You may remember my Cousin-in-Law, LynDee Walker, from such hits as Women Worth Knowing: Meet LynDee, or What is Sexy: Part Two, or her parenting articles for The Examiner, but pretty soon she is going to stand out in your mind as one of Henery Press‘ premier authors. Nothing could make me happier than to introduce you to LynDee as the author of the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series.
Crime reporter Nichelle Clarke’s days can flip from macabre to comical with a beep of her police scanner. Then an ordinary accident story turns extraordinary when evidence goes missing, a prosecutor vanishes, and a sexy Mafia boss shows up with the headline tip of a lifetime. As Nichelle gets closer to the truth, her story gets more dangerous. Armed with a notebook, a hunch, and her favorite stilettos, Nichelle races to splash these shady dealings across the front page before this deadline becomes her last.
The first book of the series, Front Page Fatality, will be available to the public on January 29, 2013, but since I know the author *hair fluff* I got an advance copy to enjoy. Now, I love spoilers, but I know most people don’t, so I won’t tell you ANYTHING about the story (because if I try, I’ll spill), but I will tell you this: Front Page Fatality is a tightly written, interesting mystery that is fun to read because of how vibrantly and realistically Nichelle Clarke is written. From the top of her head, to the soles of her Louboutin shod feet, Nichelle is personable, relatable, and exactly the kind of person you’d like to take out for Happy Hour.
Since I can’t do any real talking, I asked LynDee if she would. I’m excited to bring you The Outside Lane’s first official interview with soon-to-be-best-selling author, LynDee Walker.
TOL: Welcome to The Outside Lane, LynDee!
LW: Thanks for having me! I love your reviews, commentaries, and general attitude, and am very glad to be here!
TOL: Get us started! Tell us the story of how Front Page Fatality came out of your brain.
LW: The first draft came out insanely fast. It took five weeks to finish. And it was super long and very messy. It all started with a scene that’s in the middle of the book and is a spoiler for the story, so I don’t want to say which one, but it pestered me for a few days and I thought putting it in the computer would make it go away. Instead, I got bitten by the fiction bug.
I think it was borne of a desperation to get back to some sort of writing, because after almost five years away from journalism–as a stay-at-home mom–I didn’t realize how much I missed just the act of putting down words until I started writing that scene. I also missed the newsroom. Ergo, a reporter heroine that gives me the ability to play in that world without the long hours away from my babies.
I went back to what I thought then was the beginning of the story and wrote through to that original scene, then wrote from there to the end. I pantsed it the whole way: the best description I have for you is that it was like watching a movie in my head and transcribing what was happening. I had no idea what was coming next, and wrote so manically because I wasn’t sure when or if it would stop.
As I wrote, I took chapters to my mom and my best girlfriend and they kept asking to see more, so I kept writing. But then there were literally years of revising and revamping the story to get it to what you see today. I think there are maybe five or six sentences in the entire book that have survived since the rough draft.
TOL: That’s a lot of work. What was the most difficult part of getting the story from your thoughts to the page?
LW: Initially, it was finding time to do it fast enough with two small children and a part-time job. I knew nothing about writing fiction when I started, except that I got to use descriptive words and let people have opinions, so I just wrote.
When I began learning about good fiction writing and started revising, the most difficult parts were learning how to reveal a character in layers, and making sure the words conveyed the scene I had in my head to the reader (which is one of many reasons I adore my beta readers).
TOL: The audience is always right! But you’re used to an audience. You are an award winning journalist, and journalists are required to get straight to the facts and tell a story in short order. How did that affect your novel writing style?
LW: Adversely, at first, actually. I had so much fun getting to use all the flowery words I’d always been told were off-limits that the rough draft was way too long. But during revisions, I think my training came in handy by helping me pare out unnecessary words without affecting the story. And my fantastic editor and I tightened the book even through the last round of copy edits. I think in the end, my journalism background made for a fast pace and a tight story.
TOL: And your journalism background taught you how to write a tease, too. What comes next for Nichelle?
LW: She’s getting herself into more trouble digging around in another murky story, and her relationship with Joey is heating up. And of course, she’s shoe shopping.
TOL: I can’t wait! But we’ve got another month before everyone else can read Nichelle’s adventures, and I’m going to have to wait a lot longer! In the meantime, where else can we find your work?
LW: I do local freelance articles in Richmond, and I also write a parenting column for examiner.com. (http://www.examiner.com/elementary-years-parenting-in-richmond/lyndee-walker).
TOL: Thank you so much, LynDee! I’ll be sure to keep The Outside Lane readers updated on how to get Front Page Fatality.
For more information about LynDee or the Nichelle Clarke Headlines in Heels Mystery Series, check out these links: