From Journalist to Private Investigator or writing about one…
I have a confession to make. I used to be a journalist. So did Isabel Long, the protagonist of my new mystery, Chasing the Case. But unlike me, Isabel decided to put her know-how to use by becoming an amateur private investigator. I rely on mine to make Isabel’s story realistic.
Chasing the Case is set in the small, rural hilltowns of Western Massachusetts, where I got my start in the newspaper biz. I reported first on Worthington, the town where my family and I lived, and eventually I covered several towns plus did regional stories. I loved breaking a news story and getting to know what people did. I went to town meetings (my favorite was one about pigs), and covered what interested the community from truck pulls to school events to country fairs. I covered fires and what little crime there was. I did profiles of people. A few of my stories went national.
But for me, the greatest benefit was listening to the way people talked and writing it down. I believe it has paid off with realistic dialogue in my fiction.
But back to Isabel, who also covered the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts until, like me, she moved up to being an editor. In Chasing the Case, she loses her job managing a newspaper when it goes corporate. (To set the record straight, that didn’t happen in the two papers where I worked in Massachusetts and New Mexico.) Isabel decides to revisit her first big story as a rookie reporter — when a woman went missing 28 years earlier from the fictional town of Conwell.
So what skills would Isabel find transferable? Certainly, breaking down the elements of a story and figuring out who to contact. Good interview skills are a must. Developing a network of sources for tips is another. And she’s got to be good kind of nosy.
And there are times when a journalist has be a bit brave. For Isabel, that means talking with somebody who has something to hide — like maybe murdering another person. By the way, she’s really good at that.
Chasing the Case: Book Blurb
How does a woman disappear in a town of a thousand people? That’s a 28-year-old mystery Isabel Long wants to solve.
Isabel has the time given she just lost her husband and her job as the managing editor of a newspaper. (Yes, it’s been a bad year.) And she’s got a Watson — her 92-year-old mystery-loving mother who lives with her.
To help her case, Isabel takes a job at the local watering hole, so she can get up close and personal with those connected to the mystery.
As a journalist, Isabel never lost a story she chased. Now, as an amateur P.I., she’s not about to lose this case.
Chasing the Case officially launched May 18.
Here’s the link to order Chasing the Case in paperback or the Kindle version: http://mybook.to/chasingthecase
Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Chasing the Case, published by Crooked Cat Books, is her first mystery and the first in a series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur P.I.
An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.
After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including Chasing the Case and its sequels.