I'd like to welcome LynDee Walker to the blog today. LynDee writes the Headlines in High Heels Mystery series. Devil in the Deadline is the fourth in the series.
Kathy: In Devil in the Deadline Nichelle Clarke winds up investigating a televangelist’s compound. Televangelists make such interesting characters; just the word televangelist makes one think more of scam artist than spiritual helper. Have you had personal experience, whether positive or not, with them?
LW: This was the first book in which the central mystery was loosely based on something I covered as a working reporter—much of what Nichelle discovers at Way of Life came from my notes on a news story.
Kathy: Nichelle is now involved in a love triangle. Why choose a triangle and not have a single love interest?
LW: This probably sounds a little crazy, but I don’t always feel I get to choose. The characters seem to do what they want, and this is a good example of that. When I was writing Front Page Fatality, I didn’t intend for Joey to become such a major character. He was supposed to be in one scene, to freak Nichelle out a bit and give her a story tip. But he just kept showing up, so I decided to go with it and see what happened. Another “wow, would you look at that” moment for me when writing that book was when Kyle walked in—it wasn’t in my outline (why I don’t use them anymore—I never could stick to one), but it popped into my head when I was writing and made the scene so much better.
Nichelle has some commitment issues that are making it hard for her to choose a guy, but she’s getting there. We see in Devil in the Deadline that she’s definitely leaning more one way. And that leads down a path of all kinds of interesting relationship obstacles.
Kathy: Social media has made such a huge impact upon society and the media. How do you see it affecting journalists-both fictional and real world?
LW: It has definitely changed the landscape of reporting since I left the newsroom. Eleven years ago, we didn’t have Twitter or Facebook pages—we only had to keep up with the website. In fact, the first draft of Front Page Fatality was written with that early 2000s newsroom in mind, and I had to go back and add the social media stuff. It has definitely made it harder to scoop the competition, both in fiction and in the real world. And I worry that accuracy sometimes gets sidelined in the race to get a headline on Twitter first.
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
LW: I’ve always loved a good mystery, and I like books that make me laugh, so the genre seemed like a natural fit.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
LW: I have one manuscript that’s women’s fiction, but in fiddling with it and trying to find what’s missing, I’m tempted to turn it into a mystery. I think a killer to catch might be just what it needs.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
LW: Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. But when the race to scoop her TV rival puts Nichelle in a detective’s shoes, outsmarting the criminals is the only way to live to see the next deadline.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
LW: Grant Parker. Since the first time he walked into the story, the Telegraph’s star sports columnist has been one of my favorite people. He’s charming and sweet, and has a rare level of self assurance that’s really fun to write. He’s in most of my favorite scenes.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
LW: I missed the newsroom and the writing, but not the long hours away from my family. So I made up my own newsroom.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
LW: My mom and my best friend read Front Page, and they pushed me to try to find a publisher. The idea that I might be able to entertain other people the same way my favorite authors entertain me was so appealing, I started researching the industry.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
LW: Oh goodness! My list of who I’d love to talk to is so long, but for a dinner party, friends are always the most fun. I’d invite my girlfriends Gretchen Archer, Larissa Reinhart, and Terri L. Austin because we always have a blast together—and then I’d ask Mark Twain, because I bet he’d be really fun to talk to.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
LW: I’m working on the rough draft of a new novel, and I don’t read much while I’m drafting, because I find it tweaks my voice. But on my last break, I read an early copy of Craig Lancaster’s upcoming This is What I Want, and it is phenomenal. Mark your calendars for July, y’all. Do not miss this book.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
LW: Of course! I’m pretty nuts about my family, so my life when I’m not in front of my computer revolves around them. We love adventures: from rock climbing (I never thought I could, because I’m terrified of heights, but it’s fun) to rollercoasters to weekend getaways. Tennis, walking, hiking, and biking are high on the list of favorite things to do. We also adore museums.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
LW: Milk (because no milk=no coffee=cranky mom), String cheese (my littlest one is an addict), Cereal, Yogurt
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
LW: I’m currently writing Headlines in High Heels #5, tentatively titled Cover Shot and due out in October from Henery Press. I have ideas for three other series, but not enough time to write them all right now. They’ll still be there when my little ones are older.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
LW: Readers! There’s little I don’t love about it—I get to do what I love and be home with my babies. I am a girl blessed. But if I must pick the best thing, it’s meeting and hearing from readers. Knowing people connect with the stories is an amazing feeling.
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