Lida Sideris Speaks!

Lida Sideris is the author of Murder And Other Unnatural Disasters, a rollocking ride through the Hollywood entertainment industry with the quirkiest characters ever created. (This reader prays that Corrie and Michael are the start of a fabulous series!) She’s here today to answer some insightful questions about her stories, her writing, and herself.

Welcome, Lida!

  1. When did you first know you were going to be a writer?

I longed to be a published author for nearly half a century, but just didn’t know if I had it in me. So I started out small. Magazine pieces, articles, essays. It wasn’t until I won a scholarship to the San Francisco Writers’ Conference that I believed it possible.

2. Where do your ideas come from? 

The seeds come from my everyday life (in my novel, my heroine works in a movie studio like I once did), but once they germinate, I’ve no idea how tall they’ll grow (my heroine investigates a catnapping and possible alien encounter – where those ideas came from I’ll never know).

3.How many hours a day do you write?

On a good day, I can write about 6-8 hours (minus many little breaks where I’ll take a walk, bake cookies or hang with my chickens – all of which help me mull over my writing). When working the day job, I’ll write anywhere from 0-3 hours. I’m afraid it’s often 0.

4. Which of your characters is most like you, and why?

Great question! In my first draft, the heroine was me. Only problem was, I kept nodding off while writing. I realized that in order to stay awake, I needed to exclude all resemblances to me. So hopefully, there’re only microscopic bits of me here and there.

5.What was the most valuable piece of writing advice you ever received?

Don’t stop to edit, don’t even think about it, until you reach The End.

6. How many times do you redo the opening of your stories before you are satisfied with them?

Not much. Only about 30-40 times! And revisions overall? Probably over 100 times.

7. How do you choose the names for your characters?

Corrie Locke popped into my head immediately. It was the only name for my heroine. The two male leads have my sons’ middle names, and the rest of the cast come from names I overhear or spot in magazines, or on the spice shelf in my pantry.

8. Which came first, the characters, the plot, or the setting?

The setting. I knew the book would be based in SoCal where I spent most of my life. I wanted to take places familiar to me and make crazy things happen, so that I (and the reader hopefully) wouldn’t look at those places quite the same way again.

9. Are you a Plotter or a Pantser?

The seat of my pants are quite worn, thanks very much. No one was more surprised than I was once the killer was unveiled. I like it that way. Keeps me entertained and on my toes.

10. What is the one story you would like to write, but just can’t?

I’d like to finish the historical fiction novel that I started. But the story’s not a happy one, and I don’t want to write anything that may deflate readers. The books I enjoy the most are those that leave me feeling good at the end. That’s what I’d like to be able to accomplish.

Thank you, Susan, for hosting me!

And, thank you, Lida. It’s nice to meet another inveterate Pantser! Most of the fun in writing for me is finding out what happens to my characters!

Hope everyone had a great time with Lida today. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, or talk about Lida’s fantastic book, Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters. But be warned: this one is addicting. Read it only if you like a great mystery, fantastic twists, fascinating characters and lots of humor.

Here’s where you can purchase the book, and ways to keep in touch with Lida:

The book:

Lida’s Amazon Page:



About Susan Tuttle

Susan Tuttle is a professional freelance editor, writing instructor and multi-award winning author of 21 books—6 nonfiction on writing (Write It Right), 6 suspense novels and 7 collections of award-winning short stories. She also has stories in both volumes of "Deadlines", the new anthology from the Central Coast Chapter of Sisters in Crime (SinC), Tales from a Rocky Coast, and the SLO NightWriter anthology. Under the pen name Susan Grace O'Neill, she is the author of the Journey With Jesus series: Lord, Let Me Grow (Parables) vol. 1, and Lord, Let Me Walk (Lent). She is currently working on volume #2 of her Skylark P.I. series (a PI with paranormal abilities), as well as 2 YA fantasy series. And she teaches fiction writing in both the morning and afternoon every Wednesday. Email her if you're interested in joining her class. And follow her on Twitter and FaceBook.