ABOUT THE BOOKWhen Carol Childs is called to the scene of a body dump she has no idea she’s about to uncover a connection to a string of missing girls. Young, attractive women drawn to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood via an internet promise of stardom and romance have been disappearing. A judge’s daughter leaves behind a clue and a trip down Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame reveals a connection to a high powered real estate mogul and to a cartel targeting girls for human trafficking.
Old Hollywood has its secrets, its impersonators and backdoor entrances to old speakeasies and clubs where only those with the proper credentials can go. And when Carol Childs gets too close, she finds herself politically at odds with powers that threaten to undue her career and like the very girls she’s seeking, disappear.
INTERVIEW WITH NANCY COLE SILVERMAN
What’s the story behind the title of your book?
There’s a theme behind most of my work. While the story behind Beyond a Doubt is about a middle-age female reporter who is called to the scene of a body dump and finds herself drawn into an investigation concerning a serial murder, the actual sub-plot is equally as compelling. Carol Childs is like any working woman. She has a busy life and troubles at home as well as the type of work related issues women face every day. She has a challenging relationship with her boss, competition among her fellow reporters and relationship issues with her FBI boyfriend that constantly cloud and challenger her role as a reporter. These are nuances that after twenty years in broadcasting I like to bring to the forefront of every book I write. I think it makes more interesting for the reader to be aware of some of the behind the scene issues that dictate the reporting of a story and it also makes for a more well-rounded character.
Tell us about your series. Is this book a standalone, or do readers need to read the series in order?
Beyond a Doubt is the second of the Carol Childs mysteries. While it’s not necessary to read the first of the series, Shadow of Doubt, I think it’s helpful for readers to have that understanding of who Carol is. My goal is to show her growing in self-confidence and in her ability as a reporter with each book.
Where’s home for you?
I was born in Seattle, Washington, the wettest state in the union, grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, certainly the hottest, and spent four very formative years in Europe while in my early twenties, before coming to Los Angeles in the late seventies. After nearly forty years, there are some people who would say that makes me a LA native. I like that. LA’s home to me.
If you had an extra $100 a week to spend on yourself, what would you buy?
Definitely wine. I live in wine country and good bottle of wine with cheese and friends is my idea of a perfect party.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned?
I studied journalism, both broadcast and print, in college. I think I had some great instructors who taught me to think both creatively and analytically. I feel very fortunate to have studied under them.
Who would you pick to write your biography?
My mother. She’s been my biggest advocate and constantly cheered me on. It would no doubt be a little biased, but hey, I’ll take it.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I’m a magnet for embarrassing moments. If something can go wrong and in a big way, with lots of on-lookers, it happens to me. Fortunately I have a sense of humor and I’ve used a lot of my more embarrassing moments in my books. For instance, the bathtub scene in Shadow of Doubt, when Carol is in the tub with Eric; it happened. Enough said. Read the book.
How did you meet your spouse?
I was applying for a job as a copywriter. My husband walked in the door and I knew the minute I saw him I couldn’t work for him. I liked him. Right away. I didn’t think it would be a good idea for be working for someone I knew I might end up dating. So we went to lunch instead. The rest is history.
What’s your favorite line from a book?
I’ve got several, but definitely the opening for Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener:
"I wish I could tell you about the South Pacific. The way it actually was. The endless ocean. The infinite specks of coral we called islands. Coconut palms nodding gracefully toward the ocean. Reefs upon which waves broke into spray, and inner lagoons, lovely beyond description. I wish I could tell you about the sweating jungle, the full moon rising behind the volcanoes, and the waiting. The waiting. The timeless, repetitive waiting."
How did you create the plot for this book?
I live in the Hollywood Hills, just up from the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Boulevard with the Hollywood Walk of Stars and a lot of the hip nightclubs. I was curious about the scene and started doing a little research when I stumbled across a story about missing girls. Beyond a Doubt is based up those girls that go missing that come in search of bright lights, fame, and fortune and find something else entirely.
Are any of your characters inspired by real people?
I think it’s difficult to create character totally from scratch and not have them appear like a cliché. Often, when I have an idea for a character, I’ll try to remember someone I’ve known with traits similar to the character I’m working on. In Beyond a Doubt, the Mad Dr. Diamond was a combination of several self-destructive, ego driven men I’d met. I have to admit I had a lot fun with the dialog between Carol and Dr. Mad.
Is your book based on real events?
Some of them may appear similar to actual events. But most are manufactured, made-up, smoothed out, and perhaps sanitized for my readers.
Are you like any of your characters?
My protagonist, Carol Childs, is loosely based upon my own experiences while working at a talk radio station in Los Angeles. I think Carol’s story, like my own, is very similar to a lot of single working moms who try to have it all. There are highs and there are lows, but most of the time it’s a struggle just to find the balance. I don’t believe it is possible to have it all. Not all the time and that’s part of what I like to explore in my books. My characters stumble, fall, and sometimes soar, but nothing is forever.
One of your characters has just found out you’re about to kill him off. He/she decides to beat you to the punch. How would he kill you?
I’d pull the paper out from under them before they had a chance.
Ha! That's great! Who are your favorite authors?
Michael Connelly, John Grisham, Sue Grafton, Dean Koontz, Steven King, Scott Turow, Jeffrey Archer, Janet Evonovich, Gillian Flynn, Harlan Coben, Margaret Mitchell, James Mitchner. I could go on.
What book are you currently reading and in what format?
I just finished the Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I try to alternate my reading with books for the New York Times Best Seller list with smaller titles from boutique publishers.
What’s one pet peeve you have when you read?
Uninterrupted time. I could wish I could read faster and have more time to do it.
Do you have a routine for writing?
I never write for word count. I know a lot of authors who boast about how much they’ve written and how quickly they’ve done it. For me it’s all about writing scenes. I like to write early in the morning, take a break, come back and rewrite in the afternoon. I generally spend four to five hours a day at my computer. I challenge myself to write a scene. Then move on to the next.
Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
I like to write at home. I’ve got a great home office. It was my youngest son’s bedroom before he went off to college, and once he announced he wasn’t coming home, I reworked it as my office. It’s bright, airy, and big enough for me to have a couch, desk and large table where I stack books to read and materials I like to have around me.
What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received about your writing?
I think the best compliment I’ve received is from readers who tell me reading my work is like seeing something happen in front of them. I used to write for radio, everything from news, commercials to late night mystery theater plays. Good radio is theater of the mind. It’s different than writing for TV because there are no pictures. The writer must create the sound, picture, and feeling in the listener’s mind. It’s the same thing with the blank page and when someone tells me they see it in their mind, I feel I’ve successfully made the transition.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever had to write?
The hardest thing I ever had to write was a eulogy for a friend of mine who died from Agent Orange, years after the Vietnam War. He was far too young. We’d been working together at KCBS in Los Angeles, and he died in the prime of life. I remember him telling me dying wasn’t about coming to the end of one’s life, but about living, every day to the fullest, and not just for yourself but for those around you, as well. At the end, he died with dignity. I didn’t know until much later, but when he knew he was dying he had a very private talk with his doctor. His doctor was a single man and my friend was worried about leaving his wife. It turned out he set his wife up with him. Sometime after he died they married. It was a very tender love story. He was an amazing man and a good friend. I’ll never forget him. He was a true hero.
How did you find Henery Press, and how long did your query process take?
I’m thrilled to be working with Henery Press. I’ve heard horror stories about other publishers, but Henery is easy to work with, they allow me complete creative freedom and they are very supportive.
I was lucky to find them when they were starting out several years ago. A writer-friend who also was a member of my Sisters in Crime, a mystery writers group I belonged to, introduced me. Before that, I was meeting agents at writers’ conventions and getting good feedback, but no deals. I think hanging out with writers, attending conventions and making personal contact is what finally did it for me.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the third book in the Carol Childs mystery series, Without a Doubt. I also have a number of short stories I’ve written, and when this book is done, I plan to get back to writing more of them as well.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connect with Nancy:
Website | Facebook | Twitter