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    A Few Words With: Christina Hoag

    As a reporter, Christina Hoag has dealt with some of the most dangerous situations a journalist can experience, from facing down Colombian guerrillas to interviewing gang members and corrupt presidents. All of which was a great for learning to deal with the modern publishing industry. Hoag has indeed used that experience - and some from her own youth - to help inform her new career as Young Adult author. She spoke with me recently to talk about both her YA books and her gritty and incredibly compelling adult novel, "Skin of Tattoos."

     

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    A Few Words With: Libby Fischer Hellmann

    For someone who never intended to become a writer, Chicago-based Libby Fischer Hellmann has done a pretty good job of it. After years in TV news and then public relations, Hellman penned her first novel in 2002, “An Eye for Murder,” the first in the Ellie Foreman series. The book was nominated for several awards, and it set Hellmann off on a whole new path. Fourteen more books followed, as have many more awards and nominations. In recent years she has also significantly grown her profile in the crime fiction world, hosting writing-centric radio and television shows and serving a term as president of Sisters in Crime, a national organization dedicated to supporting the growing number of women who write crime fiction, mysteries and thrillers. We sat down recently to talk about her work and the changing nature of the publishing industry. 

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    A Few Words With: Richie Narvaez

    If any writer has paid his dues, it is Richie Narvaez. From men's magazines to kid's books, from his award-winning short story collection "Roachkiller" to the buzz of his new novel, "Hipster Death Rattle," from aspiring student to respected writing teacher, the Brooklyn-born Narvaez has covered a lot of ground in his career. We sat down recently to talk about his work, the landscape for Latino writers in today's publishing industry and the joys of finally seeing his very first full-length novel hitting the shelves.

     

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    A Few Words With: J.A. Jance

    It took a while for Judy "JA" Jance to be able to fully pursue her ambition to become a writer, but boy when she did she made the most of it. Since publishing "Until Proven Guilty" in 1985 she has become one of the most successful and prolific authors in the world. She produces four - yes, four! - different mystery series featuring a collection of very different but equally engaging characters: J.P. Beaumont, Joanna Brady, Ali Reynolds and the husband and wife team of Brandon Walker and Dianna Ladd. Her newest book "Field of Bones," is her 56th novel, and she already has one more in the can and another she is working on. Somehow she found time recently to share some insight with me about her work, the state of the publishing industry for women and how she handles rejection.

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    A Few Words With: Lisa de Nikolits

    Since breaking onto the scene with her first novel (The Hungry Mirror) in 2010, suspense author Lisa de Nikolits has turned out one compelling page turner after another, most dealing with the darker aspects of human behavior. Originally from South Africa, de Nikolits lived and worked in Australia, the UK and the United States before becoming a Canadian citizen in 2003, gaining experiences and sensibilities that have greatly influenced her work ever since. I sat down with her recently to talk about her new novel "Rotten Peaches," the use of humor in otherwise gritty stories and how she creates complex characters.

     

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