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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Writing into the Shadows: Interview with Mystery Author Laura Griffin

Today's interview is with a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of writing romantic suspense. Her books have won numerous awards, including two RITA Awards and a Daphne du Maurier Award. Impressive!

Let's go back to the beginning. What made you decide to write suspense? Was there an author who made you think, "I could write a book like that?'
I’ve been a fan of suspense ever since I read my first Nancy Drew mystery as a child. I think the first author who made me think about writing suspense was Stephen King, who has such an amazing talent for pulling you into the story right away.

Aa an established author, can you tell me about the process of getting an agent?
Everyone’s process is so different. I’ve been working with the same agent, Kevan Lyon, since the very beginning of my career. For writers seeking a literary agent, it’s important to find someone who believes in your work and is a strong and diplomatic communicator.

What's the best encouragement you've had in your writing?
For me, the best encouragement always comes from readers. I love hearing from readers, especially when they have a strong emotional response to a story or a character. And I always like to know which characters they focus on and want to read more about.

We have all experienced rejection. Give me an example of one you've had, and how you learned to write past it. 
I certainly had plenty of rejections when I was first starting out. The key is to shake it off and keep working. If you believe in yourself and your story, hang in there. Perseverance is so important in this business.

What's the hardest part about writing for you? Starting? Creating a scene? Dialog? Tension, etc?

I love writing dialogue. I hear the characters talking together in my head, and it’s my job to get it all down, including the unspoken communication. I would say a challenge for me is sorting out the mystery side of the story, especially if it’s got a lot of twists and turns.

Besides writing your own book, you've collaborated with another author> Tell me about that process. 
Allison Brennan and I became friends years ago and always talked about how fun it would be to work together. We decided to team up of for a suspense series called Moreno & Hart, based on a private detective agency in Southern California. Allison writes from the point of view of Scarlet Moreno, while I write from the point of view Krista Hart, so each book features both of our voices. We've done three Moreno & Hart books, plus a novella, and the collaboration has been a lot of fun!

What type of publicity does your publisher expect you to do in promoting your book?
With every release, the publisher wants to see the author getting out there to talk about the book. Social media has made outreach easier than ever before, but it’s a lot to juggle. I use my personal newsletter, as well as Facebook and Twitter, to stay in touch with my readers. 
And I always enjoy book events where I get to meet people face to face.

What did you learn in publishing your first book that helped you in your writing?
I learned the importance of the revision process. Every book, no matter how wonderful you think it is, can be improved. I think sometimes beginning authors feel defensive about taking suggestions, but a good editor can add so much if you are willing to listen.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing?
There is a comradery among writers that I didn’t expect. I was surprised how many established authors were generous enough to encourage me as I was starting out. I think about them all the time and try to pay it forward.

What frustrated you the most?
The publishing business can be frustrating because so many factors that directly affect your book are beyond your control. But the important thing is to keep doing your best work, keep creating your best stories, and not get distracted by the ever-changing market forces.

What do you know now about writing that you wished you had known sooner?
I think it’s so critically important to protect your writing time. If you don’t, it will get gobbled up by everyone around you.

What is the best book you've ever read about the craft of writing?
There are so many! I love Stephen King’s ON WRITING. His tenacity is so inspiring.

What is the best advice you've been given about writing or that you've learned that you would like to pass along? 

Develop a thick skin and don’t give up.

Do you have any other works in the process?

At the moment, I’m working on two books—the next addition to my bestselling Tracers series, which focuses on a team of forensics experts in Texas who help detectives crack their toughest cases. And then I’m starting a new series about an elite firm of personal security specialists called Wolfe Security. Both series combine my two favorite genres: romance and suspense.

Any other tips or words you'd like to share about writing?

Don’t get caught up in what the market is doing. Write the story that is in your heart.

That's all for today's interview. Laura just released her newest Tracers book earlier this year, AT CLOSE RANGE. Each book features a stand-alone mystery and focuses on a different romantic couple, so people can pick up any book in the series and dive right it. For details about AT CLOSE RANGE:
You can also visit with her at or

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