Friday, September 25, 2009

Welcome Hank Phillipi Ryan!


I'm going to Vancouver to visit the set of "Sins of the Mother," the LMN movie based on Orange Mint and Honey! (Stay tuned for pictures and stories.) Thinking about what to take with me to read. Do you ever get a taste for a certain kind of book? Right now I have a taste for light-hearted, something fun. Air Time by Hank Phillipi Ryan just might be next up on the menu.

Air Time Summary

Star reporter Charlotte (Charlie) McNally enters the glamorous and high-stakes world of high fashion . . . and soon discovers when the purses are fake, the danger is real.

To break her latest big-money blockbuster, Charlotte must go undercover—but what if the bad guys recognize her? This savvy TV journalist must face more than her fear of flying when her inside scoop on designer duplicates suddenly turns deadly.

Carrying a hidden camera and dressing to deceive, Charlie finds she's not the only one disguising her identity. Nothing—and no one—is what they seem. And that means nothing—and no one—can be trusted. In her high-risk job and in her suddenly steamy love life, how can she tell the real thing?

Charlie is forced to make some life-changing—and life and death—decisions. With only a split-second to act and with her own life in the balance, Charlie knows if she chooses wrong it will be the last decision she ever makes.

Real-life investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan devises a scheme so timely and innovative you'll wonder why someone hasn't tried it. AIR TIME takes you behind the scenes of TV news—and reveals what can happen when a savvy, sexy journalist turns from hard-working reporter into becoming a killer's target.

“Sassy, fast-paced and appealing. First-class entertainment.” **Sue Grafton

“I love this series!” **Suzanne Brockmann

“AIR TIME is a fun, fast read with a heroine who's sexy, stylish, and smart. I loved it." **Nancy Pickard

I'm especially interested because Hank is a reporter herself. According to her bio: Award-winning investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan is currently on the air at Boston's NBC affiliate, where she's broken big stories for the past 22 years. Her stories have resulted in new laws, people sent to prison, homes removed from foreclosure, and millions of dollars in refunds and restitution for consumers.

Hank was kind enough to answer some questions for readers of The Pajama Gardener. Here's our chat:

Q: Charlotte (Charlie) McNally is an investigative TV reporter, and so are you! What qualities do you share with Charlie, and how are you different?

A: When my husband talks about Charlie, he calls her “you.” As in—when “you” are held at gunpoint, when you track down the bad guys, when you solve the mystery . . . and I have to remind him, “Sweetheart, it’s fiction. It didn’t really happen.”

But a couple of things: I’ve been a TV reporter for more than 30 years. (Yes, really.) And so it would be silly, in writing a mystery about TV, not to use my own experiences. Think about it—as a TV reporter, you can never be wrong! Never be one minute late. Never choose the wrong word or miscalculate. You can never have a bad hair day, because it’ll be seen by millions of people! It’s high-stakes and high-stress—literally, people’s lives at stake—and I really wanted to convey that in the books.

And everything that TV people do and say in the books is authentic and genuine. (Of course, Charlie can say things I can’t say, and reveal things I can’t reveal.) We’re both devoted journalists, and over-focused on our jobs.

But Charlotte McNally is different, too. She’s single—I’m happily married. She’s ten years younger than I am, and so is facing different choices and dilemmas. She’s braver than I am, certainly. Funnier. And a much better driver.

Q: Charlie has some exciting adventures in your mystery series—going undercover, confronting some really bad guys. Tell us about some of your adventures as an investigative reporter.

A: There’s a huge been-there-done-that element to the books—I’ve wired myself with hidden cameras, confronted corrupt politicians, chased down criminals . . . been in disguise, been stalked, and threatened and had many a door slammed in my face. I’ve had people confess to murder, and others, from prison, insist they were innocent. So when that happens to Charlie, it’s fair to imagine me. Although the plots are completely from my imagination, those are real-life experiences.

Q: Your job sounds very demanding. How (and when) do you find the time to write? Do you ever take a vacation, and, if so, what do you do with your time off?

A: Short answer—no. I don’t take vacations anymore. We used to! We love Nevis, a tiny island n the Caribbean with empty white beaches and nothing to do. We love to go to western Massachusetts, to Tanglewood, to go to plays and the symphony and museums. We love to go to Cape Cod, to Truro, to sit on the beach with pals and read, then go out to wonderful dinners. All in the past. Now, I write. And Jonathan lounges in the back yard. Luckily, we have a lovely yard, with a pool and beautiful gardens.

Q: Charlie is afraid of flying, and the airlines are constantly losing her luggage. When you write in Charlie’s voice about these dilemmas, you sound like you’re writing from experience. Is this true?

A: Sigh. Yes. I am a luggage-loss magnet. If they can lose my bags, they will. It’s almost funny. Almost. As for fear of flying, yes, I am afraid. (Although not as much has I used to be. I’ve worked very hard and tried a lot of things to get over it.) I was once covering a very bad plane crash, in a major airport, and was in a room with a lot of the bleeding and upset survivors of the crash. I often wonder if that bad energy someone affected me.

Q: Since you write about what you do, do you ever have ethical dilemmas of your profession that cause conflicts between Hank, the author, and Hank, the journalist?

A: Ah, no. The closest I’ve come to an ethical dilemmas trying to make sure that no one is the books is a representation of a real person. I’m careful about that. There’s no real Franklin. Or Josh. Or Penny. (Is there a real Charlie? Well, that’s possible . . .)

Sounds like Air Time would give you a nice break whether you were on vacation or curled up in bed!

1 comment:

Demon Hunter said...

Great interview and sounds like an interesting book, Carleen. I'm getting together my questions for you. ;-)