Thrilled to showcase three more Debut Authors from the International Thriller Writers. Please help me welcome John Vanek, Sue Hinkin, and Joe Reid!
John Vanek …
… is a physician by training, but a writer by passion. Medicine is his wife, writing his mistress, and mysteries his drug of choice. Now he lives happily as an ink-stained wretch.
What is one of your favorite elements of your debut?
Without a doubt, the CHARACTERS! My novel, Deros, which is the first book in the Father Jake Austin mystery series, is heavily plot driven, but I take great care in crafting interesting characters. As the fine Irish author, Ann O’Farrell said about Deros, “A riveting tale of mystery and murder. A fast read, but the characters linger in your memory.” And as NY Times bestselling author Laura Lippman put it: “Interesting, nuanced characters in a finely wrought setting.”
… was raised in Chicagoland. She majored in Art at St. Olaf College in Minnesota, where her heroine Lucy’s Norwegian father wanted her to attend, but she wasn’t up for the winters. She did her graduate work in Ann Arbor, Michigan, before hightailing it to warmer climes.
Sue was a Cinematography Fellow at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, and was one of the first camerawomen in the news business. She also spent a number of years working in the NBC TV Art Department.
What is one of your favorite elements in your debut novel (Deadly Focus)?
Rizzoli & Isles, Cagney & Lacey, and now for me, Vega & Middleton. I’ve always been drawn to stories about strong female friendships. With disparate personalities and experiences, drawn together by passionate commitment to a common goal, Luca Vega and Bea Middleton take on the toughest adversaries. Family, in whatever form that may take, is a major backdrop. Bea is a twice-divorced single mother of two contentious teenagers, and Lucy is an orphan with a sometimes-suicidal case of survivor’s guilt.
What led you to writing your first novel?
I’ve been writing forever but the idea for this first thriller, of which there have been many iterations over several decades, came about from a story covered during my first job as a TV news camerawoman in the Midwest. With two major FCC sex discrimination suits against the station in the late 1970s, they hired me, the first woman to be out in the field with a 16mm film camera. Yep, pre-video. There was one black woman on the reporting staff, one woman tech person (me) and the two of us were often sent out together. From that inspiration came my two leading characters.
What are you working on now?
Book #2 in the Vega & Middleton series is entitled Low Country Blood. It features Bea Middleton and is her story as she returns home to evocative Savannah, Georgia to deal with an aging mother, family intrigue, and a brutally murdered fifteen-year-old nephew. Pub date January 2019
Book # 3, The Burn Patient, has Bea and Lucy together again in Los Angeles facing a war for control of the black tar heroin trade and the return of Lucy’s nemesis, Gary Mercer, back from the presumed dead. Burned beyond recognition, he’s hellbent on Lucy’s fiery destruction. Pub date late 2019
This entire series has a diverse, multi-cultural cast which has been both fun and intimidating to write in this time of fractious identity politics. Diversity, however, is reality– particularly in an urban setting like L.A. Respect, research and a strong sense of empathy has helped me dive in and write my cast of characters.
… is the son of a Navy helicopter pilot. After graduating from Notre Dame Law School, he became a patent litigator, and since then he has represented clients ranging from individual inventors to Fortune 50 companies in lawsuits valued in the millions—sometimes billions—of dollars.
He’s also spent an awful lot of time on airplanes and in airports.These travel experiences spawn the backdrops for his novels, which he writes each morning before dawn breaks and the real world intrudes.
Thanks for hanging out with me and the debuts.