Friday, March 22, 2013

Five on Friday - Owen Laukkanen

As you read this I am in Colorado Springs for Left Coast Crime. I'm preparing this post early to make sure I have it ready for you all. So I won't have my usual round of links for you to check out, but I do have a few things I can share with you.

Larry, who reads the blog up in Wisconsin, helps keep me informed! He shared this link to an article about C.J. Box.

And about a week ago, The Rap Sheet posted this interview with Michael Koryta. I mentioned it on Facebook, Michael wasn't actually a PI in Cleveland. I believe it was in his hometown in Indiana. Only his protagonist, Lincoln Perry worked in Cleveland. But other than that, the interview is quite fun.

Since I'm writing this ahead of time, I'm smack in the middle of our guest's latest book. Owen Laukkanen exploded onto the crime fiction scene last year with his debut novel, The Professionals. This week, his follow-up, Criminal Enterprise, hit stores. And I can assure you, I for one am completely engrossed. Expect to hear more on that front soon.

In the mean time, I am very thrilled to welcome Owen to Jen's Book Thoughts for the first time. So, let me turn today's post over to Owen for his Five on Friday!


If I could tell my 16-year-old self one piece of advice, knowing what I know now, it would be: You can have what you want out of life, so long as you have the confidence to go out and get it. Moreover, you don’t have to be ashamed if what you want isn’t the same as what everyone else wants. I spent a lot of my twenties fretting that I wasn’t following the paths I thought I was supposed to follow, and trying to shoehorn my hopes and dreams into what I imagined was the way people expected me to live. It’s only lately that I’ve really started to trust my own internal compass, and I think the path to happiness lies in being satisfied with one’s own decisions, regardless of how other people might see them.

A skill I’ve always wanted to have, but don’t is: I wish I were more mechanically inclined. Specifically, I’d like to be able to overhaul a diesel engine. I’ve spent a lot of time on fishing boats—I worked summers in university deckhanding for my uncle off the British Columbia coast, and I’ve put in some time on my dad’s lobster boat in Atlantic Canada—and even considered fishing as a career, but my mechanical ineptitude was always a secret source of shame to me.

That said, I loved fishing, probably in large part because it forced me to master skills that as a writer I never would have bothered to learn. There’s a certain satisfaction that comes with holding one’s own in such a tough environment, particularly when it’s not something you normally face in your day-to-day life.

My idea of the perfect ice cream sundae includes: There’s this kinda sketchy all-night restaurant/lounge on the Las Vegas Strip called The Peppermill. It’s Las Vegas in restaurant form: neon track lighting, purple crushed velvet banquettes, a disco ball ceiling and a veritable forest of fake trees—and pretty decent food in massive portions. They serve a dessert called the ‘Elegant Brownie,’ which is enough warm brownie, ice cream, chocolate syrup and whipped cream to fill a good-sized fishbowl. I used to spend a lot of time in Las Vegas for work, and every time I went I’d drag my friends to the Peppermill. I’m not sure I ever managed to finish an Elegant Brownie, but it’s pretty much the perfect sundae regardless.

 Oh, and if you cross the restaurant to the Fireside Lounge, you can watch old 80s music videos in front of a roaring fire while drinking a Scorpion, which is that same fishbowl filled with like twelve shots of every kind of booze imaginable, served by a waitress in an evening gown. Vegas, baby.

When I’m feeling under the weather,  I walk. I walk and walk. I live in Vancouver, BC, and my apartment is no more than ten blocks to the ocean in three directions. There’s a fantastic network of walking paths along the seawall, and Stanley Park, a thousand beautiful acres of rainforest ten minutes from my front door. I always feel better about life when I’ve spent a couple hours by the ocean.

The #1 item on my bucket list right now is: Owning a dog. I’ve been a dog lover ever since my mom struggled through the back door on my ninth birthday with a six-week-old Labrador retriever, and I always imagined when I grew up and got settled as a writer, the first thing I’d do is find a dog of my own. Right now my apartment’s a bit small for a Lab (and there’s a no-pet policy), but I have acute puppy fever, so I’ll probably be looking for a new place soon.

Experientially, I’d love to take the Trans-Siberian Railroad one day, and also a freighter cruise across the Pacific. I always harbored dreams of running away to sea, and I’d love to see what life onboard a cargo ship is really like. 

I loved every answer from Owen, but you all know I'm especially fond of his bucket list answer.  I'm so happy Owen could take time out for today's Five on Friday and I'm hoping we'll see him here in the future as well.

I'm sure I'll be returning from Colorado Springs with much fun to share, so I'll see you all (virtually) next week. Have a super weekend and happy reading!


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