Lida Sideris On Writing

Author Lida Sideris

I asked Lida a series of questions about her writing and here’s what she had to say…

1. Of everything you have written, what is your favorite so far? 

       My children’s picture book, The Cookie Eating Fire Dog, is my favorite. I wrote the text about 20 years ago, when my younger son was four. His constant companion was a stuffed Dalmatian named Dan. One day, my son informed me that Dan was very naughty. He wouldn’t help the firefighters because all he wanted to do was eat cookies! A picture book was born, but it took a little bit of time to find a publisher.

2. Which of your books was the hardest to write, and why?

       The hardest to write is the first draft of any of my novels 2, 3, 4… in my Southern California Mystery series because the looming question is: can I do it again? But somehow it gets done! Truly a miracle. There’s no feeling quite like reaching “The End.” 🙂

3. Are any of your characters based on people you know? How do you keep them from recognizing themselves?

      My characters are sometimes based on impressions of people I’ve barely met, meaning I’ve probably had a brush with them in the past, on the golf course, at the grocery store, driving… not enough for me to really know the person, but enough for me to play around with who I think they might me. Give me room to embellish and I’ll create a fictional character. This way, I don’t have to worry about anyone recognizing themselves. For instance, a  few years ago, I met a young actor in Westwood Village, CA. It just so happened that he starred in a one-hour spy series that I really enjoyed. I had the pleasure of speaking to him for about fifteen minutes and he was wonderful! Fast forward a year or two and I’m writing my first novel. Every time I wrote the character of Michael (my heroine’s BFF, sidekick and love interest), this actor popped into my head. My character is based on that brief encounter.

4. Have you written, or are contemplating, writing a series, and why?

      I write a Southern California Mystery series (book #4 was released Oct, 2020) because I know SoCal very well. It’s immense fun for me to have my heroine visit places I’ve been to and turn them upside down!  For instance, in my latest book, SLIGHTLY MURDEROUS INTENT, heroine Corrie visits a restaurant where I enjoyed a lovely, peaceful and delicious dinner. Corrie visits the same restaurant, but things turned out a little differently. Everyone at her table is served their dinner…except her. Corrie’s never served her meal; she’s served crime a la mode instead, which sets the stage for her hunting down a shooter that’s aiming for one of her three sidekicks. The shooter has a bit of trouble hitting his target, which gives Corrie a chance to hunt him down.

5. Think of one of your characters who has a unique ability or feature. How did you come up with this ability or feature for the character?

       Heroine Corrie is a newbie lawyer and daughter of a well known private investigator who has her own cache of weapons…legal and illegal. Her favorite is a shuriken, a Japanese throwing star. It’s a weapon of distraction, not destruction. She keeps a dartboard in her living room just for shuriken practice. She’s got sharp throwing skills, pun intended. I wanted to create a strong, smart and fearless female heroine who can hold her own against practically anyone. I liked the fact that shuriken, once used by ninjas, are used in my books by a modern female who’s adept at throwing. It’s an unexpected choice of weapon for an unpredictable criminal catcher. That’s fun for me!

Thank you so much, Lida! It’s fascinating to see how other authors approach their writing, what causes them challenges, and where they get their ideas from. And now, a bit about Lida and her newest creation, Slightly Murderous Intent. If you haven’t yet read any of Lida’s Southern California mysteries, you’re missing out on some great reads. Get one today!

BIO – Lida Sideris’ first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award for her first book. She lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens. To learn more about Lida, please visit her website:

Slightly Muderous Intent: There’s a shooter on the loose who keeps missing his target. But that doesn’t stop him from trying again…and again. It’s up to rookie lawyer and spunky sleuth, Corrie Locke, to find the gunman before he hits his mark…Assistant Deputy D.A. James Zachary, Corrie’s hunky and complicated frenemy.

When Corrie is stuck with more questions than answers, she enlists a team with various strengths, weapons and cooking skills to help her find the shooter. Computer whiz/boyfriend Michael is onboard. So is former security guard, Veera. Toss in an over-the-hill informant and a couple of feuding celebrity chefs and Corrie’s got her very own A-Team. Okay, maybe it’s more like a B-Team. Can Team Corrie hunt down the shooter before he scores a bulls-eye? 

Slightly Murderous Intent is the fourth book in the “Southern California Mystery” series, paperback released October 20, 2020.


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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.