Today I have the pleasure of having Don Farmer and Chris Curle with me. They are excited about their new thriller, DEADLY NEWS. It is advertised as being “by Don Farmer with Chris Curle.” What does the “with” mean?
Don: I wrote the book, but Chris’s contributions were a major part of the project. She did much of the research, helped with character development and the proofreading, the “Are you sure you want him to say that?” sort of help. She calls herself my “Backup Singer.”
When I was a high school sophomore, a civics class required essays on what we wanted to do in life. I had no real idea so I wrote that I’d like to be an electrical engineer. The teacher responded, “You obviously know nothing about electrical engineering, but your writing is pretty good. Try that for a living, maybe.” So I did.
Joanne: Let me direct this question to Chris. What ‘s the hardest part of writing a book for you?
Chris: It’s the promotion and marketing of the book. We’re journalists, not sales people. We wish we had sales skills, because it’s hard to say, ‘Look at me, look what I’ve done.'”
Joanne: What’s the genre of DEADLY NEWS?
Don: It’s best described as a “murder thriller,” set against the backdrop of the TV News industry. It contains a lot of fictional but very true to life portrayals of some of the nutty and nice people in that business. We drew on our almost six decades of working in major league news media: CNN, ABC News and more.
Joanne: This is not your first book. You wrote a non-fiction book earlier, right?
Don: Yes, in the mid 90s, I co-wrote ROOMIES, TALES FROM THE WORLDS OF TV NEWS AND SPORTS, with my college roommate and lifelong friend, Skip Caray, the late, legendary voice of the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks. His dad was Harry Caray, of Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting fame.
The publisher was Longstreet Press, a small, traditional publishing house, no longer in business.
Having that “writing credit” opened a few doors when we did this book, DEADLY NEWS. More importantly, a friend introduced us to her publisher, an award-winning independent publisher, HEADLINE BOOKS, INC. (2013 Independent Publisher Of The Year, 2011 International Independent Publisher of the Year). Our experience with them has been excellent.
Joanne: Do you always write in the same POV?
Don: My first book, ROOMIES, Skip and I each wrote our segments in our own first person. DEADLY NEWS is written in narrative style with no first person. One feature some people say they appreciate is the “true-to-life, realistic dialogue” peppered in large measure through the story.
Another common device we use is listening to what a character is thinking/saying to one’s self. It is helpful if not overdone, especially in revealing the character of the characters, such as, “Wow, I’m sick of seeing that guy on TV”(thinking this) rather than the narration, “He realized he was sick of seeing on TV.”
Joanne: What’s the hardest part in the writing process for you?
Don: Continuity, in the timelines, in the characters’ vocabularies, manner of speaking, etc., and in conveying the technology and other factual aspects of the setting, process of the plot, etc.
Joanne: There is a big difference between being a journalist and being an author? What’s the best part of writing a novel versus writing and delivering news in print, on TV , etc.?
Don: Writing a novel is liberating. A good journalist sticks to the facts and should not make up stuff (even though some do, often to enhance their view of things). Fiction writers, by definition, make stuff up, yet can draw on true-life experiences to give the story a ring of truth.Sometimes readers question an unusual feature of the plot’s action, saying such things as, “You couldn’t have made that up, right?” We smile.
Joanne: Where can readers go to buy your book?
Don: www.deadlynewsthriller.com See the below flyer.
Here is a brief excerpt from the first chapter of DEADLY NEWS.
Campbell checked his watch, but couldn’t see the dial in the dark corner of the balcony (of the 46th floor condo).
He turned and looked out on the city, the lights of Peachtree Road winding south toward the lighted skyscrapers downtown.
Lia opened a door from the kitchen and slipped onto the balcony without Campbell knowing she had returned. She glided up to him as he stood looking out, put her arms around his waist and kissed his right ear. “Some view,” she said.
“The city looks great too,” Campbell said with a grin, turning to face her, leaning against the concrete railing of the balcony, his back to the city lights.
“And you, my dear, are sensational.”
Lia smiled and let the tips of her fingernails brush against his stomach, just above the belt buckle.
Campbell sighed and reached for her. The marijuana joint in his hand touched her dress where it closed at her lower back. It hissed, leaving a small burned spot on the cloth.
“Oh Jeez, I’m sorry,” he said, fumbling to wipe off the burn.
“It’s nothing, no problem,” she whispered.
He dropped the joint and stepped on it, then reached for her face with both hands.
Lia looked up, smiled, and purred, “Lean back.”
She touched his belt, then the buckle, then the tab on his zipper. She pulled it about half an inch. He closed his eyes.
“Lean back, honey, come on now,” she whispered.
As Campbell arched his back against the railing, thrusting his pelvis forward, Lia leaned down and grabbed him under each knee.
With a burst of upper body strength that would have surprised anybody who saw it, Lia jerked Campbell’s legs up and shoved them backwards.
He teetered for a moment, grabbing at the air.
She pushed harder on both legs and Campbell tumbled over the railing.