Behind the Pages with The Traveling Sisters discussion

31 views
Archived / Author Q & A's > Spoiler Free Q & A / Lisa Regan Author of the Detective Josie Quinn Series

Comments Showing 1-48 of 48 (48 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews (last edited Apr 24, 2020 08:48AM) (new)

Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Just so WOW! Lisa Regan spend an afternoon with us answers our questions about her Detective Josie Quinn Series. She gave us so much insight into this series and one of my favorite characters Josie! I love this series even more!!

Here is the link to Book 1 Vanishing Girls


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Welcome, Lisa! Thank you so much for joining us! I am excited to be able to chat with you about one of my favourite series and characters and your writing process.


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
What does your writing day look like for you? How has that changed due to the crisis we are now in today?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Right off we need to start talking about Josie! In the first book, she came across a little too hard for me and then once I found out a little more about her and seen the dynamics between her and Ray I started to warm up to her. I think the thing I love about her the most is her character development from one book to the other. You perfectly paced that with revealing a bit about her and her past in each one.

How did you go about developing Josie? Did you plan her character out or did she grow as you were writing?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
In Josie's voice can you tell us a bit about her?


message 6: by Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews (last edited Apr 20, 2020 08:18AM) (new)

Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
You grabbed me in the first book Vanishing Girls with all the characters and I was so happy to see you still gave them focus in your stories. I enjoyed the focus you gave to Josie's relationships with her colleagues and friends in the series and then gave some of them their own story with a crime.
For me, it made Josie a realistic character and you kept it real with how each relationship grew or how they changed.

Did you plan out in advance to give the characters a crime for Josie to solve in your books or did that all come together from one book to another?

How did you go about developing the dynamics between the characters? Did you feel that out from one story to the other or did you know from the start what direction you wanted them to go?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
How do you come up with the ideas for the crimes in your stories?


message 8: by Debra (last edited Apr 20, 2020 01:51PM) (new)

Debra  | 27 comments Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for joining us. We love reading and discussing your books! I wanted to tell you I love your posts on Facebook and pictures of Mr. Phillip.

I love how fast your books come out, you are obviously a fast writer. Which I love. How long does it usually take you to write a book on average?

I read somewhere that you worked as a paralegal, is this correct and do you still do this or currently work full time?

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I could have sworn that when Josie first got her dog he was a Beagle and then in the next book he was a Boston Terrier...am I wrong?

I love the Josie Quinn Series but I also loved Finding Claire Fletcher and Losing Leah Holloway
Will you be writing more books in this series? I hope so!

Thank you again for joining us! This is such a nice treat for all of us!


message 9: by Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews (last edited May 04, 2020 12:17PM) (new)

Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Even though I think your books get better with each one I thought that Her Mother's Gravewas the best one. In that one, you reveal the demons that haunted Josie from her past. I was a bit surprised by how dark that one was from your other ones. I do have to say it was brilliant. You stirred up some thoughts and emotions from the Traveling Sisters there with that. I also thought that was a turning point for Josie with some of the things that were revealed there.

Did you intend to go a little darker there or was that the direction that Josie took you in while writing the stories? Was it always your plan to reveal some of Josie's past the way you did or again did that come as you were writing?

Oh I love the reveals and just thought they all were brilliant and I would love to talk to about them but this is a spoiler-free thread. lol


message 10: by Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews (last edited Apr 21, 2020 08:09AM) (new)

Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
As an author can you tell us about your emotional connection to Josie? How do you go about capturing who she is as a character?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
What do you want readers to get from your books? Is there anything you would like to share with us about your books?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
What inspires you to start your writing day? What is one thing you usually have with you when you are writing?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Is there one thing you find you struggle more with while writing?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
I know this might be a hard question for you to answer but I will ask. lol Do you have a favourite book from the series, which one and why?


message 15: by Debra (new)

Debra  | 27 comments Do you have anyone you bounce your story ideas around with?

I just wanted to add that I love how you support your fellow peers/Authors, especially female Authors. Do you have any recommendations for a book(s)s for our group to read?

How do you balance your work/writing and personal life?


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Can you give a little sneak peek into what you are working on now?


message 17: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "I am so excited to have Lisa Regan joining us. Her Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favourite series and Josie is one of my favourite characters.

Here is the link to Book 1 [book:Vanishi..."


Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "I am so excited to have Lisa Regan joining us. Her Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favourite series and Josie is one of my favourite characters.

Here is the link to Book 1 [book:Vanishi..."


Thank you so much for having me! I am thrilled and honored to be here!


message 18: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "Welcome, Lisa! Thank you so much for joining us! I am excited to be able to chat with you about one of my favourite series and characters and your writing process."

Great question! Before this crisis, my day went something like this: I'd get my daughter off to school, walk my dog, then try to respond to emails or social media messages or do any research I needed to do by 10 or 11 a.m. Then at 11, the Freedom App on my computer would ban me from the internet and I'd write until it was time to get my daughter at 2:45 p.m. If I was really on a roll or on a deadline I'd work in the evening as well. Once a week or once every two weeks, I'd have brunch with two of my best and most brilliant writing friends, Matty Dalrymple and Jane Kelly (check out their books, they're both massively talented) and we'd go over plot issues, research stuff, and anything else that might help us with what we were currently working on. Since we've been at home, it hasn't changed that much. I get up and shower, walk my dog and write. I help my daughter with whatever homeschooling she needs help with. She is old enough to do most of it on her own now though. The only difference now is that I have a daily Zoom call with Matty and Jane where we do writing sprints. We all get on Zoom together and one of us sets a timer for 15 minutes and we just write for that time. I find that is when I'm most productive right now is when I'm sprinting with Matty and Jane. With everything going on in the world, it's too easy to get sucked into watching the news and worrying all day long and not get anything done at all. So sprinting with Matty and Jane has really helped me maintain my focus. I'll admit that I have found it very hard to concentrate during this crisis. I'm extremely lucky that what I do doesn't require me to leave the house. One of my brothers is a firefighter and one is a postal worker so both of them are out in the public constantly, and I worry about them and their families pretty much constantly. I am lucky to have good writing friends who keep me grounded and on-task.


message 19: by Nicole (new)

Nicole French | 3 comments Hi!
What inspired you to start writing a character like Josie Quinn? How much time goes into researching details in your novels?


message 20: by Nicole (new)

Nicole French | 3 comments Is there any advice or information you can give to someone who is just starting out in writing, or maybe someone who is thinking about it?


message 21: by DeAnn (new)

DeAnn | 19 comments Hi Lisa! I'm so excited to have you join us. My initiation to you was a binge read of the first three books and I couldn't read them fast enough! I love that you write so quickly.

I have a few questions for you. I will put them in separate threads to make it easier.

How did you learn so much about police procedures? It seems so realistic that I have to assume you've done your homework!


message 22: by DeAnn (new)

DeAnn | 19 comments Second question, I love Josie's grandma. Do you have any plans to feature more about her in a future book?


message 23: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "Right off we need to start talking about Josie! In the first book, she came across a little too hard for me and then once I found out a little more about her and seen the dynamics between her and R..."

Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "What does your writing day look like for you? How has that changed due to the crisis we are now in today?"

Josie is a little intentionally thorny and out of control in that first book because I wanted her to grow and change throughout the series. I personally love when I read a series or watch a television series and see characters grow and change over time. I love the way Will Trent has transformed over time (and stayed the same in some ways, too) in that Karin Slaughter series. I used to watch Grey's Anatomy religiously until the season that ended with the plane crash (too much and not necessary and also, Lexie!!!) and it felt so gratifying to see Meredith change and grow over time as a character. Right now my husband and I watch Seal Team which is on its 3rd season and my favorite character is Ray because of his personal growth throughout the show. So in my own work I wanted to do a little of this. If you're going to go on this insane journey with Josie, you ought to get to see her transform in some ways, especially in ways that are difficult.

When I was planning out the first three books, I had no idea that the series would take off the way it has and so those first three books are a pretty complete arc. She starts off kind of rogue and a little obnoxious and I wanted her to become a little more patient and more self-aware and then finally confront the largest parts of her past in book 3. Since then, I do a little bit of planning with each book in terms of asking myself, "What can I throw at her this time that's going to test her and how will she respond?" Then I let the writing happen and see where it goes. So now it has become a book by book sort of thing. I'm often surprised by her which is kind of cool. It makes it fun. But I don't want to stop testing her and I'd like her to keep growing as a character as long as I'm able to write the series.


message 24: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "In Josie's voice can you tell us a bit about her?"

If you asked Josie to tell you a little bit about herself, she wouldn't want to talk about herself. So she'd probably say: "My name is Josie Quinn. I'm a detective with the Denton City PD in central Pennsylvania. I work with a great team of investigators and together we do our best to solve whatever crimes happen in our town."


message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "You grabbed me in the first book Vanishing Girls with all the characters and I was so happy to see you still gave them focus in your stories. I enjoyed the focus you gave to Josie's..."

That came together book by book. What readers seem to enjoy the most are the books that have some kind of personal stake for Josie whether it's to do with her or someone in her sphere. So when my editor and I were talking about book 4, we discussed doing something with Gretchen and perhaps a crime in her own past that personally affected her. Then for Book 5, I originally had Sergeant Lamay's wife being the murder victim and my editor felt it wasn't close enough to Josie. So I thought what if we put Noah in this horrific situation? How would he act when tested? What would it do t their relationship? So I went that route instead.

In terms of the dynamics between characters, I kind of let it happen organically as I write. I find that Mettner is always playing devil's advocate to Josie and it kind of gets Noah's hackles up sometimes but for Josie, this is a normal part of working a case is to try to disprove one another's theories. With Gretchen, it started out a little rocky because Josie was under so much pressure but now they've got this great rapport that's borne of mutual respect and I think that Gretchen can say things to Josie that no other character would get away with, particularly because Gretchen's faced a lot of trauma in her past as well. Gretchen and Josie are a lot a like in that they're very work-focused and try to be unemotional.

I really just try to let them be themselves and see where it goes based on the cases they work and the pressures they're put under.


message 26: by Nicole (new)

Nicole French | 3 comments I have a few questions, so I've put them in different comments to make it easier.

How do you come up with the titles to your books? And is there a favourite book you've written?


message 27: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "How do you come up with the ideas for the crimes in your stories?"

It's a combination of me saying, "What if Scenario A happened?" and my editor saying, "What if we did a story about . . .?" For example, in Vanishing Girls, when I wrote that, the original title was Found Alive and my idea came from the question: What if you were looking for a missing person and then you found them but that wasn't the end of the story, that was the beginning of the story?" and for Book 6, Her Silent Cry, my editor said to me, "What if we did an abduction story again but this time somewhere like a carnival or amusement ride would be the place the person was taken from?" and I took that and built a plot around it. Sometimes things I see on the news or read about inspire ideas. Mostly it's just me going, "Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if . . ."

In Book 2, The Girl With No Name, I thought what if you had a baby go missing and also Josie's fiancé? How would you connect those two? So sometimes the clues come first and then I try to build the connections between or among them.


message 28: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Debra wrote: "Hi Lisa! Thank you so much for joining us. We love reading and discussing your books! I wanted to tell you I love your posts on Facebook and pictures of Mr. Phillip.

I love how fast your books co..."


Again, thank you so much for having me! It's a great pleasure to be here!

It usually takes me between 6 weeks and 3 months to write a first draft (I'm getting faster as I go) and then there is about 2-3 months of intensive editing. Usually the first draft that I turn in looks nothing like the finished product. My editor is really fantastic at pulling better stuff out of me once the first draft is written. I couldn't do this without her.

I used to be a paralegal. I was a personal injury paralegal for 13 years. I quit last year (Last April 30th actually!) to write full-time. I loved that job and my boss was wonderful to me. It was difficult to leave but this has always been my dream and my husband was very supportive of me taking the leap to writing full time. Also, trying to raise my daughter and working what was essentially two full-time jobs was becoming too stressful health-wise. I had a neurologist, a GI doc and a cardiologist all tell me: "You need to pick one thing and only do that" so I chose writing! Thanks to my incredible fans and readers, I'm able to do this.

I love so many authors! Karin Slaughter is my idol. I have met her twice. The first time I almost passed out and I have no idea what I said. The second time I was able to remember some of what I said to her but not much. I also love Jennifer Hillier, Matty Dalrymple, Dana Mason, Lisa Gardner, Harlan Coben, Jane Kelly, Angela Marsons, Jane Gorman, Gilly McMillan, Nancy Thompson, Dennis Lehane, Katie Mettner, Linwood Barclay, Meg Gardiner, Carrie Butler. I mean, how much time do you have? I know I've forgotten many!

Josie always had a Boston Terrier. I went back and checked toward the end of Cold Heart Creek to make sure it was correct, lol. I did that cause I've got a Boston and I think he's the best thing ever. Also I did put in the book that Noah got him from Northeast Boston Terrier Rescue which is a real organization doing wonderful work.

I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed Finding Claire Fletcher and Losing Leah Holloway. Those titles have a very special place in my heart. I don't have any firm plans to write more in that series only because I'm contracted to write so many more Josie books. But I do have ideas for new adventures for Claire and Connor so never say never!


message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "Even though I think your books get better with each one I thought that The Girl With No Name was the best one. In that one, you reveal the demons that haunted Josie from her past. I..."

Wow! Thank you so much for these wonderfully kind words. I really appreciate it. I'm thrilled that you enjoyed The Girl With No Name so much. That was a hard one to write.

To be honest, my tendency is to go really dark and then my editor has to pull me back. So that book--and every book, really--is usually much darker than the finished product as my editor will kind of indicate to me that I can still make the impact I want without being quite so dark. She's always right.

My plan, especially with those first three books, was to parse out the information a little at a time so readers would want to keep reading to find out more. I said in an earlier comment that I planned the first three books as a pretty complete arc because I didn't think people would enjoy the series so much and want more. I thought if I plan a nice complete arc with these three books and don't get to continue the series, then readers will have a nice little trilogy to read. So that's why I tried to spread out the tidbits about Josie's past so you really don't know the entirety of what happened to her until the end of book 3. Even in later books, I'm still finding things out from her. But yes, that was intentional!

You should feel free to email me at duchessmalfi@hotmail.com if you ever want to discuss anything that involves spoilers! That goes for any reader!

I so appreciate your enthusiasm. Thank you for these wonderful questions!


message 30: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "As an author can you tell us about your emotional connection to Josie? How do you go about capturing who she is as a character?"

I feel very connected to Josie. I believe it was last year that I was asked to write a short story with a character from one of my other books in it (Jocelyn Rush of Hold Still and Cold-Blooded) and the whole time I felt like I was cheating on Josie. People say to me, "Don't you want to write something else?" and I feel like no, that would make me very sad! I love Josie. We're very different though. I don't have all the trauma she had in her childhood. I'm way more emotional than her. I mean just about everything makes me cry! Good and bad! I cried this morning watching the Today show!

In a way, Josie is my hero though because she is someone who will always run toward the danger. She wants to protect people and help people even if it kills her. It doesn't matter the cost to her--justice is justice. You see in Book 1, Vanishing Girls, that when faced with injustice, she can't walk away. I think she says to someone, "I'm not built that way" and it's true. To her, it's not a choice. It's who she is. I love this about her.

In capturing her, I constantly have to remind myself of the type of person she is--she's kind of closed-off in the sense that she tries very hard never to freak out. She compartmentalizes. She's hyperfocused on work. But she's also very compassionate and empathetic. A lot of times, when she's in a scene, I have to remind myself things like, "Well this would make me bawl right then and there and Josie wants to bawl but the difference between us is that she can control herself so I can't have her crying right here, she's just going to push through!"


message 31: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "What do you want readers to get from your books? Is there anything you would like to share with us about your books?"

I think the number one thing I want readers to get from my books is a few hours of entertainment where the rest of the world and hopefully their worries and concerns drop away and they're swept up in the story. In 2016, my daughter was diagnosed with a rare condition affecting the skull called craniosynostosis. She had to have skull reconstruction. The months leading up to the surgery were some of the most stressful of my life as well as the long recovery. I remember I read Anne Frasier's The Body Reader and for the length of time it took me to read that, for those precious hours, I was transported to another time and place and I wasn't consumed by anxiety. It was such a sweet relief. I always think that if I can do that for a reader, then that's the most important thing I can do. Ultimately, my books are meant to entertain.

The only thing I can think of to share about my books is that I do try to listen to readers. If I have enough readers asking for a particular thing, like the return of a specific character, then I'll do my very best to make that happen. I've had a lot of readers ask for a book centered on Mettner and we're going to try to do that sometime around Book 11 I believe. I love hearing from readers so much--the good and the bad! Sometimes it takes me a long time to respond to messages, especially if I'm on a deadline but I try to get to every single one and I love engaging with readers and hearing their thoughts.


message 32: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "What inspires you to start your writing day? What is one thing you usually have with you when you are writing?"

Some days I'm just really into what's happening at that particular point in the book and I can't wait to get back to the page and other times I might be distracted by family obligations or things going on at home, and I have to force myself to sit down and work. For me it's just fun to tell stories and make stuff up. But at this point in my career, the biggest inspiration would be my wonderful readers. They're so enthusiastic about this series that it's impossible for me not to be excited to write each day. A lot of times when I'm really struggling to meet a deadline on time or I'm working through a draft and wondering if it's terrible or not, I'll get a lovely message from a reader and that will give me the oomph I need to push through the rough patches.

I would write even if no one read a word of my work because I just love it, but my readers are so passionate that I really feed off that. That's why they're always the first ones I thank in my acknowledgements!


message 33: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "Is there one thing you find you struggle more with while writing?"

Great question! This seems to change over time. I used to struggle the most with the first round of edits--the structural edit--where you're actually changing the plot. It always felt very complicated and cumbersome to me. Now I actually really enjoy that part and struggle with the first draft. It's hard for me to turn off that part of my brain that is always asking, "Wait, is this really working or not? Does this make sense? Are readers going to be excited about this or are they going to roll their eyes and do something more fun like the dishes?" I constantly have to remind myself that a first draft is just a first draft and if there are parts of the book that aren't working or that are less exciting than household chores, it can always be fixed in the editing process!


message 34: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "I know this might be a hard question for you to answer but I will ask. lol Do you have a favourite book from the series, which one and why?"

Actually this is a fantastic question and it's funny you ask, because I was just discussing this via email with someone from my publisher the other day.

I don't think I could choose a favorite overall book. I have favorites for different reasons. The book I enjoyed writing the most was Book 5, The Bones She Buried, because that was a story I'd wanted to tell for many years in some form or fashion. I remember turning that first draft in to my editor and actually feeling like I missed the book, as if it was a person! LOL. I couldn't wait for her to get it back to me so I could work on it some more. The one I am most proud of is probably number 8 which just came out last week, Find Her Alive because it was so difficult to write and I was convinced it was just terrible when I turned it in but then with the help of my editor and many, many rewrites and changes, it transformed into a completely different book. I worked so hard on that one and I was actually happy with how it turned out. Then my favorite book to read over and over in the editing process was the first one, Vanishing Girls. With each book, after it's finished, I've probably read it 8-12 times in a short amount of time and usually I find it hard to concentrate on something I just read a half dozen times last week but with Vanishing Girls, I was able to maintain focus every time I read it. Every book in the series is special to me in some way though. I would say the way I think of it is that I just have a list of my favorite scenes from the series in my head. It's hard to pick one book. I love them all for different reasons. Each one taught me a valuable lesson about writing as well.


message 35: by Debra (new)

Debra  | 27 comments When editing your books, have you ever had to edit anything out that you really liked but it didn't make it to the final edit? and if so, have you ever found a way to use that idea in a future book?

Besides, Josie do you have a favorite character?


message 36: by Debra (new)

Debra  | 27 comments I am always impressed with how Authors shock readers with twists, turns, and revelations. How difficult (or easy) is it to come up with them?


message 37: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Debra wrote: "Do you have anyone you bounce your story ideas around with?

I just wanted to add that I love how you support your fellow peers/Authors, especially female Authors. Do you have any recommendations f..."


Yes! I do! First there is my lovely, brilliant editor, Jessie Botterill. I don't think I could write a book without her now. I wouldn't even want to. She always looks at what I've come up with and says, "Hmm . . . what if we took things in this direction . . ." She just has the very best suggestions and she always finds a way to get my creativity going full speed ahead. She manages to pull the best out of me every time. It's quite astounding.

Then I have writing friends I've known for a decade who I trust more than anyone in the world. They are gracious and wonderful enough to read every word that I write and they are completely honest with me. They're also some of the most amazing writers I've read: Nancy S. Thompson, Dana Mason and Katie Mettner. I also use Entrada to give me beta readers who don't know me at all and feel no need to spare my feelings. Finally, I have good local writer friends, Matty Dalrymple and Jane Kelly who help me with anything I ask. We meet and now Zoom often and they are key in getting me unstuck on plot points--or anything really. I'm telling you, I couldn't do this on my own without the help of all these wonderful ladies!

Well, I was a reader long before I was a writer and I also believe very, very strongly in supporting other authors (male and female, I just happen to know more female authors, lol). There is so much talent out there and I think there are more than enough readers for everyone to be successful.

I could recommend books for DAYS!!! I will give you one or two right now but if you want regular recommendations, I make them on my Facebook page all the time. I think that Jennifer Hillier's Little Secrets which just came out this week is the best book of 2020. It's amazing. LynDee Walker just had a recent release. She's brilliant. T.J. Brearton is brilliant and his most recent book is Into the Darkness. Michelle Chouinard's The Dancing Girls which just hit the USA Today bestseller list. Those are just some recent recommendations. I don't read nearly as fast as I'd like to, but if I read something I like, I'm going to shout about it on social media!

I'm able to balance work and personal life only because I have the most amazing and supportive family in the whole world. My husband is amazing. He puts up with a lot of inattention from me but he knows this is my dream. My daughter is the same although now she's older so she doesn't really require or even want my attention anymore haha. My parents and siblings and aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, my very extended family of in-laws--they're all so supportive of me. I think it only works because everyone tolerates me being absent-minded so much of the time (when my mind is in Josie's world).


message 38: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Brenda -Traveling Sister wrote: "Can you give a little sneak peek into what you are working on now?"

I've just finished the first draft of Josie Quinn Book 9. No title yet. I can't say too much about it since I don't know how much will change during editing. What I can tell you is that at the beginning of the book, massive flooding has broken out in Denton after a couple of weeks of heavy rain. Josie and the rest of her team are out helping emergency services. She makes a daring rescue during a flash flood and immediately after, as a result of the flooding, she finds a body . . .


message 39: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Nicole wrote: "Hi!
What inspired you to start writing a character like Josie Quinn? How much time goes into researching details in your novels?"


Hi Nicole, thanks for your questions! Well I always wanted to write crime fiction and when I was pitching ideas to my publisher, they asked me if I'd write a detective who was a little rogue, didn't always follow the rules, with a strong sense of justice who was a bit flawed but always got the job done. So I have taken that description and run with it!

Research depends on the topic. Some topics are really easy to research just by a quick google search and others require a lot more. For example in Cold Heart Creek, #7, I actually took my daughter and we went out with Pennsylvania Search and Rescue Dogs and shadowed them during training for a day. It was so cool. Definitely one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to see up close. Other times I have to talk with or interview multiple people and that can take weeks or months.


message 40: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Nicole wrote: "Is there any advice or information you can give to someone who is just starting out in writing, or maybe someone who is thinking about it?"

This is an excellent question! I would say first, WRITE, WRITE, WRITE!!! You really have to get used to putting words on the page. The only way to do this is to do it. If you don't have a story, use writing prompts. Write about what you would write about if you could. Write characters sketches, essays, emails, letters to your congressperson! Anything that involves the act of getting what's in your head onto the page.

Next, through that writing, you'll figure out what your process is and every person has a different process. No one process is the right one. Every person is different and so their process is different. What you want to do is figure out what works best for you. I'd also recommend Becca Syme's course Write Better Faster which helps you figure out your strengths and what will and will not work for you personally.

Pick a genre you want to write in and then read everything you can read in that genre. You'll learn so much just by reading.

Study the craft. There are books, webinars, seminars, online courses--so many resources for getting better at writing and honing your craft.

Join a writing group or form your own so you will have people to help you work through certain things. You're going to need beta readers and critique partners and they CANNOT be anyone you're related to or already friends with. It has to be someone who has no emotional stake whatsoever in your work so they'll be honest with you.

Don't be afraid to fail. This business is all about rejection. You get rejected by agents and then publishers and then when you've successfully got a book on the market--you'll get critical and sometimes even mean reviews. You cannot please everyone and if you're not comfortable with that, you'll never make it without having a nervous breakdown. So get comfortable with rejection and failure and harsh words! Just think of all of that aspect as a way to learn!


message 41: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments DeAnn wrote: "Hi Lisa! I'm so excited to have you join us. My initiation to you was a binge read of the first three books and I couldn't read them fast enough! I love that you write so quickly.

I have a few que..."


Hi DeAnn:

I'm so happy to hear the word binge in connection with my books! That's fabulous. Thank you for that. Well I read a lot of books about police procedure but I've also talked to a lot of people in the profession over the years. Right now I have a friend I went to grade school with who is a police officer on a city force in Pennsylvania that is a similar size to Denton which is fictional. He's really wonderful. I can message him on Facebook in the middle of the night with the most inane question and he'll answer in great detail. I'll say, "I need Josie to do this . . . " and he'll tell me everything I need to know. I also am a member of my local chapter of Sisters in Crime who have speakers every month come and talk to us about their specialties. We have some amazing speakers that I've learned so much from. Last year, I attended Murdercon which was a conference for writers who wanted to learn about police procedures. It was two days of intensive classes taught by law enforcement to help us make our stories more authentic. Generally I find that law enforcement people are happy to help if you just ask!


message 42: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments DeAnn wrote: "Second question, I love Josie's grandma. Do you have any plans to feature more about her in a future book?"

I love Lisette too! I don't know if you've read Book 8, Find Her Alive, yet since it just came out but she figures heavily in that one and she'll definitely have some part in books 9, 10, and 11 so far which is as far as I've gotten in planning. Any chance I have to work her in, I love to do it!


message 43: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Nicole wrote: "I have a few questions, so I've put them in different comments to make it easier.

How do you come up with the titles to your books? And is there a favourite book you've written?"


I actually have no control at all over titles which is a good thing for me because I stink at coming up with them! My publisher handles that. I can make suggestions (not that I have any) but usually they come to me with a list and I tell them what I love or what I hate and then ultimately, they decide.

As far as a favorite book, I did answer this in an earlier thread. Here it is:

I don't think I could choose a favorite overall book. I have favorites for different reasons. The book I enjoyed writing the most was Book 5, The Bones She Buried, because that was a story I'd wanted to tell for many years in some form or fashion. I remember turning that first draft in to my editor and actually feeling like I missed the book, as if it was a person! LOL. I couldn't wait for her to get it back to me so I could work on it some more. The one I am most proud of is probably number 8 which just came out last week, Find Her Alive because it was so difficult to write and I was convinced it was just terrible when I turned it in but then with the help of my editor and many, many rewrites and changes, it transformed into a completely different book. I worked so hard on that one and I was actually happy with how it turned out. Then my favorite book to read over and over in the editing process was the first one, Vanishing Girls. With each book, after it's finished, I've probably read it 8-12 times in a short amount of time and usually I find it hard to concentrate on something I just read a half dozen times last week but with Vanishing Girls, I was able to maintain focus every time I read it. Every book in the series is special to me in some way though. I would say the way I think of it is that I just have a list of my favorite scenes from the series in my head. It's hard to pick one book. I love them all for different reasons. Each one taught me a valuable lesson about writing as well.


message 44: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Debra wrote: "When editing your books, have you ever had to edit anything out that you really liked but it didn't make it to the final edit? and if so, have you ever found a way to use that idea in a future book..."

Oh yes! Actually there is an element of the ending of Book 1 that was completely and utterly different than what it turned out to be. I loved it so much but my editor felt it would be better in a different way. I think she was right in hindsight, but I still love my original idea even though it was pretty gross and gruesome! Lots of stuff doesn't make it in but usually it's for a good reason. My editor always has reasonable explanations for why not to include something so it usually won't show up later.

Oh . . . another favorite character . . . this is such a tough one. It's probably Noah. He's so lax and he lets Josie be Josie. He respects her intelligence and competence. It takes a whole lot to get under his skin.


message 45: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Debra wrote: "I am always impressed with how Authors shock readers with twists, turns, and revelations. How difficult (or easy) is it to come up with them?"

Sometimes I know what the twist is before I've even worked out the majority of the story and sometimes I don't know what it is until I get to the end of the book and I'm like uh, I need something here, where is it?! Every book is different. I don't think it's hard coming up with them. I think it's hard executing them. You have to place enough clues to make readers go, "Oooooh! I see it now!" but not enough so they figure out what's going on by page 5!


message 46: by Debra (new)

Debra  | 27 comments Lisa, Thank you so much for joining us. This has been such a wonderful treat! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions.


message 47: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Regan (lisaregan) | 23 comments Debra wrote: "Lisa, Thank you so much for joining us. This has been such a wonderful treat! I really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions."

It was a pleasure! I really appreciate you having me! All the questions were so thoughtful! Thank you!


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews | 402 comments Mod
Thank you so much for joining us, Lisa! Yes, it was such a wonderful treat!! I loved reading your answers and really loved seeing your insight into Josie and your books. It's so wonderful to see a character through the author's eyes. I appreciate all the time you spent with us!!

I can't wait for the next one in the series!!


back to top