Saturday, July 18, 2009

MISSING MARK: AUTHOR INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY

MISSING MARK
by Julie Kramer

Julie Kramer's debut, STALKING SUSAN, got her off to strong acclaim in the book world.
She won Best First Mystery at the RT Book Reviewers Choice Awards, as well as the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. She was a finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award and is also a nominee for Best First Novel in both the Anthony and Barry Awards. Now she has a new book, MISSING MARK, that takes readers into the increasing desperate world of TV news, where a reporter answers a want ad reading "Wedding Dress For Sale: Never Worn" and is drawn into a dangerous missing person case.

Interview with JULIE KRAMER--Author of MISSING MARK
What gets you started on a new book? Character or story idea?

My debut, STALKING SUSAN, started with my protagonist, a TV reporter with a harrowing past and a stalling career. From there she needed a ratings adventure, so I invented a serial killer annually targeting women named Susan. My sequel, MISSING MARK, features the same heroine, this time investigating a missing person case. I didn't want to write back to back serial killers (even though I'm told they sell well) because journalists cover a variety of stories and I wanted my series to reflect that.

What would you like to share with us about writing your favorite genre?


I like to think I'm writing a sub genre: the newsroom thriller. Readers rave about legal thrillers and medical thrillers and spy thrillers...why not newsroom thrillers? I like sharing with readers how newsrooms make decisions and how ratings influence what viewers see on the air. My fan mail indicates that readers are watching television news differently after reading my books. MISSING MARK, for example, shows how journalists decide which missing people get publicity and which don't. It can be a provocative discussion.

Where do you get your inspiration and how much research do you do?

I live my research. Because I'm a career television news producer, I know the world I'm writing. I'm often influenced by events around me as I write. While I was finishing MISSING MARK, a rare corpse flower bloomed at the Como Park Conservatory in St. Paul, MN. I joined eclectic plant watchers as they held their noses and soaked in botanical history. Then I went back to my computer and added a perfect scene starring a corpse flower.

For years, I've also been fascinated by wedding dress for sale want ads, especially those that claim to never be worn. I wonder about the backstory. Was it economics? Anger? Grief? Closet space? I asked myself, what if? And ended up with MISSING MARK. One of the themes I explore is a woman's attachment to her wedding dress. And I think that's the big question book clubs will spend the most time discussing: do you still have your wedding gown? If not, why not? If so, would you ever part with it?

What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?

Read a lot. Some people think you have to write at least a million words before you can write a publishable novel. I think you might have to read many million more. You learn so much about character development and technique from seeing how other authors execute plot and express voice.

I would also tell aspiring novelists that they can go farther than they think they can in story-telling.
Some writers tell me they hold back because they don't think readers will find a scene or premise believable. I remind them, truth is stranger than fiction. Would you believe it if I wrote a book about a woman who drove across the country to kill a rival for her lover? How about, to save time on the trip, she wore a diaper? And what if I made her an astronaut? You can go farther than you think in story-telling. That's what make scenes memorable.

Did you always know you wanted to be an author?

I grew up on a corn and cattle farm on the Minnesota-Iowa state line that's been in my family for 135 years. So writing a book seemed very far from my roots. My favorite childhood memories were waiting for the bookmobile to bring me a new Phyllis A. Whitney book. I thought more about being a librarian than being an author. Somehow I ended up a journalist. But they also appreciate telling good stories.

What's the difference between writing fact vs. fiction?


When wrote news, I always bemoaned that I was constricted by facts. I thought how much easier my work would be if I could just make things up. When I first tried to write fiction, I bemoaned not having any facts to guide me. Making things up seemed like cheating. I had to work through that before I could feel comfortable at the keyboard.
But I actually think news is a fine background for writing fiction. I've interviewed hundreds of people, many on the best or worst days of their lives, and I think that helped me develop an ear for dialogue.
For more information on Julie and her books, check out
www.juliekramerbooks.com


Ever been to a botched wedding?
Watch her book trailer, 40 seconds later,
it's almost like being there.


THREE MORE CHANCES
TO WIN MISSING MARK!
AND....
A DOUBLE WIN!
WINNER WILL NOT ONLY WIN
JULIE KRAMER'S
NEW BOOK MISSING MARK,

BUT HER PREVIOUS BESTSELLER
STALKING SUSAN!
ABOUT STALKING SUSAN:
I
nside the desperate world of TV ratings, an investigative reporter discovers that a serial killer is targeting women named Susan and killing one on the same day each year.


Television reporter Riley Spartz is recovering from a heart-breaking, headline-making catastrophe of her own when a longtime police source drops two old homicide files in her lap in the back of a dark movie theater. Both cold cases involve women named Susan strangled on the same day, one year apart. Last seen alive in one of Minneapolis's poorest neighborhoods, their bodies are each dumped in one of the city's wealthiest areas. Riley senses a pattern between those murders and others pulled from a computer database of old death records. Now the deadly anniversary is approaching.

But not just lives are at stake—so are careers.

November is television sweeps month, and every rating point counts. Riley must go up against a news director who cares more about dead dogs than dead women, a politician who fears negative stories about serial killers will hurt the city's convention business, and the very real possibility that her source knows more about the murders than he is letting on.

When Riley suspects the killer has moved personal items from one victim to the next as part of an elaborate ritual, she stages a bold on-air stunt to draw him out and uncovers a motive that will leave readers breathless.
SO......
IF YOU ENTERED TO WIN MISSING MARK IN THE EARLIER POST TODAY, GO LOOK AT THE COMMENT YOU LEFT AND DO THE FOLLOWING:

PLEASE PUT EACH COMMENT IN A SEPARATE COMMENT

+1 ENTRY: Find your comment from this morning's first MISSING MARK post and in your comment here, tell the number of your comment.

+1 MORE ENTRY: In the video, when BOOKLIST praised MISSING MARK, what exactly did it say about it? What was the brief description they gave the book?

+1 MORE ENTRY: In the Q & A with Julie Kramer, what does she say is her favorite genre that she writes about? What specifically does she call that genre (or sub-genre)?
ALL ENTRIES DUE BY NOON, JULY 31
REMEMBER THIS IS U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY, Sorry!
THAT'S IT! GOOD LUCK!

34 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I was comment #7 on the earlier post. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

Booklist called Missing Mark "the surprising final twist." milou2ster(at)gmail.com

bermudaonion said...

Julie Kramer says she writes a sub genre - newsroom thrillers. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Marjorie said...

What a great giveway, count me in, I am a loyal subscriber.

Marjorie said...

Wow, what an awesome giveaway, I am a subscriber, count me in.

Pam said...

I'm assuming this double giveaway is for US only too? I didn't comment on the first post for that reason, even though I'd love to read and win both of these books!

melacan at hotmail dot com

ChristyJan said...

I was comment #3

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

"the surprising final twist" from Booklist

hawkes(at)citlink.net

ChristyJan said...

Julie calls it a sub genre: the newsroom thriller

hawkes(at)citlink.net

wheresmyrain said...

I believe I was comment #1 on the previous post. Booklst called it the suprising final twist

holdenj said...

I am comment #2 in the original Missing Mark post!

JHolden955@aol.com

holdenj said...

She writes the new, hot sub-genre known as the newsroom thriller!

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

scottsgal said...

I was comment #18

msboatgal at aol.com

M. L. Kiner said...

"The Hong Kong Connection" is a legal thriller about a gutsy female attorney who takes on high ranking International officials. It's a taut, rollercoaster of a ride from New York to Palm Beach to Washington D.C. to Hong Kong. The plot is expertly woven, the characters persuasive, and the dialogue snappy and spot on.
www.StrategicBookPublishing.com/TheHongKongConnection.html

Neas Nuttiness said...

I was comment #8

Thanks

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

Booklist: A surprising final twist.

Thank you

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

Sub genre: the newsroom thriller.

Thanks

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

Neas Nuttiness said...

Please count me in on this one - thanks so much!

libneas[at]aol[dot]com

MJ said...

I'm comment 29.


mj.coward[at[gmail.com

MJ said...

Booklist said, thesurprising final twist.


mj.coward[at[gmail.com

MJ said...

She calls it newsroom thrillers.


mj.coward[at[gmail.com

Searcher said...

#31 in the first post

Searcher said... Would like to enter as I haven't read this author before and it sounds like I should know about her....

LooseEnds AT Snet Dot Net

Searcher said...

From BookList "the surprising final twist."

Searcher said...

The sub genre Julie Kramer refers to is "newsroom thrillers".

DarcyO said...

I was comment #34 on the earlier post.

dlodden(at)frontiernet(dot)net

DarcyO said...

Booklist said "the surprising final twist."

dlodden(at)frontiernet(dot)net

DarcyO said...

The sub-genre was the newsroom thriller.

dlodden(at)frontiernet(dot)net

Sue said...

I didn't comment on the earlier post, but they both look so thrilling. I'd love a chance!

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

Debbie said...

I didn't comment in the earlier post

Booklist - "the surprising final twist"

Debbie said...

I didn't comment on the previous post

Booklist - "the surprising final twist"

Debbie F
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

holdenj said...

Review comments: I think it's a great, catchy idea to have Riley discover what may become a ratings story in what's essentially the want ads. Don't we all wonder about those rings and dresses that are sold as "new"?

JHolden955 (at) gmail (dot) com

Thanks.

ChristyJan said...

+ From your review I learned that the story is full of page-turning killing and chaos, along with love mixed in with deceit, that all come together to create a fun and fast read . . . just what I want in a summer read!

hawkes(at)citlink.net

DCMetroreader said...

I learned that the neighbor has yard sales at off hours -- which really interests me b/c I love yard sales!


Kimspam66(at)yahoo(dot)com

DarcyO said...

I learned Riley becomes involved with a K-9 dog with a strong sense of smell when it comes to drugs.

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

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