At one point a deputy came to the front door, I saw his silhouette outlined in the door frame. His whole body sagged, his shoulders, his head. So telling and so emotional. And I wondered… What if he just found a body in a back room?
Remember the deputies had been there for hours, cleaning out the house. And I thought—as a crime fiction author, of course: law-enforcement officers themselves have been inside that house, touching everything and moving everything around. What if they have ruined a crime scene?
And the more I thought about it, the more I thought that would be the terrific beginning of the
And yes, in investigative reporting and in crime fiction, one story always leads to another! And it's those dominoes falling that make them so interesting.
(And a starred review from Library Journal says “Drop everything and binge-read until the mind boggling conclusion!” So I guess it worked.)
I have learned so much that translates into writing from my video experience! There have to be wide, medium, and tight shots in the video, just as there have to be wide, medium, and tight shots in my crime fiction. Understanding focal length has made such a big difference in how cinematic my books are. It’s all about the video—even though it’s only on paper.
Sure, back in the day (imagine old-sounding voice) when we had only film, we had to get back to the station to develop the film by 2:45 if it wanted to be on the 6 o'clock news.
The daybook is the list of stories that the assignment desk knows are taking place on a certain day. City Council meetings, school committee meeting, a court arraignment, press conference. So if it’s on the assignment desk daybook “radar,” that means they are aware of a story. If it's not on the daybook radar, that means it's a story the assignment desk has not been notified of.
Her opening scene in TRUTH BE TOLD has her deciding what name she is going to use. That’s
And yes, I agree she is wonderful…! And she’s still exploring who she'll be. But she is passionate, and compassionate, and really really smart. But as Sue Grafton explains about Kinsey, Liz revealed herself to me over time, and as the story evolved. She turned out to be even smarter than I had thought.
There is no "Lilac Sunday Killer,” though. Where that came from? Again, my imagination. But there is a case similar to it, which became the jumping off point for the Lilac Sunday murders. There is actually a Lilac Sunday in Boston, where the lilacs are in full bloom at the Arboretum. I thought that was a compellingly gorgeous setting.
You cover the topic of false confessions in Truth Be Told. Does it happen frequently? Is it usually done for the notoriety, however convoluted that is?
What if you do the wrong thing for the right reason? And that is one of the themes of truth be told.
You wrote the story in five third-person POVs. Did you write each story separately first? How did you know where to break each story to give way to anther’s story?
Talk about plate-spinning! The biggest challenge is keeping track of the time. I do it in a very low-tech way, by keeping a list on a yellow pad, scene by scene as I write the story.
How do I know where to break each story to give way to another story? The story does that, itself. It feels very natural to me.
It's almost…Method acting. So I try to think the way they would think. And a real person doesn't think in soundbites, right? Ideas pop into their head, thoughts and decisions emerge, and they make mistakes.
So I wanted it to sound realistic. Asking “how did that develop” is such a great question… Because it implies it was planned. Ha. It just turned out to be the voice.
How long does it take you to complete a manuscript? Is writing revision?