Author Chat with Linda Fairstein (Digging For Trouble: A Devlin Quick Mystery)!
Today we're excited to chat with Linda Fairstein, author of Digging For Trouble: A Devlin Quick Mystery. Read on for more about Linda and her book, plus her nterview!
Meet Linda Fairstein!
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I have always credited my affection for the Nancy Drew books, which I read as a child, for both my careers – in law and in literature. I loved her intrepid nature and her independence – neither of those traits I could imagine possessing in my youth. Well into my Alexandra Cooper series of adult crime novels, I couldn’t shake the idea of creating a new series featuring a twelve-year old sleuth (named Devlin Quick). Nancy Drew and her friends inspired me, and I am hoping to give some of that pleasure to young readers who open DIGGING FOR TROUBLE.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Devlin Quick is my favorite character. She is totally unlike the twelve-year old ‘me’, which is part of the reason I like her so much. She is much more courageous than I was, and much more spirited. I like her intelligence and her loyalty to family and friends, and her enviable spunk in doing the right thing.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
It’s different with every book that I write, for adults or for children. Sometimes I have a working title from day one that makes it through the publisher’s marketing decisions, and other times my title is rejected and I scramble to come up with something that might work better. In this case, the story came first – and the publisher, editor, marketing team helped with title suggestions. Sometimes, it takes a village.
4. What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I like the scenes near the end of the book when Devlin is confronted by the bad guys, and has to figure her own way to save herself. She has to confront some things that frighten her, and I’m a big believer that a crime novel protagonist has to work her way out of trouble herself. It’s always a hard spot for a writer as well as for the character, so it’s the bit I’m most proud of.
5. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I think the most important thing that I’ve learned from my earliest writing days onward is the enormous discipline it takes to become a writer. Unlike my job in the DA’s Office, which was extremely collegial, writing is very solitary work. It takes a lot of practice to go into a room alone, turn off the phone and the internet, and focus on your words and your story.
6. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
This is the second book in the series. Of course, like every author creating characters, they are only alive in your mind’s eye at the outset. DIAL PRESS FOR YOUNG READERS got Devlin and her friends from the time they were handed the manuscript of INTO THE LION’S DEN. The jacket art on both book covers make me smile. This one has Dev and her best friend Booker, standing in front of a dinosaur skeleton at the great Museum of Natural History, and Dev has her trademark flashlight in her hand. The artist just nailed the heart of the book for me.
7. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
I’ve just purchased the two books I most wanted to read this year and hope to settle in with them after my book tour. The life and genius of Leonardo daVinci has always fascinated me, so I am looking very much forward to reading Walter Isaacson’s biography, and the buzz about Jennifer Egan’s MANHATTAN BEACH has put that one next up on my list.
8. What’s up next for you?
I’ve always got two things to juggle. I’m almost done writing Devlin Quick’s next adventure – called SECRETS OF THE DEEP – about a discovery she and Booker make while on a beach vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. Then I’m onto Alex Cooper’s 20th caper – BRIDGE OF SIGHS – which puts me back in an entirely different literary voice and world.
9. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I’m very fortunate. I’m pretty compulsive about getting my story right the first time. Each day when I start to work on a novel, I go back to the previous few chapters and read them again, editing each time I do. I think it makes for a more cohesive narrative and a better chance at getting a smooth first draft. Twenty-two books later, my revisions have been very gentle ones. I have been in the hands of really great editors in both series, and that helps hold my toes to the fire.
10. What would you say is your superpower?
In terms of the book world, I’d say my ‘superpower’ is my ability to read really fast, as well as to absorb what I’ve read. It’s enormously helpful to me as I research to have that combination of abilities, and then again to benefit from them as I plow through the stacks of books that I love to read.
11. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
My long prosecutorial career working on behalf of women, children and men who had been sexually abused makes advocacy for those survivors my number one issue. I’m on the boards of two great non-profits to which I devote a lot of energy and heart: SAFE HORIZON – the country’s largest and best victim advocacy organization, and the JOYFUL HEART FOUNDATION, founded by Mariska Hargitay, where I am involved in helping to end the backlog of rape evidence collection kits.
*Thanks for the opportunity to answer these questions. It was both challenging and fun.--Linda