Lisa Lutz

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Lisa Lutz
Lisa Lutz
Born (1970-03-13)13 March 1970
Southern California, US
Occupation Author

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.[1] 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.[2] 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."[3] 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." She decided to write it as a novel.[4] 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 (Seattle) to write her second Spellman novel, then moved to San Francisco,[5] where she lived until 2012. She presently lives miles from civilization in upstate New York.[6]


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,[7] Macavity Award,[8] and Barry award;[9] was awarded an Alex Award;[10] was nominated for a Dilys Award; and reached #27 on the New York Times Bestseller List[11]

Paramount Pictures has optioned the film rights for the novel, with Laura Ziskin producing[12] and Barry Sonnenfeld directing.[13]

Her second novel, Curse of the Spellmans, was nominated for a 2009 Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America for best mystery novel.[14]

Published work[edit]


  • Plan B (2001)


  • The Spellman Files (2007)
  • Curse of the Spellmans (2008)
  • Revenge of the Spellmans (2009)
  • The Spellmans Strike Again (2010)
  • Heads You Lose (with David Hayward) (2011)
  • Trail of the Spellmans (2012)
  • The Last Word, later published as "Spellman Six: The Next Generation" (2013)
  • How to Start a Fire (2015)

Children's Book[edit]

  • "How To Negotiate Everything"

Articles or other contributions[edit]

  • Please Stop Talking I have to use the Bathroom (Friction magazine, 2 December 2002 issue)[15]
  • Confessions of a Hollywood sellout (, February 2005)
  • Rule 1: Ignore Rules (The Wall Street Journal, 18 February 2012 issue)[16]
  • Ask Lutz ("Need unprofessional advice? Ask Lutz" - blogs posted on from 2002 to 2004)
  • How to write a Fan Letter Without Getting a Restraining Order (a chapter in the 2005 book "Don't Forget to Write for the Secondary Grades: 50 Enthralling and Effective Writing Lessons (Ages 11 and Up))"[17]


External links[edit]