Getting Scorched With NYT Best Selling Author Laura Griffin!
Today I have a real treat for the readers of F4F. New York Times Best Selling Author Laura Grffin has agreed to discuss her career, characters, and her new novel Scorched which just hit bookstores. Laura likes to mix forensic scientists with Special Operations soldiers so naturally, I’m a HUGE fan! If you haven’t picked up one of her books you don’t know what you’re missing.Laura also has a cool forensics quiz on her website. Take a look and see how you score!
Laura started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. Her acclaimed novels have won various awards, including both a RITA Award for Whisper of Warning and a Daphne du Maurier Award for Untraceable in 2010. Her debut novel, One Last Breath, won the Booksellers Best Award in the Romantic Suspense category, and her novels Snapped, Unspeakable, and Untraceable were all nominated for Reviewers’ Choice Awards by RT Book Reviews magazine.
F4F: You’ve written a number of Romantic Suspense series but each Tracer novel seems to dive a little deeper into forensics. How did you start researching the forensic sciences?
LG: Thanks for having me today, Tom! I love reading Forensics4Fiction.
My interest in forensics started with a forensic artist. I was interviewing her for a book and she started telling me about doing postmortem drawings to help identify unknown victims. That interview made me realize how many people—besides the detectives—work behind the scenes to solve a case. I started interviewing CSIs, forensic anthropologists, fingerprint specialists, firearms experts, basically anyone who would talk to me about what they do.
F4F: You’ve created the Delphi Center crime lab which is almost a character in its own right (I know I’d like to work there). Did you have to visit any working crime labs to inspire you?
LG: I’ve visited a number of different crime labs to gather info and details. The labs themselves are interesting (it’s fun to see all the high-tech equipment) but what really brings them to life the people who work there. I love to hear people’s war stories and learn how they got involved in police work. When I visit a lab, each person is a treasure trove of story and character ideas.
F4F: You were a seasoned journalist before becoming a novelist but the underworld of crime can be quite disturbing. Is there anything you find particularly difficult to write about?
LG: One of the toughest assignments I ever had was a child kidnapping that ultimately became a murder investigation. It was heart-wrenching to talk to the parents in that case, and as a young reporter I found it hard to stay objective. You can’t just turn your feelings off like a faucet. Some of the emotions I felt while covering that story became part of my heroine’s character in THREAD OF FEAR, which opens with a child abduction.
F4F: Your latest book SCORCHED features a forensic anthropologist named Kelsey Quinn. Forensic anthropologists are an interesting lot and Kelsey has a lot of turmoil in her life. What inspired you to choose that profession for her?
LG: Basically, I’m fascinated by bones. I took some anthropology classes in college and I was amazed at how much you can learn about a culture by looking at bones and artifacts. To me, forensic anthropology is even more interesting because you have this added challenge of searching for clues to solve a crime. How did this person die? What do the bones reveal about the sort of life they had? How can the bones help track down the killer?
F4F: SCORCHED also features a body farm. I’ve done research at a body farm since the mid 90′s and it’s a special place. There aren’t many around but have you been to a body farm? What were your impressions?
LG: The body farm here in central Texas was the original inspiration behind the Delphi Center. I have been to visit and was extremely impressed with the people working there. The (fictional) Delphi Center from my books is both a body farm and a crime lab, which gives me lots of story options. Delphi is home to an elite group of investigators, known as Tracers, who specialize in all areas of forensic science. So I’ve got lots of experts at my fingertips whenever I need a new character or a plot twist.
F4F: One of your characters (Gage Brewer) is a USN SEAL, The SOF community is notoriously shy. Has it been difficult to shape this character?
LG: Yes, they are shy! When I was first trying to interview a SEAL he kept putting me off and putting me off. Just when I was about to give up and start looking for someone else, he got in touch and told me sorry to keep me waiting, but he’d been sidetracked in Afghanistan, and could I please re-send the interview questions. Besides talking to a few SEALs, I learned a great deal from books and documentaries, and these men are simply amazing. I enjoy writing SEAL characters because really there is no challenge too daunting. SEALs will find a way, no matter what.
F4F: I can’t get away without asking you about your writing process. Some writers plot out every scene in advance on complex organizational charts. Others write organically. How would you describe your process?
LG: I’m always envious of writers who describe a smooth process. For me, it’s a mixed bag. I do a lot of planning for my characters. I research their professions, try to get to know them. As for plot, I usually start with a basic plan, but it takes turns and detours and often looks nothing like I envisioned originally. Somehow it works out, though. I don’t like to get too hung up on a specific path because the surprises are the fun part.
F4F: Tell the readers something about yourself they can’t get from your website.
LG: Hmm…I don’t know if my website mentions that I’m a huge book addict. My office contains everything from chick lit to books on abnormal psychology, medical journals, firearms guides. Oh, and I’m a chocolate addict, too. Open a desk drawer and you’ll probably find something sweet.
F4F: Thank you so much for sharing your time with us Laura. If any of you readers have a question or comment for Laura she’ll be checking the comments section. If you haven’t picked up one of her books…what are you waiting for?!?
The dead don’t speak, but Kelsey knows their secrets. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey makes it her mission to identify bodies, often using no more than shards of bone. Her find at a remote Philippines dig hints at a sinister story. When Kelsey’s search for answers puts her at the scene of her ex-fiancé’s murder, only one man can help her–the man who broke her heart months before and is also a prime suspect.
Faced with an ultimatum—Kelsey or his job—Gage Brewer did the only thing a Navy SEAL could . . . but that doesn’t mean he stopped wanting Kelsey. Now Kelsey is running for her life and Gage is her last line of defense.
Posted on October 29, 2012, in General and tagged Crime Scene, csi, delphi center, detective, fiction, Forensic science, forensics, Laura Griffin, murder, mystery, Rita Award, romantic suspense, scorched, thriller, tom adair. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.