I’ve always believed the story picks the writer. For me, an idea taps me on the shoulder and until I sit down and write it, the damn thing won’t leave me alone. At times it can get to be almost pesky. Like a nuisance gnat. It interrupts my day and side tracks my thoughts to the point I forget where I’m going or what I’m doing. Until finally, I sit down and start playing with the idea. Usually this means sketching out a few scenes or maybe a little dialog. Thing is, once I do that, I’m done for. Suddenly, I’m captive and whisked off into a new world, a hostage to my own imagination until I finish the project.
I have to say, coming from twenty-five years in talk radio, where I wrote both news and commercial copy for a living, I know it’s possible to write a story or a message without that magical muse-like connection. However, most of my professional life was tied to a clock, tight deadlines and an even stricter word count that didn’t allow for the muse to linger on my keyboard. Back then, it was always a matter of trying to beat the clock. But when it comes to writing a novel, to sitting down and spending months and sometimes even years on a draft, I think the writer has to feel compelled to write a story only that he or she could tell. In my opinion, writing a novel falls into the category of an obsession.
I felt that way about the Carol Childs Mysteries. After retiring from radio, I wasn’t looking to recreate the world I had left. In fact, I was quite busy founding an equestrian newspaper and happy as a cowgirl at camp writing and reporting on Southern California’s busy horsey-set. It wasn’t until I was thrown from my horse and laid up that I realized I was avoiding the muse in my life and while recuperating, started thinking about writing about what I knew best. Radio.
Maybe it was because I’d been on the head, having fallen off my horse, but the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. Soon I found myself sketching out some character profiles, and because I live in Los Angeles, creating a talk radio station like those I had worked for.
But more than anything else, I wanted to create a real female character driven by both her need and desire to advance herself and her career. And I wanted to show how she’d change. I didn’t want to create a superhero or an unbelievable cliché of a woman with a predictable happy arch to her being. What I wanted was a real working woman, one who has faced a lot of the day-to-day challenges most of us have faced in the workplace and then gone home to have dinner by herself over the kitchen sink. Trouble is, like good news, that’s not sexy enough for the airwaves. I’d have to spice it up a bit, and coming from a background of news and talk radio, I didn’t have to think that hard. So I created Carol Childs, a middle-aged, single working mom, in the midst of a career change. When the series opens, opportunity has knocked and Carol’s been given the chance – or more correctly, she’s created the opportunity – to follow her dream and become a field reporter for the local radio station where she has been working on the sales side. She’s as excited as she is unsure of herself, and her boss, a twenty-one-year-old whiz kid, named Tyler Hunt, is her biggest challenge and refers to her as The World’s Oldest Cub Reporter.
Sexism, ageism and difficult personalities are no stranger to anyone who’s ever worked in corporate America and creating a believable world behind the mic quickly became a delightful obsession for me. For the main story line, I could pull from the headlines of those stories Carol would be called upon to investigate. For the subplots, I need only look behind the mic, where I could create the internal conflict that went on inside a busy newsroom or any office in America.
Without thinking about it, I was back inside a news station with the hard graphic violence of murder and sex trafficking taking place off the page, while behind the mic, gallows humor offered a lighter side. Feminism, jealousy and office conflicts, not to mention why some news stories always seem to lead the news, are all topics I’ve enjoyed tackling in these soft-boiled modern day mysteries. After all, you can take the girl out of radio, but you can’t take the radio out of the girl.
As radio reporter Carol Childs investigates a series of Beverly Hills jewelry heists, she realizes her FBI boyfriend, Eric, is working the same case. Even worse, she may have inadvertently helped the suspect escape. The situation intensifies when the suspect calls the radio station during a live broadcast, baiting Carol deeper into the investigation.
In order for her to uncover the truth, Carol must choose between her job and her personal relationships. What started out as coincidence between Carol and Eric becomes a race for the facts-pitting them against one another-before the thieves can pull off a daring escape, leaving a trail of dead bodies behind, and taking the jewels with them.
Nancy Cole Silverman credits her twenty-five years in news and talk radio for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. But it wasn't until after she retired that she was able to write fiction full-time. Much of what Silverman writes about is pulled from events that were reported on from inside some of Los Angeles' busiest newsrooms where she spent the bulk of her career. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bruce, and two standard poodles.
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