interview with Laura Antoniou

I’m a huge fan of Laura Antoniou’s work, her Marketplace series was one of the first times I remember reading about  leather characters in a way that I could in some ways connect with. I discovered them while I was working at the leather shop in downtown Portland, we had a tiny book section and all of us punk kids who worked there were obsessed with her work. We would read them when the boss wasn’t around and the store was quiet, and finally our assistant manager managed to buy the whole series on layaway and would let me borrow it book by book to finish reading.  I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to collaboriate with Laura, she read at my Queer Memoir: Leather event about a year and a half ago, and then wrote the foreword for my BDSM anthology Leather Ever After!   Her newest book a murder mystery “The Killer Wore Leather” is absolutely fantastic – you can read my full review over at Curve Magazine so I was thrilled when asked if I would participate in the book’s blog tour!  I’d already reviewed the novel so I was excited for the opportunity to do something a little different….. below is an interview with Laura talking about the new book, but also her creative process, leather, and of course what’s coming next!  Check it out!


What was the inspiration behind The Killer Wore Leather?

Two things! First, a little book titled “Bimbos of the Death Sun,” by Edgar Award Winner Sharyn McCrumb. It’s a murder mystery set at a science fiction convention back before nerds were cool. It was snarky and illustrated and poked fun at the convention culture of the early 80s, and was the first mystery I ever read that was intentionally *funny.* I have been wanting to write a funny book about the leather scene for many years now, and my joke title was The Killer Wore Leather.

The second thing that sparked the inspiration was realizing that as more and more people started investigating BDSM, the media views of it tend to be skewed by CSI episodes and an occasional “dark” book about some woman being seduced away into a violent, hidden culture of pathologicalnarcissistic weirdos who could order their submissive partners to kill people – or just kill them personally. But no one showed what it REALLY looked like. And we look funny. The time was right. I wrote. 

Can you talk a little bit about the experience of writing a novel not set in The Marketplace world?

Who says it’s not set in the Marketplace world? I’m a very conservative world builder. I don’t see why it can’t be in the very same world, just about very different people. Other than that, this book is the first ever written in my authentic voice, snark and all. The MP books have a more melodramatic bent to them; this is just pure fun and adventure. Also, I had to be prompted to add sex scenes. That was new.

 How has it felt to be doing readings in places like Barns & Nobel and having so much mainstream crossover success with this book?  What have audience reactions in those venues been like?

I’ll let you know about mainstream success after two years, when the publisher isn’t waiting for more returns. And as for B&N – they won’t carry the book nationwide. So far, I have been to two stores that do, because their buyers made the decision to take a chance on it. The biggest difference in response to this book for me so far has been with gay men! If I had known all I had to do was kill one of ’em, I would have done that years ago! But seriously, the response from the leather/kink community has been amazing. I am waiting to see how we do getting mystery readers and other groups to pick up the book.

How has your own relationship to leather influenced the books that you write? 

Absolutely. I choose to write about the things I do because I have an enduring interest and passion for them. You can’t be out for 30 years and teaching and writing for 20 without having something driving you. Otherwise, I’d still have a day job, or I’d be writing cowboy-werewolf romances for the easy money.

What keeps you writing?

I have this stubborn eating habit. Plus, I am a huge fan of shelter. My hobbies of consistent medical care, reasonable access to entertainment and of course, very large lattes, also drive me to write more.

What are the hardest characters for you to write?

Genuinely nice, altruistic people. tend to suspect them of deeper, more suspect feelings, or think of them as wildly improbable. Nasty, scheming people are MUCH easier. Right now, Detective Rebecca Feldblum, the lead in my mystery, is too nice for my taste. I know she has something she has to be hiding, or fighting. We’ll see what develops as I keep writing.

Who is your favorite character in The Killer Wore Leather? Why?

Oh, I love Earl, the producer of the Mr. & Ms. Global Leather (and Bootblack) Contest. Also, Bitsy. And Detective Dominick DeCosta. That’s more than one. What can I say, I like my work. But wait, there is also Mickey Abraham, the bitter, sarcastic, cynical, over-educated author of books no one reads…

I know that you’re working on book six in The Marketplace Series, can we expect another non-Marketplace novel in the near future too?

If the near future is “next year” the I would say the chance of pretty damn good. I think I need to know more about my Detectives. And there’s another body being discovered right now in the back of my mind, if not yet on paper.