Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Leslie S. Klinger & Laurie R. King Interview - In League with Sherlock Holmes

Laurie R King Photo Credit: Josh Edelson
Photo Content from Leslie S. Klinger 

Leslie S. Klinger is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on Sherlock Holmes, Dracula, H. P. Lovecraft, Frankenstein, and the history of mystery and horror fiction. Klinger is a long-time member of the Baker Street Irregulars, and served as the Series Editor for the Manuscript Series of The Baker Street Irregulars; he is currently the Series Editor for the BSI’s Biography Series. He served three terms as Chapter President of the SoCal Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America and on its National Board. He is also the Treasurer of the Horror Writers Association and serves as Co-Editor of The Haunted Library, a series of horror classics published by the HWA. He lectures frequently on Holmes, Dracula, Lovecraft, Frankenstein and their worlds, including frequent panels at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Bouchercon, NecronomiCon, StokerCon, World Horror Convention, World Fantasy Convention, VampireCon, Comicpalooza, WonderCon, and San Diego Comic-Con, and he has taught several courses on Holmes and Dracula at UCLA Extension.

Klinger’s work has received numerous awards and nominations, including the Edgar® for Best Critical-Biographical Book in 2005 for The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories and the Edgar® for Best Critical-Biographical Book in 2019 for Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s and the Anthony for Best Anthology in 2015 for In the Company of Sherlock Holmes (co-edited with Laurie R. King); he was nominated for an Edgar® for Best Critical-Biographical Book in 2006, two nominations for the Bram Stoker Award® for Best Nonfiction book, and is currently nominated for an Anthony for Best Critical/Non-fiction for Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s. His New Annotated Frankenstein was recently nominated for a World Fantasy Award. His introductions and essays have appeared in numerous books, graphic novels, academic journals, newspapers, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Playboy Magazine; he also reviews books for the Los Angeles Times. He was the technical advisor for Warner Bros. on the film Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) and served (without credit) in that role for Warner Bros.’ earlier hit Sherlock Holmes (2009). He has consulted on a number of novels, comic books, and graphic novels featuring Holmes and Dracula.

Les attended the University of California where he received an A.B. in English; he also attended the University of California School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he obtained a J.D. degree. He and his wife Sharon have five adult children, six grandchildren, and live in Malibu with their dog and cat. By day, Klinger practices law in Westwood, specializing in tax, estate planning, and business law.

Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories (from The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, named one of the 20th century’s best crime novels by the IMBA, to 2018’s Island of the Mad). She has won an alphabet of prizes from Agatha to Wolfe, been chosen as guest of honor at several crime conventions, and is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology. She was inducted into the Baker Street Irregulars in 2010, as “The Red Circle.”

Where were you born and where do you call home?
Les: Born in Chicago, I live in Malibu.
Laurie: California’s Bay Area, now just south in Santa Cruz.

Tell us your latest news.
Les: Working on the next books in the Library of Congress Crime Classics series as well as New Annotated Jekyll & Hyde
Laurie: I’m in the final stages of Russell & Holmes #17, Castle Shade, which will be published in June.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Les: It’s how we examine our own lives—by telling the stories of others that are meaningful.
Laurie: You ask this after a year like 2020? Fiction is the only thing that got many of us through the past 10 months!

Did you learn anything from editing the IN LEAGUE WITH SHERLOCK HOLMES and what was it?
Les: Trust that great writers will produce great work! This has been the consistent lesson of the whole series!
Laurie: The fascinating thing about these collections is the variety of tales that come out of the prompt, “Let yourself be inspired by the Sherlock Holmes canon.” The creative mind is extraordinary!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another editor?
Les: Less is more.
Laurie: It’s nearly impossible to edit your own story.

What chapter was the most memorable to edit and why?
Les: We never name any of our “children” as our “favorites,” but the graphic stories are often the most fun!
Laurie: Because these are all pros, the actual editing is fairly low key.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Les: See above
Laurie: We have done one of these collections every couple of years—so it’s about time that Les and I will begin to think about our next set of victims—I mean, the next group of friends that we can ask to join our merry band!

If you could introduce one of the characters you edited to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Les: I’d like to have SH meet Jack Reacher. They have a lot in common!
Laurie: Well, there’s this character named Mary Russell who would be fun to introduce to all sorts of characters….

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from editing this book?
Les: The day job!
Laurie: As Les says, trying to write my own stuff is occasionally a bit distracting.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Les: Write something!
Laurie: Travel to a place where they don’t speak English.

Best date you've ever had?
Les: Drove my (future) wife around a park in a service vehicle. You had to be there.
Laurie: I can’t say I ever went on anything that could be called a date—but then, I’m the person who went to Papua New Guinea for her honeymoon.

If you could go back in time to one point in your life, where would you go?
Les: I never look back. The best is yet to come!
Laurie: Every time I write a book that’s set someplace I travelled, I find myself wishing I could go back to that trip and take notes on the things I ended up needing, not just the things I was enjoying.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Les: Besides Joe Biden?
Laurie: Loads of writers that I love and others don’t…

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Les: Receiving the gift of Annotated Sherlock Holmes by William S. Baring-Gould in 1997. It turned me on to the joy of footnotes!

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?

Les: The things left undone, the words unsaid or unwritten.
Laurie: Oh I hope that 2020 is a unique year, because the thought of another such fills me with terror.

What was the best memory you ever had as a writer?
Les: Winning the Edgar for New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories.
Laurie: So many great memories—beginning with the phone call from my first agent to say that she’d sold my first book. I think they heard my shout halfway across the county.

  • 1. Mary Russell, naturally—who beats Sherlock Holmes at his own game. [The Russell & Holmes series]
  • 2. Mrs Hudson, who keeps some interesting secrets from her employer. [The Russell & Holmes series]
  • 3. Rae Newborn—a woman who wields a mean a hammer. [Folly]
  • 4. Beatrice—a homeless woman who impresses some cops. [A Grave Talent]
  • 5. Estelle Adler—a very young apprentice detective, who helps her grandfather, a gent by name of Sherlock Holmes. [“Stately Holmes”]
  • 6. Alice Wright—both a friend of the author and a bohemian sculptress. [The Language of Bees]
  • 7. Iris Sutherland—a Duke’s wife with a life of her own. [Justice Hall]
  • 8. Laura Hurleigh—a woman with hidden depths. [Touchstone]
  • 9. Dr Henning—because I like the women who talk back to men. [God of the Hive]
  • 10. Lillie Langtry. I mean, what’s not to love about Lillie Langtry? [Riviera Gold]
Les: Perhaps 10 years ago, Laurie and I were invited to put together (another) panel on Holmes for Left Coast Crime. We asked if we could invite Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Jan Burke to be on the panel. After the programming folks protested that those were their guests of honor, we argued that they were all “secret” admirers of Sherlock Holmes and it would be an unusual and spritely panel. It was, filled with disclaimers by each of them that they knew little about Holmes, always followed with deeply insightful and erudite comments about the Holmes Canon. After the panel, one of us said to the other, “Why don’t we invite those folks to write stories inspired by the Holmes Canon?” We did, they agreed, and all three became part of the little club of 75 writers who have appeared in our anthologies! 


  • Trustworthy
  • Loyal
  • Helpful
  • Friendly
  • Courteous
  • Kind
  • Thrifty
  • Brave
  • Clean
  • Reverent
Thank you, Boy Scouts! I omitted “obedient” (which seems no longer important) and “cheerful” (which seems redundant with “friendly,” but perhaps not).

Your journey to publication
Laurie: I started writing when I was 35 and my second child went into school three whole mornings a week. I wrote The Beekeeper’s Apprentice in a few weeks, and then just kept going until eventually my third book was bought and published, six years later. And when that novel won the Edgar, my daughter was there in New York to blow the celebratory trumpets.

The latest entry in Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger’s popular Sherlock Holmes-inspired mystery series, featuring fifteen talented authors and a multitude of new cases for Arthur Conan Doyle’s most acclaimed detective.

Sherlock Holmes has not only captivated readers for more than a century and a quarter, he has fascinated writers as well. Almost immediately, the detective’s genius, mastery, and heroism became the standard by which other creators measured their creations, and the friendship between Holmes and Dr. Watson served as a brilliant model for those who followed Doyle. Not only did the Holmes tales influence the mystery genre but also tales of science-fiction, adventure, and the supernatural. It is little wonder, then, that when the renowned Sherlockians Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger invited their writer-friends and colleagues to be inspired by the Holmes canon, a cornucopia of stories sprang forth, with more than sixty of the greatest modern writers participating in four acclaimed anthologies.

Now, King and Klinger have invited another fifteen masters to become In League with Sherlock Holmes. The contributors to the pair’s next volume, due out in December 2020, include award-winning authors of horror, thrillers, mysteries, westerns, and science-fiction, all bound together in admiration and affection for the original stories. Past tales have spanned the Victorian era, World War I, World War II, the post-war era, and contemporary America and England. They have featured familiar figures from literature and history, children, master sleuths, official police, unassuming amateurs, unlikely protagonists, even ghosts and robots. Some were new tales about Holmes and Watson; others were about people from Holmes’s world or admirers of Holmes and his methods. The resulting stories are funny, haunting, thrilling, and surprising. All are unforgettable. The new collection promises more of the same!

You can purchase In League with Sherlock Holmes at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LESLIE S. KLINGER & LAURIE R. KING for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of In League with Sherlock Holmes 
by Laurie R. King & Leslie S. Klinger.