Debra Webb’s THE SECRETS WE BURY – Author Provocateur Podcast

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Today's guest is the prolific suspense novelist Debra Webb, a USA-Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author with over one hundred and fifty books to her name.

Debra’s latest novel, THE SECRETS WE BURY, is the first in a new romantic suspense series whose protagonist, Dr. Rowan Dupont—formally Nashville Police Department’s forensic psychologist—also happens to be an undertaker’s daughter.

Rowan, who comes from the small town of Winchester TN, is haunted by the mysterious drowning death of her twin sister. Between her mother’s subsequent suicide and the recent murder of her father, returning to Winchester to run the funeral home feels fitting—even if it leaves her vulnerable to an obsessive serial killer.

Debra and I not only discussed her plotting and how her own past affects her writing, she also has sage advice to authors just starting out: “If what you write is what readers want to read, don't deviate from what works best for them—and for you.” 

James Rollins – CRUCIBLE

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James Rollins has written enough bestselling novels to fill a tall bookcase. In most of them, a historical event, or artifact, is the catalyst for a modern-day catastrophe. Sometimes Rollins will find the perfect plot concept from reading an article. Sometimes it’s sparked from his travels. For his latest novel, CRUCIBLE, it came from a place that even surprised him. (You'll have to hear the interview to find out where.)

In CRUCIBLE, the Spanish Inquisition is the catalyst for a religious cult's modern-day witch hunt in the not-too-distant-future. Fair warning: should the events depicted in this novel come to pass and scientists soon develop an artificial intelligence capable of warp-speed learning capacity, fact will be much scarier than fiction.

Click here to read the feature article accompanying this podcast interview in TheBigThrill.org

David Baldacci – Long Road to Mercy

 

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According to internationally bestselling author David Baldacci, when you’ve written as many books as he has—ten series, or a total of thirty books, and counting; and another twelve stand-alone novels—there is one way to keep his writing razor-sharp: “Start from Square One: create a new character, a new series—a new world.”

With his latest novel, LONG ROAD TO MERCY, Baldacci has done just that. His new protagonist, female FBI agent Atlee Pine, must cover a desolate Far West outpost on her own. And although its size is intimidating—it includes Grand Canyon National Park—Atlee is strongly motivated to succeed. She sees it as a way to avenge the tragic death of her twin sister, Mercy, who was abducted by a serial killer when the girls were only six years old.

David and I talked about his process in creating new, complex characters and weaving real-time geopolitical incidents into a heart-pounding plot.

Click here to read the accompanying feature interview with David in TheBigThrill.org

 

Lee Child – PAST TENSE

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The iconic loner anti-hero, Jack Reacher, has made thriller writer Lee Child an internationally renowned author.

Child’s debut novel, Killing Floor—the first of 23 Reach books—won both the Anthony and the Barry awards for Best First Mystery.

The 9th novel, THE ENEMY, won both the Barry and the Nero awards for Best Novel and became a film starring Tom Cruise.

I interviewed Lee about the latest book in the series, PAST TENSE, in which a turn in the road takes Jack to his long-deceased father’s hometown, where the ghosts of his past aren’t necessarily dead and buried.

To read my print interview with Lee, click here to go to TheBigThrill.org

Author Provocateur Interviews: Kristan Higgins

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New York Times best-selling author Kristan Higgins’ eighteenth novel, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT, follows three women—best pals Emerson, Marley, and Georgia—whose lifetime battles with obesity were the bonds that brought them together. The death of one provides the catalyst for self-discovery, change, and acceptance for her friends.

TO ENTER THE CONTEST FOR 1 of 3 PRIZES OF THIS NOVEL, CLICK HERE…

Money makes any place magical. Proof of this: the dancing bunny of Ross, California.

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Got to play yesterday a bit in Marin County, California. One of our favorite walks is in Ross, California, a very posh little village, just north of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Behind the stately gate is this beautiful home, a dancing bunny cavorts on the beautifully manicured front yard. You see it there, right? For that reason alone, if I were the owner, I'd smile every time i entered the house. (Okay, that, and the fact that the house is worth an estimated $10 million +).

This bunny is doing a happy dance, for good reason,

—Josie

 

NaNoWriMo Tip #11: Why the voice you choose matters.

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Yesterday I read a comment from an author participating in National Novel Writing Month that made me wince: she was bemoaning the fact that she'd started her book in first person, but now realizing that third person worked better for the story, didn't want to go back and make the changes needed.

In my head, I was thinking, NOOOOOOOOOOO!

Trust me, it's worth the time to make the fix.

Been there, done that. Of my five published novels, four of them are written in first person: that is to say, one of the characters narrates the story, from his/her point-of-view, for the reader.

When it comes to fiction, this is not norm, for a very good reason: sometimes the story needs to be told from many points of view, or in “third person.”

True-Hollywood-Lies
Impossibly Tongue-Tied,
the one novel of mine which was written in third person, didn't start out that way. I spent two weeks and many pages before I figured out that what had worked so wonderfully for my first novel, True Hollywood Lies, would be the death of my second.

True Hollywood Lies is told from the point-of-view of its heroine, Hannah: all the other characters are seen through her eyes, their actions and motives scrutinzed through the mess of Hannah's emotional pain, which comes from the sudden demise of a father with whom she never got to reconcile their differences. He was a revered film star who'd had numerous wives and lovers. As a personal assistant to a red hot film star who reminds her too much of her dad, Hannah has to work hard not to be blinded by his charisma, at the expense of her own dreams and desires. 

 

CandidateThe Candidate takes place in Washington, D.C.,  but follows several characters, all of whom have personal agendas or traumatic plights that put them at cross purposes, and puts the nation in danger.. The hero, Ben, is desperate to find a presidential candidate who won't implode on him. The vice-president wants a slam-dunk into the White House, and will do anything to get it. And the mysterious love of Ben's life, Maddie is a pawn in everyone's game.

Of course, the goal is to make it so that the reader enjoys the twists and turns–and hopefully doesn't see what comes next. 

That's what makes the book so fun: lots of shenanigans happens before the explosive climax.

But had I kept slogging it out to make the story first person, the reader would not have gotten to enjoy all the fun leading up to the climax.

The best rule of thumb in choosing voice is this: Go with what works best for the reader. 

Even if you have to start over and replace all the “I”s with “She”s or “He”s.

The pay-off will be a wide open vista of opportunities for your characters. 

Their actions will speak volumes to your readers in the way that your first-person voice could never do.

(c) 2011 Josie Brown

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READ YESTERDAY'S TIP, HERE…

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I've got a question for you, and be honest: Have you ever started a story in the wrong voice, then had to change it? If so, how are were you into it, before you realized it?

Happy National Novel Writing Month,

— Josie

  

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Thanks, Multnomah County Public Library, for putting me on your shelves.

Multnomah fallsMultnomah County (OR) Library has nine copies of SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES on its shelves, and I feel honored that it does.

It's doubly sweet to me when the library is based in one of the most environmentally awe-inspiring places on earth.

If you have not yet visited Multonomah, County, you're missing some eye candy. It is home to the spectacular falls that carry the county's name, as well as the famed Columbia River Gorge.

It is county seat is Portland, OR.

My husband and I discovered Multnomah County late this summer. After a reading in the Seattle Area, we took to the road to play there (its only a couple of hours away) because Multnomah Falls was on our bucket list.

Every drop lives up to its reputation for breathtaking beauty.

That night and the next we hung in Portland, the county seat and one of the most laid-back food-tastic cities in the country. The restaurants we tried were innovative and reasonably priced. We tried Davis Street Tavern and Clyde Common.  Both: To. Die. For.

Of course, no stop in Portland is complete without also perusing the famed Powell's Bookstore. Yes, it had a few copies of SECRET LIVES OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES–among the multitude of others in its block-to-block-to-block-to-block humongous store! Not to mention its technical bookstore, and academic branch…

It was mid-September, and yes it was drizzling…but that didn't stop us from walks to the riverfront. We weren't the only one. It was also the weekend of Portland's Race for the Cure. Seeing so many pink ribbons makes your heart swell.

Portland truly is a city with a big heart,

–Josie

 BabyPlannerCoverIn Bookstores April 5, 2011!
THE BABY PLANNER – A Novel by Josie Brown

(Simon & Schuster/Gallery Books)

ISBN#: 9781439197127

"I loved it! Josie Brown captures the highs and lows of love, lust and marriage with heartwrenching  pathos. I'm recommending it to all my friends as the perfect beach read!"
Lisa Rinna, actress, and author of the novel, Starlit

Order your copy today: 

From Amazon / Amazon Kindle

From Barnes & Noble / 

From Books a Million

From Books Inc.

From Borders

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's


Sperm Banking on the Future

Sperm The world is low on sperm. 

And I had to hear it from my
stockbroker.

He was recommending sperm bank
stocks.  He even suggested, however
delicately, that Martin make several deposits.

Too late, I informed him. That
branch was closed years ago, after the birth of our second child.

Most single women I know lament
their difficulties in finding a few good men. Now, beside such coveted traits
as wit, intellect and cute buns, the Significant Other Rating System of a 21st
Century woman will also include a high sperm count.

Needless to say, in-vitro will be
en vogue.

I expect the Republican Party
will take credit for this occurrence: without babies, there is no need for a
welfare system, he’ll crow, and at last, the budget will be balanced.

What the politicos don’t realize
is that the true crisis right now is not propagation, but in the wellbeing of
the children already walking on this planet. The majority of our elementary,
high school and college facilities have lowered their standards, so our
children are learning less than we did. While we’re busy making ends meet, MTV Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of Atlanta are giving our latchkey kids their version of our world.  We get home too late to make real
meals, so our kids chow down on candy bars, sodas, hormone-injected milk and
meat, and pre-packaged, microwavable preservative-laden foods. 

Let's not forget the PCBs and
DDTs in our oceans, streams and lakes. There's now an island of trash in the Pacific Ocean that is bigger than Texas. It's subprime real estate now, but when the ice caps melt, it may be the only game in town.

Talk about an ocean view.

And we wonder why sperm counts
are dropping.

Keep one thing in perspective:
Compared to childrearing, baby making has always been overrated. A 20-hour
labor is manna compared to the first time your surly, hormonal-driven teenager
comes home at three in the morning when his curfew was at 10 o’clock.

Those bemoaning the drop in sperm
count are welcomed to spend a weekend with our kids.  It may change your mind on the whole picture.

Okay, seriously though, before we all start investing in
sperm bank stock, let’s give humankind one more chance to renew itself: our new
credo should be “One Egg, One Sperm."  Why does the average male need to produce 300 million sperm
in the first place?

That’s so typical of a man: use
one sperm cell, and throw out 299 million others.


—Josie


SLHW fauxsmall  Josie' s Next Book: Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Downtown Press

(ISBN: 9781439173176)

Look for it in bookstores June 1, 2010

From Amazon

From Barnes & Noble

From Books a Million

From Borders

From Copperfield's

From Your Local Independent Bookstore

From Powell's

Danielle Steel: Aide Embezzled Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars!

Danielle-Steel

Danielle Steel leads the lush life she writes about: gorgeous gowns, jewels, furs, mansions in San Francisco's tony Pacific Heights (the one she owns, the former Alma Spreckels mansion, is one of the city's showpieces) Because I'm all authors grabbing the brass ring and making it big, I applaud Ms. Steel's tenacity, and the body of work and fans that have paid it off.

Even as I walk past her stunning home, I hadn't fathomed just how MUCH money a financially successful novelist can make. I guess because so many of us — make that TOO many — don't make even enough to do our craft full time, if we want to eat and pay our rent, too.

I guess that's why, when I saw this newsbyte, you could have knocked me over with a feather.

With all due respect to Ms. Steel:

Hell yeah, if $400,000 was missing from my account (I'm sure it was taken in bits and pieces: you know, a thousand here, another thou there) I would have figured it out — and fast!

Here's the report from the Associated Press:

Tue Sep 29, 12:46 am ET
SAN FRANCISCO – A former aide to Danielle Steel is facing time in federal prison after admitting she stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from the romance novelist.
Federal prosecutors announced Monday that 47-year-old Kristy Watts, who also goes by the name Kristy Siegrist, pleaded guilty last week to one count of wire fraud and four counts of tax evasion.
Prosecutors say Watts admitted stealing at least $400,000 while handling accounting and other duties for Steel.
Watts worked for the best-selling author from 1993 to 2008.
Investigators determined Watts had deposited checks from Steel's accounts into her own account and used Steel's credit cards for herself.
Sentencing is set for Feb. 4 in federal court in San Francisco.

I guess you can be too rich, if not too thin,

—Josie

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My Next Book:

Secret Lives of
Husbands and Wives

Simon & Schuster/Pocket
September 22010