different novel for her to write.

“It was actually inspired by my bunion surgery,” she said. “I met the most interesting podiatrist and he told me that people make fun of podiatrists, which I couldn’t believe. Then I researched it and realized that he was right except for Army podiatrists. Those tend to handle wounds from IEDs.”

That led her to think about the role of the underdog, and, since she had previously written about mothers, she thought she could write something from a father’s perspective.

“It also was the 10-year anniversary of my father’s death, and I was very close with him,” she said. “It was very difficult for me to write, but I stayed with it.”

And while her stay in Williamsport will be brief the next morning she has to be on television in New York City she does enjoy coming here. “If I could do my whole calendar with libraries, I would,” she said.

Books by Lisa Scottoline:

“Everywhere That Mary Went” (1994)

“Final Appeal” (1995)

“Running From the Law” (1996)

“Legal Tender” (1997)

“Rough Justice”(1998)

“Mistaken Identity” (1999)

“Moment of Truth” (2000)

“The Vendetta Defense” (2001)

“Courting Trouble” (2002)

“Dead Ringer” (2003)

“Killer Smile” (2004)

“Devil’s Corner” (2005)

“Dirty Blonde” (2006)

“Daddy’s Girl” (2007)

“Look Again” (2009)

“Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog” (2009)

“Think Twice” (2010)

“My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space” (2010)

“Save Me” (2011)

“Best Friends, Occasional Enemies” (2011)

“Come Home” (2012)

“Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim” (2012)

“Don’t Go” (2013)

“Accused” (2013)