Friday, October 5, 2012

Interview with Award Winning Author and October guest Hank Phillipi Ryan- The Other Woman

Interview with Hank Phillipi Ryan
The Other Woman
Debbie - Hank, first welcome back to the General Fiction forum at B& It’s been a lonely year without your smiling face and witty remarks and I know I speak for all of the visitors here when I say, it’s about time you came back. J

As many of you know Hank is no stranger to the forum. Last year we read and discussed her very first Novel “Prime Time”, where her protagonist was a TV reporter of a certain age Charlotte McNally. This month we’ll be talking about another debut novel for Hank as she introduces us to Jane Ryland and begins thus another series with yet another reporter.

How did the Jane story begin?
HANK: It began in the dentist's office. (How about that?) Yup. I went in for a root canal, and read in a waiting room magazine about the governor of South Carolina who'd told his wife and staff he was hiking the Appalachian trail--when he was really off with his Argentinean mistress. Why would someone choose to be the other woman, I wondered? It's such a terrible idea on every level. And then I thought--maybe there's a twist, maybe there's a secret, maybe there's a big juicy story behind it. Maybe it's a story I could tell! At the end of the article, the governor's wife was quoted. She said: "You can choose your sin, but you cannot choose your consequences."
At that moment --I get goose bumps when I tell you--I thought: "my book!" And that became THE OTHER WOMAN--a thriller about love, loss, and the lust for power. A book about consequences.
But I soon realized it couldn’t be a Charlie story—it was too big and too complex, and it needed multiple points of view. But I knew a reporter should be one of them. She couldn’t just be—not-Charlie, you know? So I had to create a whole new person…and she grew and developed as the story progressed. She protected a source. She had a big story. Her station was sued. It lost. She got fired. It was unfair. She needed to get back her good name and her reputation. It all just—blossomed.  It was very exciting. 

Is there a planned number of novels for Jane or is she a work in progress?
HANK:   I can think of a million stories for Jane—she’s smart and ambitious, she’s honorable and funny and devoted to her job as a reporter-even if it’s at a newspaper and not on TV anymore. What’s her next blockbuster? Would she consider going back to broadcast news? (What do you think she should do?) And what will happen to Jake? And Alex?   And Tuck? 
What’s coming next and when can we expect it?
HANK: Well, THE WRONG GIRL  comes out this time next year! In it, Jake’s working to solve a tragic murder case—who killed a foster mother? And what happened to the children she was caring for? Meanwhile, Jane begins to suspect a respected adoption agency I reuniting birth parents with the wrong children. Scary, huh? But like all my stories, it could happen.

I was lucky enough to meet Hank in person last year at a library event while she was in town for Bouchercon. It was one of the great highlights of my life, which brings up another subject.
Hank you have a very active life how do you keep up with it all.?
(be sure and check out Hank’s events page,
She may be coming to a venue near you)
HANK: Yes, it’s crazy, huh? But I love meeting readers, and talking about books and stories and television and mysteries and the mystery of television. And I met Fricka in AZ and Elaine in Houston, how cool was that? So it’s a constant joy. Even though my husband sometimes thinks it’s out of control. J
Keeping up? Is sometimes like those people on Ed Sullivan who spun plates on sticks. Remember? Never a dull moment. I work at Channel 7 during the day—my husband and I leave home at 8:30 am or so and drive into Boston. I read the newspaper out loud to him, so its not as if I’m being chauffeured. (Sometimes I make stuff up to see if he’ll notice.)
We work a regular day (he’s a lawyer) and then get home at 6:30 or so. When I’m in writing mode, I write from maybe 7 until 10, then we have dinner! (Yup, I know.)
I work on weekend and on vacation days. Happily, my husband is very enthusiastic and supportive. And doesn’t mind carry-out grilled salmon.
Bottom line, I try to be organized. I don’t multi-task if I can help it—I think doing one thing at a time is most productive. And I make a LOT of lists. It’s so gratifying to cross things off! 
Are you a reader, who are your favorite authors?
Oh, yes, of course. My reading life has been full and rich since I was a kid. I started with Nancy Drew, of course, and Trixie Belden and Vicki Barr and Cherry Ames. (Anyone remember?)  I loved the Edward Eager books, and Jane Langton and Madeleine L’Engle.
And then—life changingly—all the Sherlock Holmes stories. I still have my big orange compilation of all the short stories, its all battered and rumpled and wonderful. I went on to all the  British women authors—Ngaio Marsh, and Josephine Tey and Marjorie Allingham and Dorothy Sayers…and Agatha Christie, of course.  (Which made it especially wonderful when I won two Agatha Awards!)
I also fell in love with thrillers—Failsafe and Seven Days in May and On the Beach. Advise and Consent. Then, years later, Winds of War. Remember?
It’s not just mystery. Right now I’m adoring Edith Wharton, and Tom Wolfe and Thomas Wolfe, and Mark Helprin. Stephen King’s The Stand. I focused on Shakespeare in college, (anyone notice that each of the TIME books has a specific Shakespearean play as a theme?) and though it feels like I’ve forgotten so much, still love to read the plays. 
But in contemporary mystery? My recent faves are Bill Landay’s DEFENDING JACOB (ask me about that) and Mo Hayder’s GONE and Linwood Barclay’s TRUST YOUR EYES. Oh, there are a LOT more! And I will think of them and tell you.

Your shelves at home must be getting pretty crowded with all the Emmy’s, Edward R Murrow’s having to compete with the Agatha’s, Rita’s, Top Picks and bestseller lists.
Is there one award in particular that means more than the others in either of your very successful careers?
HANK: Oh, what a nice question, but how could I choose?  The Agatha, certainly, I still get teary when I look at it.( As for my dear Emmys, I’ll send you a photo, if you like, it’s pretty funny and  I’m so proud of them! I could happily tell you the story of each and every one , individually, with much delight! But I will spare you…)
I must say when I got the email that THE OTHER WOMAN hit the Boston Globe bestseller list at number 2, (whoa!)  I was by myself, on the quiet car of the Acela train. You know how that works—in the quiet car, you have to be SILENT. NO talking, so noice, no cell phone calls. Which is usually lovely and tranquil! So here I get his fabulous news..and I can’t even make a squeak or call my husband! It was still fun to celebrate, just very very silently.
When it stayed on the list another week, I was just getting off an airplane! So again, no one to celebrate with.
And when the new issue of Mystery Scene Magazine came out—did you see it, with me on the cover? Wow.  I was in Phoenix at a bookstore, and the proprietor brought it to me to sign. I was so surprised—I had no idea that was going to happen. Poor bookseller—I was so thrilled, I gave him a huge hug. A complete stranger!

Now for something a bit personal.
Is there someone you haven’t met that you would like to?
HANK: Whoa. Ah, terrific question. Meet? That’s hard, because it’s easier to choose someone I’d like to SEE. You know? And then not have to worry about having something cool to say.
I’ve interviewed Prince Charles. Caroline Kennedy was my intern. I’m know Lee Child and Lisa Scottoline and Lisa Gardner and Julia Spencer-Fleming and Sue Grafton. Sue Grafton! Who I have to admit, bowled me over when me met.
So I’d love to see…Michelle Obama? Stephen King? Bruce Springsteen, up close? Tom Wolfe.  JK Rowling.  Yikes. I’ll have to think about this!
What about you all? Who are your choices? I’d love to hear…

Thank you for taking the time to give as an up close and personal look Hank, I can’t wait for the discussion to begin.
HANK: Thanks! See you here soon. and I will send photos!

Be sure and check out Hank’s website

If you haven't seen the book trailer, here it is

buy the book here

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