Interview with Ingrid Thoft, author of Brutality

27 Aug 2015

Tell us a little bit about your new release, Brutality. 

BRUTALITY is the third book in the series featuring Fina Ludlow, a private investigator in Boston who works for her family’s firm of personal injury attorneys. In this installment, Fina is hired to investigate an attack that has landed a woman named Liz Barone in the hospital. Fina discovers that Liz led an ordinary life, except for the fact that she was suing her alma mater, New England University. Liz had been suffering cognitive difficulties that she alleged were the result of her collegiate soccer career at the university. The case drops Fina into the competitive world of college sports where she discovers that many people have a stake in Liz’s lawsuit. Fina also has to navigate her own family’s dysfunction and competing interests.

What is the one movie that you can quote the most?

“Romancing the Stone.” One of my sisters and I quote this movie frequently, mostly to one another. It came out when we were tweens and to this day if she says, “I ain’t no Tarzan,” I immediately picture Danny Devito in a phone booth in Colombia.

What fictional literary world would you most like to visit?

I don’t read many books that take place in fictional worlds, but even if I did, there’s no question that I would want to visit Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. A chocolate river, every kind of candy you can imagine, and a glass elevator that takes flight? Sign me up!

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My earliest career aspiration was to be a hand doctor. Perhaps I decided that the hand’s 27 bones promised endless variety. I also may have felt that the critical role our hands play in daily living promised job security. My interest dissipated, but my hands play a crucial role in my work, providing a conduit from my brain to the page.

What are you currently craving?

I would love a swim in a warm, clear ocean, followed by a fruity drink and a delicious meal. Given that the nearest ocean is the freezing Puget Sound, I’ll have to satisfy that urge with a warm shower, a dark and stormy mixed by my husband, and take-out from the local Vietnamese place.

If you had an extra hour each day, how would you spend it?

I would most likely spend an extra hour each day reading, although I might feel obliged to spend it learning a new skill. The New Englander in me would feel compelled to do something productive!

What’s on your writing desk?

I’ve purposefully chosen a small writing desk to avoid clutter and piles. The modest space is taken up by my laptop, a lamp, a folder dedicated to an upcoming trip to Spain, an outline of my next book, a diet soda, and my prized mug celebrating the birth of Prince George of Cambridge. A close friend got it for me in London in July 2013 right after his birth. I have a soft spot for his maternal grandmother, the late Princess Diana of Wales, who was a prominent figure during my childhood.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

In high school, I remember my father suggesting I close my mouth and open my ears. It was said kindly, but I think it’s advice we could all use. How often do you feel like you listened too much and didn’t talk enough? Someone else once told me to “always consider the source,” and I still think it’s excellent advice, especially in the internet age. Everybody’s got an opinion, but you can decide how much credence to give those opinion.

What’s your favorite line from Brutality?

Choosing a favorite line is an impossible task; there are too many that I like and too many that I don’t remember! There are certain images that stay with me: the young child “popped up from his knees as if he were spring-loaded” or the woman whose “dark brown hair was cut into a graduated bob, a style that never made any sense to Fina. Why would you want the back of your head to look like a wedge of cheese?”

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I’m a big of fan of the Gladys Knight lyric “keep on keepin’ on.” She sings it in the context of finding a reason to keep going, but I think of it in terms of working hard and moving forward regardless of the obstacles you encounter along the way. I think it’s an especially good motto for writers; there will always be critics and setbacks, but tenacity counts for a lot.

Author Ingrid Thoft Photo credit: Doug Berrett

Author Ingrid Thoft Photo credit: Doug Berrett


Ingrid Thoft is the author of the new book Brutality.

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