Passenger (Lutz) - Author Bio

Author Bio
Birth—March 13, 1970
Where—Southern California, USA
Education—attended University of California, Irvine and Santa Cruz - no degree
Awards—Alex Award
Currently—lives in upstate New York

Lisa Lutz is an American author. She began her career writing screenplays for Hollywood. One of her rejected screenplays became the basis for a popular series of novels about a family of private investigators, the Spellmans.

Lutz was born in Southern California in 1970. She attended UC Santa Cruz, UC Irvine, University of Leeds in England and San Francisco State University, all without attaining a degree.

During the 1990s she had many low-paying jobs, including work in a private investigation firm, and spent a lot of time writing and re-writing a Mob comedy called Plan B. Her screenplay was optioned in 1997, and was made into a movie in 2000 (released in 2001). Variety Magazine described the movie as "torturously unfunny." She subsequently produced several other tentative screenplays, but none was picked up.

Her final effort, tentatively titled "The Spellman Files," was also rejected. At that point Lutz realized that "the story really needed more space to be told properly," so she decided to write it as a novel.

She began the novel while still living in California in 2004, then decided to move into a relative's family vacation home in upstate New York to work on it full-time. She returned to the west coast, this time to Seattle, Oregon, to write her second Spellman novel, then moved to San Francisco, where she lived until 2012. She presently lives miles from civilization in upstate New York.

Spellman series
Her novel series describes the Spellmans, a family of private investigators, who, while very close knit, are also intensely suspicious and spend much time investigating each other. The first book in the series, The Spellman Files, becomes suspenseful when 14-year-old Rae Spellman is apparently kidnapped.

In 2008 The Spellman Files was nominated for three awards for best first novel—the Anthony Award, Macavity Award, and Barry award. It was also nominated for a Dilys Award. The book, however, did win the Alex Award, and it reached #27 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Her second novel, Curse of the Spellmans, was nominated for a 2009 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for best mystery novel.

Stand alones
All told, Lutz published six Spellman mysteries before stepping outside the genre in 2015 for her first entry into straight fiction, How to Start a Fire. That novel tells the story of four college friends. Three years, in 2016, later she ventured into psychological thriller territory with The Passenger, of which Kirkus Reviews remarked that Lutz, "writes like she's happy to be there."

Other writing
In 2011 Lutz co-wrote—in alternating chapters—the mystery, Heads You Lose, with her then real-life partner David Hayward. She has also written a 2013 childrens' book, How to Negotiate Everything. Her articles and essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal,, Friction Magazine, and her own blogs, Ask Lutz and Lutz U. (Adapted from Wikipedia. Retrieved 3/20/2016.)

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