Introducing the Newsmakers Series
Let the games begin…
Q: Who is Erica Sparks to you?
A: Erica is something of an alter ego for me. In spite of her abusive childhood, a failed marriage, a descent into alcoholism, and a rocky relationship with her daughter, she never ever gives up. Her belief in the importance of the truth drives her, and in that she retains a core idealism. I think that’s something we all have to find. Everyone gets knocked around by the slings and arrows of life. People suffer life-defining trauma and yet they find the inner resolve and faith to go on. I find that admirable, even inspiring. And Erica exemplifies that for me.
Yes, I found the same inspiration in her. Her determination never wanes no the matter the odds.
Determination is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like doing it.
Q: Where does she rank among all the characters you’ve written?
A: Well, I would never play favorites. That said, I do have a special fondness for Erica. Part of it is because she’s my most recent protagonist, but I also love her moxie, her smarts, her courage, her wit, and that unshakable, seasoned idealism.
I agree! She is rather steely.
Q: How was writing this series different from your others?
A: The Newsmakers series is very topical; it has a ripped-from-the-headlines relevance. The books are set in today’s world of broadcast journalism and they explore issues like manufactured news stories, control of a presidential candidate by a foreign power, and secessionist movements. These are things we’re seeing played out in the real world. This is my first series that captures the zeitgeist in that way.
I loved both books from the Newmakers series and can’t wait for the third installment!
Q: Who does Erica Sparks represent?
A: I think she represents every survivor out there. Yes, she’s idealistic, but she’s also a woman who has taken her knocks — and seen evil up close. So she’s knowing — there are no rose-colored glasses here. To retain her faith in the redemptive power of the truth and in her relationship with her daughter, in spite of her journeys into the heart of darkness, make her a real survivor.
Erica is definitely a survivor. I loved seeing her navigate through all of her adventures.
Hope anchors the soul ~Hebrews 6:19
Q: I love the traits you’ve created in Erica. Persistent. Daring. Determined to uncover the truth. Committed to Justice. Do you see those traits in yourself?
A: My Dad was an FBI agent and I saw those traits in him. He’s my hero. I’ve tried to make him proud. But do I have Erica’s level of courage? No. As for persistent, I have two teenage kids and I think they’d call it nagging.
Hahaha!! I totally understand that one.
Q: Her dimensions are very appealing to the reader. A troubled past, palpable flaws, but also has a spine of steel. Are normal journalists like this?
A: I think the best journalists do have extraordinary courage. Remember, too many journalists die in war zones, or are assassinated by governments seeking to stifle their voices. It’s a dangerous profession. And a crucial one for a functioning, healthy democracy. In this day of fake news, where our leaders regularly lie to us, I think journalism is more important than ever.
I have a new appreciation for journalists who stick to the truth. Delivering it to the public no matter the cost. Too many have already paid that price with their lives.
Q: This series has been refreshing without a dull moment. Which kind of matches Erica’s last name: Sparks. What techniques do you employ for conflict and tension?
A: First of all, there has to be a lot at stake. Life or death. The future of a country. Or even the world. Then add a ticking clock. Then toss in a fascinating and twisted villain. And a hero determined to uncover and bring down that villain. You’re off to the races.
That’s essentially it! Quite a simple recipe!
Q: The struggle of balancing a demanding career with being a parent is painted very well. How do real life journalists handle this dilemma?
A: I can only speak for myself, of course, and answer, “As best as I can.” I think this is a challenge that transcends journalism. Any parent who has a demanding career knows about the conflicts and sacrifices involved in this juggling act. At the end of day, I want my kids to know that I love them.
Very true. The need to be loved is universal especially for children. Buy with a demanding job it’s the ultimate balancing act.
Q: Erica has a knack for fashion. Do you see yourself in her?
A: I wish I could claim Erica’s fashion sense. The truth is I don’t like shopping. But I did have fun dressing Erica.
It seemed as if she enjoyed it too!
Q: What’s next in the Newsmakers series?
A: The Separatists will be out this summer. It’s about a secessionist movement with big plans to change the map of the United States. Look for Erica be to right in the middle of the action.
YES. Licking my chops for this one.
Expected publication date: June 27, 2017
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Lis Wiehl, author of The Candidate: A Newsmaker Novel is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels. She is a Harvard Law School graduate and has served as a federal prosecutor in the state of Washington and as a tenured faculty member at The University Washington School of Law. She is currently a popular legal analyst and commentator for the Fox News Channel.
Lis is also one of our participating authors in this years Mystery Thriller Week event.