I recently talked Anne Hagan into talking about our latest releases on our blogs and to our readers. Here is hers:
I recently released Steel City Confidential. It’s ‘technically’ a legal thriller set in the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but it’s much more than that. It’s a book I was challenged to write. The challenge was to write a thriller or a legal thriller that included other elements like outlaws, action and adventure, women over 40, families with children and a few more things.
In all honesty, I was having a hard time putting together a plausible plot that included all of that. Because it comes out in chapter one, on page two, it’s not a spoiler to say what made it all come together was when a writing group buddy, Sarah Fritts, suggested the “What if Thelma and Louise survived? Where are they now?” idea. I took that and ran with it.
What kind of heroine is in your current book?
There are multiple heroines in the book. I’ll talk about three of them. There’s Pam (AKA Thelma), on trial for murder, who thinks only about her loved ones until there very end. There’s Charlotte (AKA Louise) who’s loyal to her friends and to her causes, no matter what. And, there’s Rochelle ‘Ro’ Rabinowitz, the lawyer who must work it all out and make sure justice is served to the right person.
Is there one scene from your book that is the most memorable?
The big reveal that comes at the beginning, then the book builds backward taking the reader through time, back to that point and beyond it. That early reveal scene had to be right. It sticks in my mind and readers seem to agree.
How did you choose the names for your characters?
I’ve been writing the same mystery series, The Morelville Mysteries, for a long time. It has established characters with only a few new faces per book. I use the usual methods to pick those names; baby name lists from years age appropriate for the character and lists of last names common in the area where the stories are set, near Zanesville, Ohio.
For Steel City Confidential, I could have done the same thing, but I opted to ask for some reader help. Pittsburgh is an ethnically diverse city with strong Irish, Italian and Slavic roots and a growing black community. I wanted the ‘local’ cast to reflect all of that. I asked my readers to suggest a name for my lawyer and her firm with the winner getting an autographed copy of the final book. They came through big. I picked a name for the lawyer, but I used several other names that were suggested to fill other roles on ‘Ro’s’ staff, with the police department, with the DA’s office and more. Everybody was acknowledged in the book and won at least an eBook copy!
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not a thing!
Out of all your books, do you have a favorite?
I was always partial to ‘Dana’s Dilemma’ and ‘Hitched and Tied,’ books three and four of The Morelville Mysteries series because they’re an equal balance of mystery and a romance coming full circle. I have to say now that Steel City Confidential is my favorite ‘book’, by just a bit. It was a labor of love to write and it may well be the best book I have in me. As a couple though, I’ll always be partial to Mel and Dana. I know them so well!
If you could have anyone play the main character of one of your books, any actress, who would you choose and why?
For Steel City Confidential, all of the primary cast of the original movie are still with us. It would be amazing to see them reprise their roles, 28 years later age appropriate to the story. For the attorney, ‘Ro’ I’d like to see someone like either Jennifer Connelly or Moran Atias cast. They both have the look I picture for Ro and at least some of her heritage, plus they’re both great actresses who don’t get enough credit for their work.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a detailed plotter these days. I ‘pantsed’ the first draft of my first book and it was awful. It took a lot of rewriting and editing to make that story come together. After that, I started basic plotting. With an intricate story like my latest, my detailed plot saved me many times. I hate loose ends and plot points that shoot off then go nowhere and readers do too.
What genres do you normally write in?
I write mysteries primarily, but I do have several romances out there too. There were characters in my primary mystery series that had readers begging to know more. I gave them their own stories, that stand apart from the series. Some of my romance only readers have no idea where some of those characters came from!
I’ve also been slowly adding to my longish short story series, ‘Loving Blue in Red States.’ There are seven stories out now, each focusing on a different couple in a different red state. I have ideas for couples in three more states at least partially plotted out.
What are you working on now?
Several things: The 12th Morelville Mystery, ‘Tennessee Bound’ is due out next. I’m working on the 8th Loving Blue in Red States short story, also set in Tennessee…no, that wasn’t planned. I’m in the early plotting stages of the next Steel City legal thriller and I have the third Morelville Cozy mystery about half done. It’s due out later this year.
What genres do you typically read?
Mystery and legal thrillers, of course! Mysteries are my first love, from way back. I also read romance, but not the usual stuff. Maybe I should call my preference what librarian MJ Lowe calls the sort of books I like in the genre, ‘love stories’. I’m not about the meet cute, miscommunication and then a happily ever after. I like drama. I like angst. I don’t read romance to escape, I read it to feel things.
What do you think of the ‘explosion’ of available titles for the Lesfic reader that have come onto the market vs say 5-10-20 years ago? Is this a good thing or bad?
I think it’s great! The more, the better. Give us choices, lots of choices!