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Let's Welcome the AUTHOR OF: LIE CATCHERS – ROLYNN ANDERSON
LET’S WELCOME AUTHOR OF:
Two unsolved murders will tear apart an Alaska fishing town unless a writer and a government agent reveal their secret obsessions.
Treasury agent Parker Browne is working undercover in Petersburg, Alaska to investigate a money scam and a murder. His prime suspect, Liv Hanson, is a freelance writer struggling to save her family’s business. Free spirited, full of life, and with a talent for catching liars, she fascinates Parker.
Trying to prove she’s a legitimate writer who cares about Petersburg’s issues, Liv pens a series of newspaper articles about an old, unsolved murder. When her cold case ties in with Parker’s investigation, bullets start to fly.
Parker understands money trails, and Liv knows the town residents. But he gave up on love two years ago, and she trusts no one, especially with her carefully guarded secret. If they mesh their skills to find the killers, will they survive the fallout?
RAD-READER: How did you come up with the idea to have Alaska as being the place for the story to take place?
ROLYNN: See the grin on my face? Planning? What’s that? My husband and I cruised our trawler (from Washington State) to Petersburg, AK, because we learned it was a popular boater destination. I was pleasantly surprised to find the town FULL of Norwegians (like me). I figured I HAD to set a book in Petersburg.
RAD-READER: What was your inspiration to have two mysteries in one story?
ROLYNN: I was entranced by the unsolved 1932 murder of Sing Lee, a highly successful Chinese shopkeeper-amongst Norwegian immigrants. I decided to include my research into this cold case, juxtaposed with a recent murder. Back when Sing Lee died, Alaska was a territory and investigators had to take a boat to Alaska; today Petersburg is a small but thriving town with its own police department.
RAD-READER: From the last question, was it different to write those two mysteries with two different time periods? Current and from the past?
ROLYNN: It was great fun to compare the two time periods. Yet, no matter how ‘modern’ Petersburg has become, something of a pioneer, rugged individualist spirit still exists. And the stoic Scandinavian ‘way’ of keeping to oneself, presents all kinds of challenges for an investigation both now and in the early 1900’s.
RAD-READER: How did you come up with the Liv Hanson character and was it your purpose to reveal her personality slowly or in layers?
ROLYNN: You have probably heard of those few special people in the world who remember every detail in their lives by the date and weather (recall “Rainman,” the movie). 60 Minutes profiled these folks, including a well-known actress. One of her obsessions: clothes, shoes, and jewelry, carefully organized by color and style in her huge closet. She remembered the exact days when she wore her ensembles. That’s when I came up with Liv’s ‘skill,’ her memory trigger. Now, one of the things made clear on the TV program was these ‘special’ people haven’t always been accepted/understood by others around them. Liv’s been burned by her ability…so she uncovers it slowly as she begins to trust certain people with the information.
RAD-READER: The same for Parker Browne? He becomes almost someone else but around Liv it is like he is his true self. Was that a conscious thought on your part or did it just kind of happen with the story?
ROLYNN: Thanks for observing that concept. We writers know that both conflict and comfort come from contrasting personalities. Great couples bring out the best in each other because they don’t have to compete…they don’t see a mirror of themselves in the other person…they see a better half. That’s how I think of Parker and Liv…and how they gradually come to think highly of each other.
RAD-READER: For someone who is dead Everett is someone that you find out so much about. How did you decide to bring his character back into the story as if he was still alive?
ROLYNN: Again, thank you for the compliment. You are an astute reader…may I adopt you? J Good investigators learn all they can about dead folk so they can ‘guess’ who might want to kill them. That skill is the same one needed to solve current crimes as it was to collar a murderer in 1932. Carter has to ‘be’ Everett to understand why he died, just as Sing Lee has to ‘come alive’ for the 1932 investigator.
RAD-READER: The two stories together the current and the one Liv was writing about that happened in the town in 1932. How did you decide when in the story, it was a good time to break and go into the old story? It worked. I was just wondering?
ROLYNN: There you go again, thinking I plan ahead. For me, it’s a feeling, even as simple as: “Hmm, I think the reader wants to get back to the present. Time to leave 1932.” We writers also know readers don’t want to be away from their favorite characters for long. I tend to develop a scene with a given conflict, so I’d often compare such a conflict in both periods before I moved along to a new conflict. I mixed it up. So glad it worked!
RAD-READER: Did you have an idea of where this story was going when you started out writing it. Like an outline or did you just come up with an idea a begin to hash it out on paper?
ROLYNN: I never know my endings; I also don’t know who the villain is. My secondary characters pop into the story as I am writing and fresh scenes come to me when I write every day. I don’t outline, but I think ahead about my main characters and their competing needs/wants. My favorite prompt is: My heroine (name goes here) thinks she wants ________ but what she really wants is ___________.
RAD-READER: Are there really towns in Alaska that have more women than men? Because I always hear that it is the other way around or was it just for your book?
ROLYNN: The hype about more men than women in Alaska is a myth. The ratio of men to women, overall, is about even. In Petersburg, slightly more women than men.
RAD-READER: I noticed in your bio that you are Scandinavian. Did adding the food and other parts of that culture help in writing this book, and do you like adding something you know about to your books to make them feel or connected with the reader?
ROLYNN: I’m an Army Brat, half Norwegian, one-quarter Danish, and one-quarter Swedish. I moved around the world until I started college, St. Olaf, a Lutheran-affiliated college FULL of Scandinavians. Yes, you can say I treasure my Scandinavian heritage, but I’m well aware of how America is a tossed salad of cultures. I didn’t make up most of the detail about Petersburg’s Norwegian vibe. I could buy lefse and lutefisk in the grocery store! Brenda Nordheim, running a high-end gift store in Petersburg, sold crafts any Norwegian would love to own. Bottom line: the little town felt like home. I couldn’t wait to write about it!
RAD-READER: How did you keep all of the characters apart for they each had so much interaction going on?
ROLYNN: I usually peg characters by how they look at life and how their life philosophy makes them talk, think and act. So if a detail-oriented person met a slob, how would they respond to one another? Conflict brings out the fun!
RAD-READER: How did you get into writing?
ROLYNN: I was a high school English teacher and adjunct university professor of Freshman English and composition before I took courses, did a principal internship and got a job as a high school vice principal…then became the principal of a brand new high school. At no time in these 33 years did I write fiction. When I left education, I started writing novels and I’ve never looked back.
RAD-READER: Was there anything special you did for yourself or for your family after your first book got published?
ROLYNN: 2011! A VERY BIG YEAR! No one knows how much writing a novel is like making sausage…and they don’t want to know. Most non-writers think a book comes out magically, instead of as the result of terribly hard work. My family was happy for me but probably thought the writing was an indulgence until I’d published my fourth book. At that point, I think I got their attention J By the end of this year I’ll have 8 books out for the public to read!
RAD-READER: Do you have a process for coming up with a story or does one just happen to come to you?
ROLYNN: Luck? Instinct? Grit? Imagination? I have no idea how my brain works. Example: Strange to say, but the woman who inspired me to write Cézanne’s Ghost is not someone I know. Here’s the story: My train from Paris to Aix-en-Provence stopped for a time at a station, giving passengers a few moments to step off their car for a stretch or a smoke. I remained on the train, people-watching. A young blonde woman, dressed in jeans, a cream-colored tunic, and a black cowboy hat with a glittery gold hatband, caught my eye. I watched her interact with other people for no more than four minutes, yet something about her jump-started a riff in my imagination. Eventually, I named her Aline, the heroine of Cézanne’s Ghost (a book that comes out in July).
RAD-READER: I started reading another one of your books and the main character in that one is female as well, are all of your books with the female taking more of the front of the story?
ROLYNN: In Cézanne’s Ghost, a novel coming out in July/August, the male character, Leon, gets more time on my pages than Aline. You’ll learn why when you read the book. Truth is, I like to present both men and women on precipices...finding ways to survive. Often they help each other, and that is a good thing.
RAD-READER: Wouldn’t that be a selling point or a promotional point? The father of 3 daughters I think it would personally.
ROLYNN: Excellent insight! Here’s my overarching theme: I write about heroes/heroines who, for their own reasons, have remained isolated from the mainstream. Suddenly they are presented by life-changing events, discovering that the best way to fight their foes is to welcome change and commit to others.
RAD-READER: Is it the story that makes the book or the characters or both?
ROLYNN: Both. Add a third: setting. In LIE CATCHERS, setting is a character. I like to think the plot and the characters are always challenged by setting.
RAD-READER: In this book, Lie Catchers did you already have the ending in the works or did it come to you as you were writing the book?
ROLYNN: By now you know I’m not a planner. Every morning I get up to write, I’m surprised by what I type on the page. So much fun that way!
RAD-READER: If your book was made into a movie who would play…
I enjoyed the interview! Thanks for asking such wonderful questions! Rolynn
If you are ever lucky enough to ever be in a town where this woman is there to sign books do a reading or just speaking go. She is just the most outgoing person and her books reflect it from what my hubby says about this book. She inspired me so much when I met her last year at the convention and I have taken some of what she told me and have been applying it to my books. One day I hope to be able to have her in my credits. Thanks, Rolynn for being you and taking the time to answer all of Pat's fanboy questions. You are now a Rad-Reader Misfit too.