Guest Post: Michele Drier

Recycling news?

I’m a news junkie.

There, I’ve said it.

It’s an addiction I developed over the 25 years (or so) that I spent working for daily newspapers in California. I began as a reporter for the San Jose Mercury-News, served as the City Editor and SNAPExecutive Editor for smaller papers in the Central Valley and ended as an Assistant Metro Editor with the Modesto Bee, a McClatchy newspaper.

This part of my career taught me to write fast, tersely and to self-edit my work…let alone editing other’s stories. But I cherish the work I did developing, assigning and framing stories. I called it the “What If” syndrome. It’s the curiosity that leads you to ask questions.

After I left the “biz” in 2000, I stayed addicted to newspapers until about three years ago. I subscribed to the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, Newsweek and the Atlantic Monthly. I have some guilt that the Amazonian rainforest gave up too many trees to feed my appetite for the printed word.

Now I’ve cut back and get most of my news from broadcast media. PBS, BBC, Al Jazeera, local and national broadcast channels, MSNBC, CNN. It doesn’t take the place of the Sunday Times, but I try to keep up with what’s happening in the world.

This addiction comes in handy in my fiction writing. Over and above the “What If” syndrome, I mine the news for plots, red herrings, characters.

In the Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries, Amy and her police reporter, Clarice, find themselves immersed in not only a murder or two, but events that are shaping their world. “Labeled for Death” looks as the financial impact the winegrape growing industry has on the Central Valley and California. The plot is based loosely on an actual case of a winery knowingly substituting a lower grade winegrape for the higher priced Zinfandel grapes.

“Delta for Death,” published in May, is built around the severe drought in California, the jockeying for scarce water and the very controversial Delta Tunnels proposal that Gov. Jerry Brown has proposed.

I don’t ignore current world events in my totally fictional world of the Kandesky vampires, either.

They may be 500 years old. They may be headquartered in a Hungarian castle. But they also own Kandesky Enterprises, a family-held conglomerate that has munitions factories in the Czech Republic, cattle ranches in Argentina, textile design and manufacturing plants in several Central European countries and their flagship property, SNAP.

SNAP is a daily TV show (think Entertainment Tonight) and a weekly magazine (US, People, e.g.) that covers the world’s gossip from the world’s celebrities. They produce TV editions for all the European and South American markets—as well as North America—and are headquartered in LA…gossip central for the rich, super-rich, notable and aristocracy.

Book Nine of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, SNAP: I, Vampire launched this week. In it, the Kandeskys take on a shadowy arms dealer who brokers arms sales from their munitions factories to Middle East terrorists.

I’m not sure I’d recommend being a news junkie. Like all addictions, it’s hard to break, but I’ve convinced myself that it’s “research” when I spend all that time with the TV on. At least now, I feed the cat, cook dinner, fold laundry, do dishes while the news is on.

Not quite the luxury of spending a quiet hours or so reading newspapers (and doing the crossword puzzles) over coffee during the morning.

This appetite has left me with a brain stuffed with trivia that I’ll probably never use…and may not even be able to recall as needed. Aaaah, maybe I’ll find a way to buy more memory! There’s a thought.

***

Michele Drier was born in Santa Cruz and is a fifth generation Californian. She’s lived and worked all over the state, calling both Southern and Northern California home. During her career in journalism—as a reporter and editor at daily newspapers—she won awards for producing investigative series.

Her Amy Hobbes Newspaper Mysteries are Edited for Death, (called “Riveting and much recommended” by the Midwest Book Review), Labeled for Death and Delta for Death.

Her paranormal romance series, SNAP: The Kandesky Vampire Chronicles, has received “must read” reviews from the Paranormal Romance Guild and was the best paranormal vampire series of 2014. The series is SNAP: The World Unfolds, SNAP: New Talent, Plague: A Love Story, Danube: A Tale of Murder , SNAP: Love for Blood, SNAP: Happily Ever After?, SNAP: White Nights, SNAP: All That Jazz, SNAP: I, Vampire .

Visit her webpage, www.MicheleDrier.com facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AuthorMicheleDrier or her Amazon author page, http://www.amazon.com/Michele-Drier/e/B005D2YC8G/

 

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Guest Post: Michele Drier”

  1. Welcome, Michele! It’s so cool that your work is inspired by the news. Nothing is stranger than real life. And I’m with you, I’d love to find a way to buy more memory! In fact, that’s an interesting “What If” question… 😉

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  2. Great post, Michele. My favorite news sources are CNN, FB, local affiliates, San Francisco Chronicle and Irish Times but what I really love is old news stories. My father was involved in a newsworthy event in the late 30’s and the reporters’ writing was so beautiful it makes me want to cry. I’ve also been reading a couple of Berkshire newspapers from 1870’s through WWI. Again, gorgeous writing plus editorializing on a grand scale. There was no doubt in one’s mind what the writers opined on a particular subject. Together with the ads, its a map of the culture. Makes me want to go back to Adams, Mass. and spend the day in the library.

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  3. Wow, it seems I’ve hit a a nerve…in all the good ways! And it’s a kick to learn that I’m not the only news junkie out there! I don’t tell a lot of people about that habit, makes me feel like a nerd.
    Thanks so much to Cynthia and the Mysteritas for having me. This was such a fun blog to think about (and write).
    If you’d like to take a look at the Kandeskys, I’m kind of in love with them. Total fiction and a great p,lace to escape from reality.
    Thanks for all the comments!

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  4. Lovely! I, too, am a bit of a news junkie, although during the election cycle I have to stay away–I let the negativity grind me down too much–but I miss the feel of a really nice newspaper. And the smell! Ah. Thanks for adding more books to my TBR pile. 🙂

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  5. I am really addicted to my local newspaper as well — The Orange County Register. Trust me, you do not want to be on the receiving end of the phone call if my paper is wet, missing, or late. As I have said before, I pour over the paper looking for the little back-page stories and I, too, wonder “what if” and even how or why. There are some “real” things in the paper that no one would believe if they were written as plots in books. Gotta love stupid criminals!!!

    One of the dangers of using a lot of current events in a novel is that later that very news story might make the book dated. I like to read “period” books, but there is a huge difference if the book is just “modern” but people are worried about the gas rationing or polyester pantsuits. I hope you all cloak your current events in enough ambiguity that they will still be relevant (and enjoyable to read) a few years down the line.

    We here in Orange county are fortunate that the O. C. Register has started its own book club. The Register staff selects a book with somewhat local connections by plot or author, and we all read it. The author, then comes to the Register office for meet, great, eat, and buy books. So far the events have been superb. They even give “behind the scenes” tours of the newspaper — offices, press, all the “cool” stuff.The videos of the interviews with authors are posted, so if you want to know about Dean Koontz’s new book — the most recent book club event, it is posted.

    Say — any of you live in or around O.C.? If so, contact the Register for a book club event.

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  6. I have read and loved each of the Kandesky Vampire Chronicles but have yet to read the latest “I Vampire” something I hope to correct very soon. I’m also a “news junkie” but mine is mostly from the scientific and military journals to support writing my own “Immortal Relations” paranormal-romance series. As always, I wish Michel the very best…her series would be far more interesting than any of the past or current vampire movies or television shows!

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  7. The news is a great source for mining stories. I love my little local newspaper, not so much for the stories but for the flavor of the community. Looking forward to checking out your books!

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