Author Answers this week gets the scoop from Kit Frazier about her new book, "Scoop" and other insights to the writing life. Frazier is also a journalist and lives just outside of Austin, Texas, where "Scoop" is topping the local best-seller lists.
For more info on her, check out her website.
WN: Your novel, “Scoop”, came out this fall. What’s the scoop readers should know about “Scoop”?
FRAZIER: SCOOP is the first book of the series it turns out I was born to write. In the beginning, I wrote a romance--it won all kinds of contests and won me an interview with an agent at William Morris. She said she loved my characters, loved my voice, but could I get rid of the man and the baby? I said, "Well, no, but I could write you another book."
On the way home, sassy, sexy obituary writer Cauley MacKinnon came to me wholly formed and ready to tell me her story. I went home that night and hammered out 60 pages.
WN: You do research and training with the FBI and the Austin Police Department… does what you learn there provide material for books?
FRAZIER: Absolutely. The FBI particularly. I'm actually certified in Search and Rescue and have participated in missions and exercises with the APD and joint efforts with the FBI. Both branches of law enforcement have been crucial to writing the Cauley series, not only in the events and procedural stuff in the book, but also in the way cops walk, talk and think. Plus, it never hurts to hang around a bunch of hot guys and call it working...
WN: What’s the best part of being a writer to you? What’s the most challenging part of writing for you?
FRAZIER: The best part of being a writer is that when you're on, you're really on. You're totally present in that character and the words come gushing like water from a spring and there's no other feeling like it in the world.
The worst thing for me is my natural resistance to writing. On some days, I would rather cover myself in honey and roll around in a fire ant pile than look at that blank page. Even though I love writing, it's hard. Every time I come to the work it's like being at sixth grade summer camp for the first time. Standing on the high dive, cold and nearly naked in front of a screaming crowd. I creep up to the edge of the wobbling board, everyone watching and waiting from the gray, cement safety deck. You know the water below is bone-chilling cold, and part of you resists the jump. But once you've made that leap, it's the most exhilarating experience in the whole world.
WN: How did you feel when you saw your name on the cover of a book?
FRAZIER: It was better than a lifetime supply of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate New York Chunk and almost as good as a hug from my dog.
WN: What is the best/most influential book you have ever read and why did it inspire you?
FRAZIER: I adore To Kill a Mockingbird. The honesty and earnestness of that book still breaks my heart. I read it at least once a year, and have read it to all my nieces and nephews, even when they are babies. I keep a copy of it under my pillow hoping some of Harper Lee's genius will seep into my sleeping brain by osmosis.
WN: What is your favorite word and why?
FRAZIER: Faith. I think faith is just hope with wings and direction. I think faith in yourself is more important than even talent, and it fuels persistence.
WN: What piece of advice helped you out the most as a writer?
FRAZIER: Ah, other than just keep writing, it was "Always write with your clothes on." The author who told me that meant that I should treat this like a business. She is right, but I often compromise and go for a bathrobe...