Lynn Chandler Willis began her adventure with the public side of writing as the owner/publisher/editor/reporter of the Pleasant Garden Post, circulated in the Pleasant Garden region of North Carolina. The first issue came out in 1996, and the last in 2009. She “did everything but print it.”
It was during that (sometimes intense) experience that she covered a local murder. She sat in court, interviewed the participants as well as the family of the victim and was led to write a true crime novel, “Unholy Covenant,” also titled “The Preacher’s Son.” This murder in the small North Carolina town became so famous that it was featured on the TV show, American Justice, in 2005.
Her next novel was a distinct departure from her true crime writing. Willis’ inspirational book, “The Rising,” became a 2013 Grace Award winner for Mystery/Romantic Suspense. It was followed by another shift in focus, “Wink of an Eye,” a Shamus Award winner for Best PI Book of the Year. Willis was the first female recipient of the Award in a decade. The “Wink” series, with hunky
Gerard Butler oops Gypsy Moran as the Texas PI, will continue – great news for Gypsy fans.
But, there’s more. Lynn Chandler Willis has written the first of three books set in North Carolina, “Tell Me No Lies,” with Ava Logan, newspaper owner/publisher/editor/reporter, as the lead protagonist. Sound familiar? Willis’ personal background lends wonderful authenticity to the newspaper scenes both in and out of the office. “TMNL” deals with ginseng poaching, betrayal, a love lost and found, and of course, a murder. (Willis promises that the book is not autobiographical.)
Willis’ fiction includes children as major characters, ranging in age from toddler to teenagers. One of the things that won me over to her as an author is the genuine voices those children have, no matter the age. While it could be said that she draws on her considerable experience as a grandmother (two children and nine grandchildren) what becomes clear is that in real life she really listens to them – their speech patterns, their levels of anxiety, the realistic interactions with their surroundings – making for a completely natural read. It could be your kid in the room with Ava or Gypsy. Not an easy thing to achieve.
Ms. Willis said, “As for portraying the teens realistically, I wanted to be honest about how teens really are. I didn't want the kids to be flawless. They make mistakes, they make bad decisions, and they learn from them.”
Devoted to her family, Ms. Willis happily lives within a few minutes of all of them. A rescue Border Collie named Finn, has recently become a large part of her life, and when you find Willis on Facebook, photos of Finn demonstrate how happy the two of them are together. That tail never stops wagging. Lol Great dog!
When asked how she decided upon the Appalachian setting for the Ava Logan series, Willis said, “I see the area as so pure in a complex, yet simplistic way. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful, the people are multi-layered, and traditions run deep. The people are probably some of the most self-sufficient people you'd ever meet.”
Lynn Chandler Willis trivia:
Favorite foods: Fresh, summertime veggies on a Sunday afternoon – homegrown tomatoes, fried squash or okra, fresh creamed corn, fresh, overcooked green beans (the way we eat them in the south), and of course homemade biscuits. After that, probably pizza. Thin crust with pepperoni and mushroom.
Favorite Music: Country & Western, with George Strait or Garth Brooks twanging in the background while she writes.
“Small towns, big characters” is the theme that threads its way through all her books. Click on the links below to read my reviews.
Read my review of "The Rising" here.
Read my review of "Wink of an Eye" here.
Review coming soon. Stay tuned.
Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for details about Ms. Willis’ appearances and updates on the books.
Visit Henery Press for additional information.
Lynn Chandler Willis & Blue Ridge Parkway – Patti Phillips
Bloody Footprint – Google
The Walt Longmire character that Craig Allen Johnson has brought to life both in award-winning books and on TV, has come to personify the modern Western law man – rough, tough, and ready for whatever the bad guys can throw at him.
Somehow, I had not realized that the show was based on Johnson’s books until the first season was half over. Books? Well, I ran right out – really – and bought the books that my local store had in stock. I started with Cold Dish and was forever hooked.
I watched the Longmire series on A&E until somebody in the network offices lost their collective minds and cancelled the show because the demographic didn’t fit their model of the future. Say what? A successful show that millions of people watch, that is making your corporation money and you don’t like the people who are doing the watching? Hmph.
Well, we fans are not a dumb bunch and we mounted a social media campaign for another network to pick up the show. Netflix and the Johnson people were able to come to an agreement and the fans collectively smiled. It has been reported that the Netflix association may come to an end after Season 6, but we still have the fabulous bestselling books – with more to come.
Craig Johnson was born in West Virginia, but wound up in Wyoming some years after a visit while delivering horses. He built the 2,000+ square foot log cabin in which he and his wife, Judy, now live. Ucross, Wyoming is sparsely populated – a mere 25 inhabitants – and is the source for Johnson’s twitter handle: @ucrosspop25.
What makes Sheriff Walt Longmire so immediately likable? Middle-aged, experienced at his job, widower of a woman he loved more than life itself, an attorney daughter of whom he is so very proud, and a Cheyenne best friend/sidekick whom he has known since childhood. Longmire mostly follows the rules, but when justice is in question, the rules are sometimes open to interpretation.
The stories are full of wonderful dialogue, intriguing mysteries, life and death situations, and a core set of characters with whom you’d like to spend as much time as possible. Johnson’s obvious love of the wide-open spaces of Wyoming spills onto the pages when the landscape becomes a character, as suddenly dangerous as any killer could be or as mesmerizing as a beautiful painting.
The books have been credited as having one of the best depictions of Native American/White Man interactions in the world of fiction – they certainly ring true in the reading. Johnson’s ranch is right next to a Cheyenne reservation, and through the years he has come to respect the challenges that Native Americans have faced and continue to face. His books explore the cultural differences and celebrate the traditions in thoughtful and meaningful ways, often including those themes in the mysteries.
When not writing the Longmire series, consulting on the TV show, or working his ranch, Johnson travels around the country (and to France) with Judy, doing book tours. I met him in Raleigh, NC at Quail Ridge Books. He’s charming and as funny in person as you would hope him to be after having read the books.
A great showman who delivers a great read.
Take a look at the reviews of:
"Kindness Goes Unpunished"
Check out www.craigallenjohnson.com, where you will find details about his upcoming tours, the online fan store with lots of Longmire goodies, and photos of the cast of Longmire.
*Photo of Craig Allen Johnson taken by Patti Phillips at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC.
C. Hope Clark is a Southern gal to the core – born, raised, married, and happily still in the Carolinas. Her agricultural roots are deep, being the granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, so it’s not surprising that Clark received a B.S. in Agriculture from Clemson University and then went to work for the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Carolina Slade, the lead character in the Slade Mysteries, was drawn from Clark’s own experiences at the USDA.
Hope is married to a long-time (former) officer of federal law enforcement, now working as a contract investigator. The opening scene to “Lowcountry Bribe,” is based on a bribery case that involved both of them in real-life. They married after that case, and now live on Lake Murray, in South Carolina, spending time on Edisto Island whenever they can. The settings for several of Hope’s books, while reimagined to protect the innocent, depict the countryside she loves and has traveled through for most of her life.
She founded and continues to run FundsforWriters.com, a site that Writer’s Digest has recognized as one of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for fourteen years. Hope has been published in multiple magazines, she speaks at writers’ conferences, her books are award winners, and she remains one of the most gracious, generous mystery writers in the business. And, wow, can she hook you with her stories!
Fun facts about Hope:
Her favorite dessert is Crème Brulee. She considers it “pure luxury.”
One of her inspirations in the writing business? Lisa Gardner.
She is a member of MENSA!
She loves seafood (as does Callie in the Edisto series) especially shrimp and crab, and has wonderful recipes for both.
Click here to see the recipes for Steamed Blue Crab and Citrus Shrimp.
The current list of C. Hope Clark’s Fiction:
The Carolina Slade Series:
“Low Country Bribe”
“Murder on Edisto”
“Echoes of Edisto”
“The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success”
“The Shy Writer, Reborn”
It has been my pleasure to read all of C. Hope Clark's works of fiction. My reviews of two of the titles can be found by clicking on the links.
Read the review here.
Read the review here.
Read the review here.
For information about C. Hope Clark's appearances, signings, and Funds for Writers, please visit www.chopeclark.com.