My mother hails from Devon in Southwest England. Yet her favorite place is one county west - Cornwall. It is home of things that that go bump in the night - smugglers' coves, rolling mists, and Bodmin Moor. These natural landmarks inspired Daphne Du Maurier to write her thrilling stories, including Jamaica Inn. Du Maurier is the namesake for the annual award given by the RWA's Kiss of Death Chapter. I feel a certain kinship to an author who receives the Daphne Du Maurier Award .... please join me in welcoming NYT's bestselling author and the Daphne Du Maurier Award winner, Laura Griffin. Her bio is just as intriguing as her books:
For the first few years, I lived all over the place doing what I call extreme reporting--either slogging through snow and ice to cover riveting school board meetings in the Chicago suburbs, or braving scorching tropical heat to interview American expats living in the Philippines.
|Laura in the Philippines|
Kim: Can you share an unusual experience (or something unusual you learned) during extreme reporting?
Laura: Ilearned never to look down when you’re careening around a mountainside in a jeepney. The Philippines was definitely an exciting place to live and work!
Actually, one of the most useful things I learned during my reporting days came from my first news editor. He told me, “Don’t write from you chair.” I learned that any story is better when the writer goes out to meet and interview the people affected by a news event. When you meet someone in person, you get so many important details you might otherwise miss, and it’s those details that bring your story to life.
These days I make my home in Austin, where the sun shines about three hundred fifty days a year and the favorite local slogan is 'keep Austin weird.'
Kim: What's "weird" about Austin?
Kim: What's "weird" about Austin?
Laura: Austin is an amazing place. It’s outdoorsy, artsy, vibrant. It’s known as the live music capital of the world, so there’s a feeling of creativity downtown. Austin has a huge university and a strong tech industry--both of which attract lots of young people. And of course Austin’s also home to the state capitol, which is good for keeping a few suits in town.
|FBI' s training area|
Kim:Your website includes photos from your Kiss of Death "field trips" - which has been your favorite?
Laura: My favorite so far was visiting the FBI Academy at Quantico. Not only did I get to meet scores of interesting people, I got to tromp around the campus, visit Hogan’s Alley (where new agents practice take-downs and arrests) and learn to shoot a pistol at the firing range. Most importantly, I met some special agents who have been incredibly helpful in answering my pesky story questions.
Kim: What inspired the Tracers series?
Laura: I first started thinking about the Tracers series when I visited a crime lab and got a look at an evidence room jam-packed with boxes from cold cases. The shelves filled with rape kits, in particular, made an impression on me. Although we have the technology to solve many crimes using DNA, so many labs are terribly backlogged. In the Tracers series, I explore the idea of what it might be like if someone set up a privately funded lab where homicide investigators and cold case detectives could go for help solving their very toughest cases.
The Tracers came out of this idea, and it’s been my joy to populate the books with dedicated cops, detectives, and forensic specialists who use cutting-edge technology to get justice for crime victims. All the books are romantic suspense, so every mystery is interwoven with a love story. My goal is to keep the reader’s heart pounding.
Next up in the series is Snapped, which is book four. People often ask me if they need to read the Tracers books in order, and I tell them it isn’t necessary. The characters overlap, but each plot stands alone, so feel free to dive right in!
Mahalo, Laura, for joining us today! To learn more about Laura, her books, and her awards, check out her social media:
- Website: www.lauragriffin.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/LauraGriffinAuthor
Laura's website has a special page for The Tracers series - check it out at this link.
Thanks to Pocket, I am giving away a print copy of SNAPPED to one randomly selected commenter:
SOPHIE BARRETT THINKS SHE’S LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.
SHE MAY BE DEAD WRONG.
On a sweltering summer afternoon, Sophie Barrett walks into a nightmare. A sniper has opened fire on a college campus. When the carnage is over, three people—plus the shooter—are dead, and dozens more injured. Sophie escapes virtually unscathed. Yet as details emerge from the investigation, she becomes convinced that this wasn’t the random, senseless act it appeared. No one wants to believe her—not the cops, not her colleagues at the Delphi Center crime lab, and definitely not Jonah Macon, the homicide detective who’s already saved her life once.
Jonah has all kinds of reasons for hoping Sophie is mistaken. Involving himself with a key witness could derail an already messy investigation, not to mention jeopardize his career. But Sophie is as determined and fearless as she is sexy. If he can’t resist her, he can at least swear to protect her. Because if Sophie is right, she’s made herself the target of a killer without a conscience. And the real terror is only just beginning. . . .
To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about what draws you to a mystery, suspense, and/or thriller book.
2. This giveaway is open to all readers.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, September 3, 10 pm in Hawaii. I'll post the winner on Sunday, September 4.
Kim in Hawaii
The Jamaica Inn is a real pub on Bodmin Moor! It is home of the Daphne Du Maurier Museum - hubby and I checked it out in 2008 on our way to Cornwall's castles. I learned that Du Maurier was married to Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Browning, father of "British Airborne Forces" and Deputy Commander of Operation Market Garden (which inspired the movie A BRIDGE TOO FAR).
While Cornwall is breathtaking, its weather is unpredictable. Plus Laura is closer to Hawaii than England. Perhaps I can entice her with a visit to the Honolulu Police Department Museum. It has a display dedicated to the "real" Charlie Chan - Chang Apana. When our Scout Den toured the museum in spring 2010, it had a small display for Hawaii Five-O memorabilia. With the success of the new Hawaii Five O, I expect the display to grow larger.
|Chang Apana and "Charlie Chan"|