If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An Interview With Nancy Cole Silverman

by Grace Topping

One of the joys of reading a mystery that features a main character with a particular talent or business is learning about that talent or business. Often times, the author has researched a field and provides good information in the book.  In other instances, the author has years of experience working in the character’s field. Nancy Cole Silverman is one of those authors. Having spent almost twenty-five years working in news and talk radio, Nancy imbues her character and the field of news radio in her Carol Childs mystery series with an authenticity that would be hard to match without that experience.

Welcome, Nancy, to Writers Who Kill.

Earlier in your fiction-writing career, you wrote several standalone books. What made you decide to write the Carol Childs mystery series with an ensemble cast of characters?
           
Nancy Cole Silverman
I wrote several standalone books and short stories too before I finally landed on the premise for the Carol Childs Mysteries.  I think the idea was always in the back of my mind. I’d worked in news and talk radio for nearly twenty-five years, and when the radio station I worked for sold, I decided rather than go back to work at another station, I’d make one up and write about it. The world I worked in was so full of vibrant and unusual characters and stories, with something new happening every day, I just couldn’t resist. I like to tell people, you can take the girl out of radio, but you can’t take the radio out of the girl.

Your main character, Carol Childs, works in radio, but is just getting a foothold behind the microphone. Your own experience in radio adds authenticity to your books. Was your start in radio as challenging as Carol’s?

Carol’s career and mine were exact opposites. I began in broadcasting behind the mic in the early seventies when there were very few women on the air. Later, because I could write copy, had two kids to support, and had moved to Los Angeles, I ended up on the business side of things. Reporters don’t make much money, and on the business side, I was able to earn a comfortable living. Carol, on the other hand, did the exact opposite, going from the business side to the talent side. In some ways, I wish I could have done that. I loved working as a reporter and would have liked more time behind the mic.

The pace of your books leans toward the suspense side of mystery writing. However, the character of Misty—described as a wacky or kooky psychic—adds some comic relief and a touch of the paranormal. What inspired the character of Misty?

I adore Misty Dawn.  She reminds me a lot of my cousin-in-law, Mitzi McCall, an actress, stand-up comedian and one of my dearest friends. Fans of hers may remember Mitzi and her husband, Charlie Brill, as the act preceding the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mitzi was my muse for Misty Dawn, who I wrote into the series as an unemployed psychic to the stars.  Hey, I live in L.A., there’s a psychic shingle hung out on nearly every corner. The idea seemed to make sense, and when Misty Dawn shows up on Carol’s doorstep, unemployed and looking for work, what else can Carol do, but hire her. After all, Carol’s a single mom and could use a housekeeper.  Spoiler alert – I plan to bring Misty back in a spin-off series of her own. 

What’s the hardest part about writing a series?

Remembering the details of supporting characters. Things like birthdays and anniversaries that I may have used in previous books tend to elude me. It wasn’t until I was working on book four and Carol was in the midst of planning a birthday party for her son that I realized I’d forgotten how old he was. Fortunately, I’d made him fifteen in the previous book, so the fact that he was turning sixteen worked out well for the plot. I don’t know what I would have done if he’d been younger.

In Room for Doubt, someone is killing men who have a history of being abusive to their partners. This leaves Carol Childs and other characters in the book struggling with the moral issues involved. How have reviewers and readers responded to this issue?

I appreciate you asking this question. After working around news and talk radio stations, I saw a lot of unsolved cases and things that the average person may not really understand as par for the course.  While I’d like to write books with happy endings and nicely tied up scenarios, where the bad guys all go to jail.  Unfortunately, life isn’t like that. In Room For Doubt, I wanted to leave the reader wondering, what if?  To your point, however, there were some reviewers that found the subject matter complex and the resolution a bit untidy. But I wouldn’t write it differently. I like that it left readers wondering, could this be true?

In each of the books in your series, you’ve addressed social issues. Are they issues that you feel strongly about? How does fiction help to address these issues?

Working in news and talk radio I was aware how certain stories got airtime while others didn’t.  So when I sat down to write The Carol Childs Mysteries, I wanted to write about the inner workings of a news station in hopes of explaining the politics and complexities of selecting those stories that make it on the air. In reality, there simply is never enough time or money to cover every story a reporter wants to investigate. But with writing fiction, I’ve no news editor sitting over my shoulder telling me we can or can’t run that, so in a sense, I’m also my own programming director.  

And you’re right, I do like to weave social issues into my books. I think it’s the role of the writer to entertain and inform. In my opinion, the best writers know how to spin a story so that the writer gets into a reader’s head and as the book progresses the reader is looking and thinking about an issue they might not have looked at or thought about before. If I can do that in each book, I’ve achieved what I set out to do.

You were a trailblazer in radio, having worked as a broadcaster, an advertising sales executive, and then as the only female general manager of a sports radio station in the U.S. What was the best part of working in radio? The most challenging?

When I worked in radio, I loved every day I went to work. I never knew what to expect, what might happen, who I might meet or where I’d be at the end of the day. I think the variety of assignments, the immediacy of the medium, and the people made it a fascinating business. As for what was the most challenging? I’d have to say the constant deadlines, living with the adrenaline rush and that endless commute down the 5 Freeway during rush hour. 

Based on your experience, what would you tell young women today interested in a career in radio?

Do it! Particularly if it involves news radio. I love the medium, but more importantly, I think journalism is an important place for women to be whether it be radio, TV or print.  Right now, it’s an exciting and challenging time for journalists. Women haven’t always had a place at the table. When I started, women’s voices were considered too light to be taken seriously. I hope we never return to those days.   Women have come a long way, and I hope we continue to go further.

How much of your experience and stories covered during your career in radio have you drawn on for your books? Do former co-workers accuse you of using them in your books?

I’ve done a mash-up of personalities and experiences with my books. None of the characters are exactly like that of anyone I knew. With fiction, I think character, story, and dialog have to be over the top. There’s a saying in news, “if it bleeds, it leads.”  The same thing goes for writing fiction. Get your characters to bleed onto the page with emotions readers can relate to, and they’ll remember your stories and want to read more.  
                        
Your mystery mantra is smart, sassy, and fearless. If our characters are a lot like ourselves, what contributed to this aspect of your personality?

I wish I were as smart, sassy and fearless as Carol Childs. It’s a lot easier to create a smart, sassy and fearless character on the page when you can play Monday morning quarterback than it is to do so in real time and under real circumstances. I suppose if I had to attribute these characteristics to someone or something in the past, it would be my mom, my dad, and my first couple of working assignments where I felt totally lost and intimidated.

Specifically, my mother was a schoolteacher, and she didn’t raise her girls to be anything less than good students. With smarts comes empowerment and I liked that feeling early on. As for Sassy, my father gave me that nickname when I was a little girl. I was a terrible tomboy. Kind of a smart-alecky little girl who refused to play with dolls. I once tried to wire the fruit trees in our backyard with orange cans and string in an effort to enable communications between my tree forts. So the name came kind of naturally. And fearless? That came when I started working at my first job as a reporter.  I quickly realized I had no one but myself to depend on. Any fear I may have had about doing something new or unknown was dwarfed by my fear of failure. My motto was simple: “Don’t look down and don’t look back.”

Since you have the same birthday as Edgar Allen Poe, do you think the stars were aligned in such a way that contributed to your ear for the written word?

I’m a big fan of Edgar Allen Poe, and I love that we have the same birthday. It’s one of those fun little coinkydinks I like to share with people. In that regard, I think writing is a gift, and that those of us who have been given the talent need to work to develop it. I suppose there is a certain kind of kinship among us all in that regard.  Poe wrote numerous works in his lifetime; the exact count is disputed. But the fact is, as a writer, we must work at the craft every day.  Like any of the arts, one has to practice to achieve their goals; there are no overnight successes. One may be born with talent, but to craft it, it takes practice, practice, practice. 

You founded and edited The Equestrian News. Where did your love of horses come from?

From the time I was a small child I loved horses. I grew up in Arizona and remember looking out the window of my third-grade class at an open horse pasture.  I couldn’t wait for class to end so that I could go and feed them through the fence. At the time I must have read every one of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I really learned to ride and it opened my world and my confidence. I often tell people that for girls I think horses teach them to be powerful in a very gentle way. 

What’s next for Carol Childs?

I’m currently working on book five for the Carol Childs series.  Stay tuned.

Thank you, Nancy.

Learn more about Nancy and her books online at her website: www.nancycolesilverman.com






11 comments:

Ellen Byron said...

Great interview! I learned new things about the author and the series.

David Bennett said...

Seems like author Nancy Cole Silverman has packed a lot of living into a short life. I'm glad she uses her experiences to such advantage, imbuing her characters with such storied histories and interesting personalities. Great interview.

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Nancy, for your terrific responses. Wishing you continuing success in your writing career.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Great interview. I was familiar with this series and author, but not in the detail this interview covered. Kudos to the writer of the books (Nancy) and the interview (Grace).

Joanne Guidoccio said...

Excellent interview! Your series sounds intriguing...I'm putting the "Doubt" books on my TBR list.

Nancy Silverman said...

Thank you, Grace, for such a terrific interview and to all the wonderful comments from your readers. Writers Who Kill is one of my favorite sites and I'm happy to be with you today. I'm particularly thankful to readers who find my stories and enjoy them as much as I have writing them. It's great to be able to pull from experience and mix and little fact with a lot of fiction. Stay tuned.

Gloria Alden said...

Very good interview I'll have to look up her books. I watch very little TV, but I do listen
to NPR every morning and evening for the news and sometimes the music in the afternoon. I like that NPR has as many women as men giving us the news.

Warren Bull said...

The books sound great. Thanks for sharing on WWK.

Shari Randall said...

Terrific interview, Nancy and Grace. The books sound so intriguing. Nancy, we women have come a long way - and still have far to go. My first job out of college was in the newsroom of a midsize newspaper. Only two women in the newsroom - the "women's page" editor and me. She was a lovely woman with a steel backbone. She taught me to be, as you put it, "powerful in a gentle way."

Margaret Turkevich said...

Great interview! Looking forward to reading your books. And how about an Ali update?

KM Rockwood said...

Thank you for giving us this blog. It's always fascinating to read a little of what's behind books (and series) that you enjoy!