Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Inside Scoop from Hank and Donna

So TODAY, June 12th, is the big day.

The day you can buy PRIME TIME and MADAM OF THE HOUSE at your favorite bookstore.

In PRIME TIME, you'll meet Charlie McNally. Track down the biggest story of her career with her. Have adventures with her. Face danger with her. Question whether the handsome Josh Gelston is a good guy or a bad guy. Fall in love, and out, and (maybe) in again--and see the world through her quirky but determined perspective.

At 46, she's smart, savvy and sexier than she realizes. She's tough, she's honorable, she's a genuine journalist. And she wonders: what happens to a TV reporter who's married to her job--if the camera doesn't love her anymore?

And I hope, for a moment, you will have a thought of me, the author, sitting at my desk in Boston. I'll be wondering about each of you--and wishing I could talk with you personally. Do you like it? I'd ask. Do you think it's funny? Did you solve the mystery before Charlie did?

I remember the night the boxes of books arrived. My husband and I had been out to dinner with friends, and drove up the driveway. We'd stayed out later than usual on a work night, but we'd had a great time.

I could see on our porch, two brown boxes. Sealed with tape.

They were too big to be the shoes I ordered. Too small to be my stuff from Saks. It had to be PRIME TIME.

I leaped out of the car, engine still running, I'm sure. I raced to the porch, and began ripping off the tape. "Want me to carry those boxes inside?" my husband asked.

I ripped off more tape, ignoring him. "Why don't we wait until we're inside?" Jonathan persisted.

I ignored him. Risking manicure and paper cuts, I yanked open the flaps. One. Two. And there they were. Sleek and perfectly packed. More beautiful than I had imagined.

But they were--MADAM OF THE HOUSE. Donna's book. In one of those mix-ups that, you know, sometimes just happens, they had sent me the wrong books.

It was after 11 pm. I couldn’t call Donna and say--did you get my books?

I happened to get a box of books, too. But luckily, they were my own! (Or maybe unluckily, since I was dying to get my hands on a copy of PRIME TIME.)

This is the fifth book I’ve had published, and the second book I’ve written for NEXT (the first was SUBURBAN SECRETS, which was released in September). But I was still just as excited to have it in my hot little hands. There are few things more thrilling than holding a book that has your own name on it.

Just like when you have a baby, holding it makes you forget all the sweat and swearing and agony it took to bring it to life. You look at it and say, "Wow, that was so worth it."

And despite all the agony, MADAM was a fun book to write, too.

I have a real estate agent friend who helped me create the main character, Cecilia Katz, known as the Madam of the Million Dollar Deal. But unlike my friend, Cecilia gets into some hot water when she isn’t exactly ethical about how she handles a property she’s supposed to sell. In fact, she turns the mansion into a bordello, to make money after her estranged husband cleans out their joint bank accounts.

I like to use my characters to explore motivation—in this case, boarding school tuition for a special-needs child—and see how far they’ll push their own boundaries. It always gets me thinking about where I would draw the line…

Ah, motivation! In a romantic mystery like Prime Time--the stakes are high. Charlie's got to save her career of course..that's life and death for her. And save her love life--totally pivotal. But it also comes down to real life and death! What would you do if you were being pursued by murderous thugs in a high-speed highway chase? What if you were being held at gunpoint by the person who turns out to be the bad guy? Could you have the presence of mind to figure out what to do?

One thing I love about Charlie as sleuth--she's just a reporter. She's only got a pen, not a gun. And although often the pen is mightier than the sword, sometimes you'd better have a pretty lethal Plan B. Charlie uses her wits and her determination to make everyday items--into deadly weapons.

Two years ago, I was sitting at my computer working on Prime Time. and I called my husband into the room. "Look, sweetheart," I said. "Watch this." And I typed "The end." And then I burst into tears. What makes the journey so sweet--is that now, you all will continue the journey. And instead of the end--it's The Beginning.

We'd love to hear from you!

Hank Phillippi Ryan
Donna Birdsell


Maureen said...


CrystalG said...

Congratulations ladies!

Virginia said...

Congatulations ladies! Let me ask you something. When you type the words The End isn't that like relief? Its over time to rethink another book.

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Hmm...Virginia, interesting question. Not to me, I have to say. I guess--relief in that one round of the book is complete, it worked, it has no plot holes, the action progresses, the peolpe who should be happy are happy, the bad guys are thwarted, and there are no loose ends flapping round.

Does relief mean the same as satisfaction? Then yes. If relief means, whew, done with that one! Then, I'd have to say, no.

What about you others?

(And--thanks Maureen and Crystalg!)

Carol said...

Congrats to you both!

photoquest said...

I am looking forward to getting a copy of Prime Time when it comes out