I'm going to ask you something I recently asked Brad Parks, yet another reporter-turned-novelist (interviewed him here ). Are you using material garnered from your media work for your books and do you have any concerns that, since you left the profession, you might at one point run out of material?
Or are you still doing some media work (not including book publicity:)
The details, the atmosphere — the nuts and bolts of what it’s like to be a shooter—are all things I experienced on the job. I absolutely do worry that I’ll fall behind now that I’ve moved on. Luckily, my husband still works in TV news, so I’m able to keep up with changes in the profession that way. It’s almost better because I can observe from a distance and get a less-biased view. I don’t like change and have an almost knee-jerk negative reaction to it. This way I can see things for what they really are, instead of getting angry because someone moved my cheese.
You - as in you the protagonist - did something shocking on page 38 namely helping out the competition on a developing story. Have you ever done that? It's one of those things that viewers probably don't realize - how competitive reporters and others in the news industry can be but may seem like no big deal to the average viewer and reader.
The situation you’re referring to is one in which Lilly knows there’s going to be an important briefing on the fire, but doesn’t have the technology to broadcast it live from the mountains. An L.A. shooter, with a much more powerful and expensive satellite truck, can do it, but he’s planning to leave. Lilly gives him a tip to stick around.
You’re right that TV news is a very competitive industry, and sometimes it’s not even rational competition. Does it matter to the viewers if one station gets their live shot up at five-ten and another at five-twenty? Not really, but it matters a lot to each of those stations and to the people who work there.
It’s true that every good journalist wants to get the story first, but they also know that their job is to work in the public interest. If Lilly herself could have broadcast live, she never would have helped the L.A. shooter — she would have guarded her scoop like Golem with the one-true ring — but she couldn’t do it, and so she got the story out the only way she could.
Also from a character standpoint, it shows that Lilly isn’t as tough as her sometimes gruff exterior would lead one to believe. She complains about the L.A. shooter and calls him a lazy slug, but when push comes to shove, she’s going to help him.