Wednesday Coffee with LynDee Walker
Welcome LynDee Walker! I’m thrilled to have you over today. Kick back and tell us all your secrets.
Thanks for having me, Jerrie! I really enjoy reading your blog and am glad to be here.
Tell us about your new release.
The book is a humorous mystery with sassy, smart heroine who is a lot of fun to write. Nichelle is a reporter who gets herself into more than she was really looking for when she starts poking around in a crime story that doesn’t add up. Plus, there are sexy men, shoes, and chocolate.
You write with a sense of humor, which I think is a true art form. What made you pick this genre?
I’m not sure I picked it—at least, not consciously. I read a lot of humorous mystery: Laura Levine’s Jaine Austen mysteries are some of my favorite books, and have been for years. When I started writing about Nichelle, I really didn’t know what kind of story it was going to turn out to be, but the funny elements have always been there. I love to read books that can make me laugh, so that’s what I wanted to write. The early drafts had a lot more romance, though. It wasn’t until I was revising that I figured out it was a mystery.
Where do you find story ideas?
A lot of the ones in Front Page came from my experience as a reporter, but I made them a little more interesting or funny.
How do you research for your novels?
I am on a first-name basis with Google (and probably on some sort of watch list for serial killers for some of my search terms). When I can’t find what I need online, I interview people.
What about your current release excites you the most?
Everything! It’s my first novel, so just the idea that people will read it and it might make someone laugh or make their day a little better is very exciting.
Do you set daily expectations or goals for your writing?
I try to hit at least 1,000 words a day, on average, and to write every day.
What do you know now that you wished you’d known when you started writing?
That fiction is a tough business! I worked in the news business for almost a decade and I have a pretty thick skin, but fiction publishing is a whole different beast. I took a break from querying for an entire year before I finally sold Front Page Fatality, and I think it really helped me gain perspective. Often, writers get so miserable in the query-go-round, they forget why they started writing in the first place. In that year, I wrote a whole other book, and rediscovered what I loved about writing. I think that also strengthened my skills, which helped when I went in to revise Front Page Fatality again.
Do you ever hit the wall or find you’ve written yourself into a corner? How do you turn that around?
All. The. Time. I plot out my mysteries (usually backward), but when it comes to the rest of the story, I’m a total pantser. So I find myself following rabbit trails that turn out to be ridiculous and won’t work in the story. I fix it by cutting the parts that don’t go. I’ve learned that you can’t get too attached to a particular scene or subplot, because that makes it hard to ax it.
Okay…enough with the business stuff! How about some personal insider info.
When you’re not writing or reading, what would we find you doing?
Playing with my little ones, drinking coffee, reading, or eating Mexican food. Or occasionally, sleeping.
Favorite food or recipe?
My all-time favorite food ever is my mother’s cornbread. She made it in a cast-iron skillet with sugar and Crisco, and it was legendary. Seriously. People talked about it in eulogies at her funeral. Unfortunately, no matter how many times she showed me, I never learned how to make it right. But I keep trying.
Do you have a pet? Cat or dog?
I have a six-pound toy pomeranian, and we think she’s the most awesome dog ever. Her name is Scarlett.
Tell us one thing about you that might surprise us…it can be a secret…we won’t tell.
Oh, goodness! I’m a reporter at heart, and as such, I’m lousy at keeping secrets. Let’s see … okay here’s something that people might not guess from reading my work: I’m a total Disney nerd. I have always loved the movies (Pooh bear is my favorite) and my husband took me to the parks for the very first time on our first wedding anniversary. It was on my “I want to do this before we have a baby” list, because I’d never been for myself. Now, we take the monkeys about every other year, and as much fun as it is for them, it’s more fun for me. I love the colors and the sounds and the food and the characters. I’m one of those people who could actually be happy going to Disney World every day.
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.
“Sweet cartwheeling Jesus. Let’s go see what else we can find out,” I said. “Kiss your Saturday goodbye, Mr. Columnist. You’re going to be at the office tomorrow.” And so was I. So much for my leisurely weekend.
I turned to dive back into the crowd in search of Aaron and mid-whirl, I noticed Jenna standing there, still and surprised. Her eyes were doing that white-all-around thing again.
“People died out there?” she squeaked.
I patted her hand. “You want to go back to the car?”
“No.” She squared her small shoulders and gripped my arm a little tighter. “I want to go to work with you.”
I turned back to Parker. “Grant Parker, this is my friend Jenna Rowe. This wreck crashed girls’ night. She drank too much tequila, but she’s very excited to see the glamorous world of journalism up close.”
“The best way to do that is after too much tequila,” he said. “Nice to meet you, Jenna.”
The thin fingers around my arm dug in tighter, and I didn’t think their owner was breathing. I elbowed her lightly in the ribs, rolling my eyes. Her forceful exhale sounded like a sigh as she gazed at Parker.
“I really love your column,” she lied. Jenna hated sports in any incarnation. She was already bemoaning the start of Gabby’s soccer season, and it was three months away.
“Thank you.” He smiled.
We moved through the crowd as a unit until I saw a familiar face.
“Mike!” I waved at Sergeant Sorrel from the narcotics unit.
“Nichelle,” he said, turning from the water to face me when I stopped next to him. “Where’ve you been? You missed the TV crews. They all left about twenty minutes ago.”
Damn. Charlie no doubt drank her margaritas with her scanner in her lap.