Recipient of the 2013 Louisiana Writer Award, Christine Wiltz is a native New Orleanian and author of six books: Shoot the Money, The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld, Glass House, The Emerald Lizard, A Diamond Before You Die and The Killing Circle. She has also written a documentary, Backlash: Race and the American Dream, which aired on PBS. She has been a visiting writer-in-residence at Loyola and Tulane universities.
10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Louisiana Writer Award Presentation
1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.
State Library Seminar Center
A Conversation with Christine Wiltz
2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m.
Shoot the Money
From the author of The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld comes an edgy novel—a racy gumbo of suspense, comedy and sisters in crime.
Karen and Raynie are roommates hiding from sticky pasts. When vengeful gangsters and old boyfriends descend, Karen can’t hide from the Miami thug who wants his money back, and Raynie’s would-be rapist gets a gun and goes on a rampage. To top it off, Karen’s boss, LaDonna, has a young lover with a new and dangerous idea. The three women unite to face the repercussions of the stolen money and the violence that ensues.
From Mamou to Miami to New Orleans, money and friendship are at the heart of Shoot the Money as it explores women’s desires for big bucks. They see what money does to those who have it, lose it, pursue it or steal it—and what happens when they try a little revenge on their rapid chase toward a better life.
They’ve got the money, they’re smart and they’re daring. And they’ve got a gun. They could just whip it out and shoot somebody, but that would be way too easy.
What is the most important lesson readers can learn from your book Shoot the Money?
Shoot the Money is about three women who are on a rapid chase to a better life. On the way, they grapple with questions about money: what it does to those who have it, pursue it, lose it, steal it or work for it. They are also concerned with matters of love and friendship and learning about themselves. I wrote Shoot the Money to entertain, not instruct, but as with most books, the reader takes what is most important to her or him individually.
What motivated you to tell this story?
I have always been curious about the way people deal with money, especially women. There seems to be a secrecy about it; it is important, but it's somehow impolite and tasteless, to talk about it, except in a universal context. I picked up an issue of Cosmopolitan some years ago because that month focused on women and money, how women found it hard to separate their emotions from it. I wasn't sure I agreed with the article, though I could see the point the writer was trying to make. I decided to write a book to explore the whole question.
What was the most enjoyable part of the process of writing this book?
The most fun I had writing Shoot the Money was developing the characters and devising situations that allowed them to question everything, then act on their answers, right or wrong.
How do you think this story resonates with Louisiana (culture, readers, history, Louisianans, etc.)?
The characters and the environment resonate with me as a Louisianian, so I can only hope it does with others. I have identified with the people and the culture as only a native can do. I have to go on trust that others from here also identify with my vision of us, and, if it's good enough, anyone not from here should be able to glean something of our ways as well.
What excites you about the festival?
The Louisiana Book Festival is the one event that brings the books and writers of Louisiana altogether every year. I find that exciting and energizing.
What should people look forward to by coming to your presentation at the festival?
I hope people who come to hear me speak will understand my great love for this place and its people, both of which are inspirational to me in my writing.
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