Friday, 1 November 2019

Say hello to Lisa de Nikolits, author of the intriguingly titled THE OCCULT PERSUASION AND THE ANARCHISTS SOLUTION!

It's my pleasure to welcome back Lisa de Nikolits to the Bad Girl Blog!  Lisa and I are both members of the Mesdames of Mayhem, which gives me an opportunity to announce yet again:
CBC Mini-Documentary!  THE MESDAMES OF MAYHEM, now showing on GEM, and Youtube.

Both Lisa and I are featured authors on the doc, and in fact, I follow Lisa in the filming, as you will see.  Watch it, and learn how both of us come to be crime writers from rather unique backgrounds.

So!   Lisa - your ninth book has just come out, The Occult Persuasion and The Anarchist’s Solution!  Kick off by telling us a bit about the book.

LDN:Thank you for having me! I’d love to! The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about a couple experiencing a crisis. The husband, Lyndon, loses his job as editor of a financial magazine. Neither are happy with aging. Lyndon has gotten by with charm and frozen emotions. 
The wife, Margaux, has no idea how angry she is with him for his detachment. It is her idea to sell the house and just travel. But he is not coping well with retirement, so he simply walks off a ferry in Australia and leaves her. He steals a cat (well, he steals an expensive SUV that happens to have a cat onboard) and he flees Sydney, ending up in Apollo Bay, a few hours south-west of Melbourne, where he falls in with a group of anarchists and punk rockers in a tattoo parlour, planning revolution. 
Meanwhile, Margaux sits tight in Sydney with no idea of where her husband might be or what happened. She moves into the red-light Kings Cross area, befriending the owner of the hostel, a seventy-year-old ex-cop drag queen from Saint John, New Brunswick, and waits to hear from her husband. 
When she learns that her husband is fine, she is consumed by wrath and she invokes the angry spirit of an evil nurse, a key player in the terrible Chelmsworth sleep therapy in which many patients died (historical fact). While Lyndon gets in touch with his original career ambition to become an artist and wrestles with anarchism versus capitalism, Margaux learns to deal with her rage.
A serio-comedic thriller about a couple who embark on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how love and passion can make a difference, at any age.
MC: Whoa, that sounds like quite the ride! You label the book as serio-comedic.  As you know, when I teach comedy writing classes, I always say: tragedy is the root of all comedy.  So your term serio-comedic is truly fitting.   Did you set out to write a funny book or did it just work out that way?
LDN: The funny (pardon the pun!) thing with my books is that they pop out infused with humour but humour was never my intention. I have a rather dark way of viewing the world and fortunately, it finds a humorous voice as opposed to a bitter or dark one.  I guess, in the same way that a lot of comedians are quite sad or depressed people and express their views in comedy, my way of setting a scene, and the characters, comes out in a funny way. 
MC: A rather dark way of viewing the world? Yes, I see that in your work.  You want to elaborate on that? 
LDN: I wish I could say that I have a cheery view of man and (wo)mankind but I don’t. Spurred on by the seven deadly sins (and a few that haven’t even made the list yet!), we repeatedly err as we traverse this journey of life. It seems to take more effort to do good than bad! I’m not sure why that is. So yes, I do have a dark view and that’s what comes in so handy for crime writing and for crime writing infused with humour. 
MC: We crime writers definitely look at the dark side of humanity for our plots.  But I'd say your take is unique.  I like your lens.  Tell us more.
LDN: Well, for example, take The Occult Persuasion. I had this guy running away from his wife. He’s having a mid-life crisis, decides to up and leave in the middle of a foreign country. And what happens next? He cat-naps a great feline! I didn’t see that coming as a plot twist but when it did, I thought it was really funny. Funny and endearing. I mean who doesn’t relate to a guy who loves an animal? To that point in the book, Lyndon, the runaway husband, hasn’t been a really relatable kind of guy but wham, he steals a cat! And he falls in love with it! 
MC: Perfect.  Totally unexpected, and yet so valuable in ensuring that the reader comes to care about what happens to Lyndon.  Comedic elements do help create empathy, don’t they?
LDN: Exactly! There’s a scene in the washroom where the wife is having a meltdown in the washroom and it’s very funny too. You really feel for her. And it’s like one crazy event leads to another and it all builds the tension and suspense. So, as well as helping create empathy and move the plot, comedy keeps the reader engaged. And, comedy offers the readers a moment to enjoy life even when the characters are dealing with dark aspects like demonic possession, marriages imploding, grown up kids having their own crises and being lost in a strange country.
MC: In your books, I really see how humour helps to release the tension that is building and building.  Too much tension, and the reader is overwhelmed.  I call you unique as a writer, Lisa, but I can also see how you could be compared to some names we know.  How would you characterize your own books? Just so readers can get an idea of what to expect? 
LDN: My books have been compared to Christopher Moore and even Stephen King but with humour. I’d say they are Tarantino-esque, in a Pulp Fiction kind of way. I think that’s my natural style, the serio-comedic style and I work very hard to come up with original ways to grip a reader and offer them something new. I am definitely not a cozy writer although I often wish I were! But then one often wishes one could write in a different style but you write what you write. Which is not to say you can’t improve – I work every single day to improve as a writer but it’s like you’re stuck with your writing style, in a way, kind of like your own personality. LOL, there are quite a few things I’d like to change about my personality, for example, if there’s a such a thing, I try too hard! I’d like to try a bit less hard and care a bit less but I can’t! And in the same way, you can work at your technical skill but the essence of one’s writing is what you’re born with. 
MC: I'll drink to that.  (Where's my scotch?)  I truly believe that being a writer is something we have to do, or we go mad.  All those characters fighting for places in our brains have to be let out to party.  Lisa, this is book nine.  Have all nine books been serio-comedic? 
LDN: Good question! Actually, no. The Nearly Girl and No Fury Like That were but Rotten Peaches was more noir. The Nearly Girl came after Between The Cracks She Fell which wasn’t funny and then readers were surprised and a bit taken aback by the humour. Then, after No Fury Like That, Rotten Peaches came out and readers said “where’s the comedy? Why so dark?” Although some readers found Rotten Peaches very funny! So I never know what to tell people. I feel like if I tell them to expect one thing, that then I might fail them when they read the book and they might think “oh, it’s not that, at all!” So I prefer not to categorize or describe my books (I totally suck at the elevator pitch!) but just say to readers that if you’re in the mood, you’ll love my books and if you’re not, then maybe try them another day. Sometimes you’re in the mood for one thing and not another but it changes! So all I ask of readers is to give the books a chance – I do promise to give a rolicking good ride and a story full of originality and depth! 
MC:  And that you do.  As I said, Lisa, you are an original, and someone to be celebrated.  Anything else you wish to add?
LDN: Thank you very much for having me a a guest today and may I add that I love all your books, no matter what day or what my mood is! In fact, if my mood is glum, then your books lift me up! So thank you for all the good reads!

Ditto, my friend. 



  1. Thank you so much for having me as a guest today! I really hope your readers will enjoy the post! I am very happy to answer any further questions! Thank you!!

  2. Always a pleasure, Lisa. One thing I can say about the two of us: we are never boring!

  3. That's very true Dear Mel! I must say, I love the power of our imaginations! It's where we have fun!