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Wedding bells are ringing at the Richmond Telegraph, and maid of honor Nichelle Clarke is determined to give her friends the perfect fairytale beginning to their happily ever after. So when a corpse crashes rehearsal weekend, Nichelle ditches her wedding coordinator shoes for her crime reporter ones, and a little poking around turns up a big problem: the victim and the groom have a history, and it’s not a pretty one.
Evidence against groom Grant Parker piles up, leaving Nichelle wishing a hostile bridesmaid was still her biggest worry as she tries to fend off Richmond’s favorite TV reporter—and her own scheming publisher. At odds with the cops, her beloved editor, and the ticking clock, Nichelle races to uncover the truth and save the day before this perfect wedding turns into a funeral.
Q: LynDee, welcome back to Island Confidential and congratulations on your latest! Tell us a little bit about your protagonist, Nichelle.
A: I think Nichelle is pretty fabulous: A young reporter who gives her all to her job, friends, and family, and is smart and curious enough to solve a few murders between hunting designer heels on eBay and romantic evenings with her sexy boyfriend. Flawed, funny, and occasionally sassy, she’s a great imaginary friend. I always have fun opening my laptop and seeing where her story is headed on a given day.
Q: How much of you is in Nichelle? How would you feel about her in real life?
A: Nichelle has a few of my quirks (playing with her hair when she’s deep in thought), my fierce loyalty to people I care about, and my dog. I was a journalist in my pre-mom former life, and an investigative piece did almost get me arrested once—but I never got shot or tangled up with the mafia.
My favorite compliment is when readers tell me they wish they could have her as a girlfriend in real life. I agree. She doesn’t always make the choices I’d make, and she’s not always the smartest or prettiest woman in the room. But she’s spunky and loyal nearly to a fault, and she’s able to laugh at her imperfections instead of obsessing over them. A dedicated journalist who cares about getting her readers the truth, not just the official story, a caring friend, and a loving daughter—she might not have it all together quite yet, but I’d be pretty darned glad to have her in my inner circle.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: Absolutely. One of the most fun parts of writing is watching the characters grow and learn. It’s what makes them real to me. Nichelle might go to a meeting with a strange cop in a dark parking lot to get a scoop in the first book, but when that doesn’t end so well for her, she learns from it, and the next time a creepy anonymous phone call offers answers, it’s a well lit, crowded place or no deal. She certainly has commitment and security issues because she never knew her father (okay, maybe she gets one more thing from me), but she’s working through them a piece at a time.
While I love all the characters in Nichelle’s world, I have a special place in my heart for Grant Parker, the baseball hero turned sports columnist. I have enjoyed every keystroke of watching him go from Casanova ego caricature to groom, hero, and wonderful friend.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: I might’ve done a little more than think about it. But I plead the fifth on who and which book you’ll find it in. 😉
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: Nichelle’s Virginia is a hodgepodge of real life and imagination. You can find many of the locations in the books in and around Richmond (I love including our favorite places and watching readers figure them out when I visit book clubs)—but I gave the city a major league baseball team (we didn’t have a team at all when I wrote the first book, and I never thought anyone would read it, so what the heck? I went all the way and brought MLB to RVA. Then the book actually sold, and I asked if my editor wanted me to change the story to include the AA team that had come to town. She said leave it, so it’s still part of the story. A big part in the new book, in fact.), fictionalized the newspaper and TV stations, and tinkered with law enforcement structure in the city and the outlying rural areas Nichelle visits.
It’s all realistic, based on my field journalism experience, but liberties are definitely taken.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: This is always the hardest question for me, because my characters don’t look like actors in my head, for the most part. I don’t include tons of physical description in the books, because I like readers to imagine the characters however they want. And they do! I love hearing the differences people see as they read.
The only one I can tell you hands down is that I’d want Trevor Donovan to play Grant Parker.
Many of my readers say they’d like to see Anne Hathaway as Nichelle. I also think Leslie Jones could totally rock the part—she has the height, personality, and beautiful smile to be a fantastic Nichelle.
Joey…hmmm. Reader choices for this are all over the map, but my favorite one is a cleaned-up, Armani-suit-clad Joe Manganiello, so we’ll go with that.
Loads of folks like Channing Tatum for Kyle, and since this is a fantasy cast, why not? And while we’re in fantasyland, if I got to pick anyone for any part, I’d totally beg the film people powers that be to let Troy Aikman try out for the role of Tony Okerson. And then I’d go hang out at the set.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: I’m not sure I can come up with a worst, really. Book people are pretty cool in general and I’m blessed to know some great ones.
The best advice, bar none, came from one of my writing idols: Harlan Coben. He is not only talented and brilliant, but a heck of a nice guy.
“If you want to build a career in this business, write a better book next time. Stay off the computer, don’t watch your amazon rankings, just write a better book next time.” —He took time out of his evening to tell me that (plus several hilarious stories about the writing life) and offer some encouragement, and I took every word to heart. Every time I sit down with a blank screen, I set out to write a better book than the last. Hopefully my readers think I manage to pull it off.
Thank you so much for having me here today! What a fun interview!
Books in the Headlines in High Heels Mystery Series:
FRONT PAGE FATALITY (#1)
BURIED LEADS (#2)
DATELINE MEMPHIS (novella after BURIED LEADS in HEARTACHE MOTEL)
SMALL TOWN SPIN (#3)
DEVIL IN THE DEADLINE (#4)
COVER SHOT (#5)
LETHAL LIFESTYLES (#6)
Q: LynDee, it’s great to have you back at Island Confidential!
LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
Her debut novel, FRONT PAGE FATALITY, is an amazon and Barnes & Noble #1 bestseller, and was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.
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