Carolyn Hart interview with David Alan Binder

Post date: Feb 18, 2017 12:24:39 AM

Carolyn Hart interview with David Alan Binder

Her bio from her website: Carolyn Hart’s most recent titles are GHOST TIMES TWO and DON’T GO HOME.

LETTER FROM HOME, a stand-alone novel set in Oklahoma, was published by Berkley in 2003. Gretchen Gilman is 13 in the summer of 1944 and working on the small town newspaper. Murder occurs on the street where she lives, changing her life forever. LETTER FROM HOME was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize by the Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers at Oklahoma State University Tulsa. Letter from Home won the Agatha for Best Mystery Novel of 2003 and was a New York Times notable book.

Hart was one of ten mystery authors featured at the National Book Festival on the Mall in Washington D.C. in 2003 and again in 2007. In March 2004 she received the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oklahoma Center for the Book. She has twice won the annual Oklahoma Book Award for best novel. In April 2004 she spoke at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on mysteries in American culture. She received the Ridley Pearson Award at Murder in Grove, Boise, Idaho, in 2005 for significant contributions to the mystery field. She has received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Amelia Award from Malice Domestic. In 2014, she was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America.

Hart is a native of Oklahoma City, a Phi Beta Kappa journalism graduate of the University of Oklahoma, and a former president of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Crime Writers Association, the International Thrillers Association, and the American Crime Writers League. She taught professional writing in the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism from 1982-85. She is the author of 49 mysteries, winner of three Agatha Awards for Best Novel, two Anthonys and two Macavitys.

Her website is:

The books are available online (Amazon, B&N, Target, Walmart) and at bookstores.

Find Carolyn Hart's books at your favorite bookseller


Barnes & Noble



1. Where are you currently living?

Oklahoma City

2. What is the most important thing that you have learned in your writing experience, so far?

Every time I read anther author, I learn something new.

3. What would you say is your most interesting writing, publishing, editing or illustrating quirk?

If I keep writing, I will find the story.

4. Tell us your insights on self-publish or use a publisher?

The publishing world has changed enormously. I understand the appeal of self-publishing and for some writers it is a great decision. However, I still believe it is in the writer’s best interests to connect with a traditional publisher, whether large or small. Only exceptional authors have the ability to market books successfully.

a. Who is the name of your publisher and in what city are they?

My main publisher, Berkley, is an imprint of Random House. New York.

Some of my early suspense novels have been republished by Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY.

Several early titles and some never before pub titles have been pub by Oconee Spirit Press, Waverly, TN

5. Any insights eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?

The majority of my books are available in print or as audiobooks or e-books. Each format appeals to different readers so it is a great advantage to appear in all venues.

Conventional publishing offers a greater chance of success.

6. Do you have any secret tips for writers on getting a book published?

If you care passionately about what you are writing, an editor will care, too. I believe in the worth of mysteries. They reaffirm our faith in goodness

7. How did you or would you suggest acquire an agent? Any tips for new writers on getting one?

My agent and I have been together for more than a quarter century. She was recommended to me by an editor.

Attending writers’ conferences is a good way to meet agents.

8. Do you have any suggestions or helps for new writers (please be specific and informational as possible)?

I do not outline. I know these facts when I start a new mystery, the protagonist, the victim, who committed the crime and why. The choice of the protagonist (a birdwatcher or a Marine) determines the tone and background of the book and likely the locale. The victim creates the cast of characters, i.e., who in this person’s circle wanted him dead. The murderer must be propelled by a real motive. Murders thankfully rarely occur in ordinary life (and I write about ordinary people) but they are an exaggeration of the quarrels and tensions that arise in families, at work, in our larger life. What mattered so immensely to this person that murder was the solution. Greed? Jealousy? Fear? Anger?

Writing without an outline is stressful, but I hold to the faith that if I continue to write something will happen, a corner will be turned, a phone call will come, the story will evolve.

9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned your creative process with your books, editing, publishing or illustrating?

It never gets easier. The 60th book was as hard, if not harder, than the first.

10. How many books have you written?


11. Do you have any tricks or tips to help others become a better writer (please be as specific and information as you possibly can)?

Outlining the book as you go can be very helpful in making changes and rewriting.

Keep a list of what events occur on what day and what time of day.

Surprise your reader. As the story continues, it seems likely something will occur. Do something else.

Remember that the first draft is only a draft. Read it carefully. Smooth the language. Catch errors. The pleasure of rewriting is the reward for having written.

12. Do you have any suggestions for providing twists in a good story?

Introduce a new character.

Something unexpected occurs. The protagonist is at a hotel and an unknown person leaves a package at the desk.

Remember that the villain is busy. What is he/she doing? How does that action impact the protagonist?

13. What makes your or any book stand out from the crowd?

Each author is unique. Each book written by that author could only have been written by that author. It can be called style, flavor, pace. They call it charisma in politicians.

14. What are some ways in which you promote your work?

My only promotional effort now is my website. I keep readers up to date on new books and the site offers a great deal of information and a means of contacting me.

I no longer do book tours or signings. I loved those years but travel is a bit too much of a hassle now.

15. What is the one thing you would do differently now (concerning writing or editing or publishing or illustrating) and why?

I have been very fortunate with editors and publishing houses. I appreciate each and every one of them. I have no regrets.

16. What saying or mantra do you live by?

It never hurts to ask.

17. Anything else you would like to say?

I love readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, and all the kind and generous people who have helped me through the years.

And if it is appropriate. I have two titles forthcoming:

WALKING ON MY GRAVE, the 26th in the Death on Demand series on May 2, Annie Darling wants to keep a friend safe but early one morning finds her house empty and a bloodstain on the wall.

GHOST ON THE CASE, 8th in the Bailey Ruth series. When Bailey Ruth, Heaven’s most energetic emissary, has only hours remaining to save an innocent woman from arrest, she imitates Roger Staubach in the famed 1975 playoff game. He hurled the ball at the end zone and said a Hail Mary. Bailey Ruth picks up the phone . . .

Janet Hubbard asks David Alan Binder the following question:

“I’m just curious to the method behind the madness, the inner belief or what drives or motivates you.”

David’s Answer: I love interviewing authors; I’ve learned so much from them that I am directly applying to my writing. I am learning from the mouths of masters / mistresses.

18. What do you treasure from your writing years?

The touching, kind, thoughtful, and loving letters and e-mails I have received from readers.