Thursday, December 08, 2016

Q' & A' with Devlin Quick Author Linda Fairstein & Book Giveaway

 UPDATE: Winners are Jessie & Eric, congrats!


I'm hosting a giveaway of two of the new Devlin Quick Mysteries book #1 - Into the Lion's Den - read through this Q' & A' with author Linda Fairstein and see below on how you can enter to win a copy!


Why did you write INTO THE LION’S DEN your new middle grade series?

I wrote my first mystery story when I was in elementary school inspired by my devotion to the Nancy Drew books that I devoured as a kid.  I actually credit those books for the two careers I settled on – first, as a prosecutor – because of Nancy’s keen sense of doing justice for others and the fact that her father was a district attorney – and second, as a crime writer, hoping to create characters that would appeal to readers the way Nancy and her friends appealed to me.  Years ago, I told my literary agent that in addition to writing the Alex Cooper series, I hoped to be able to create a lively young sleuth to fill out my cast of characters.  I finally got around to disciplining myself to add a second book to my annual output, and INTO THE LION’S DEN is the result.  I can’t begin to tell you how much fun it was to sit down every day and tell a story involving middle-grade kids who saw an injustice and fought to make things right.

Tell us about your experience growing up reading Nancy Drew books?

I really don’t want to claim that Devlin Quick is in any way a copycat of Nancy Drew.  I have too much respect for Nancy – and Nancy has a legion of fans over so many generations – that my plan was to pay homage to Nancy, a tribute to the kind of character she is because she so engaged me in her world for years and years.  Whenever I picked up the latest book in the series, I wanted to crawl inside the pages and go wherever Nancy and her loyal friends were going – to find the hidden staircase or discover the secret at Shadow Ranch.   My hope is that young readers will enjoy running with Devlin Quick and Booker Dibble, and that their adventures will lure them into a new and exciting world, just as I was drawn in by Nancy as a kid.

Devlin is smart and brave, and determined to do justice when she believes a crime has been committed.  She is terrifically loyal to her friends – like Liza and Booker – and she is very fortunate that her mom is the first woman police commissioner of New York City.  That connection helps Dev find her way around headquarters and gain the assistance of some great NYPD detectives.   Devlin loves to read, too, and is on her school swim team – so I’m hoping that she has lots of traits that her readers can identify with.

Your books do more than just tell a story.  Why?

My books are, of course, meant to entertain.  But just as I use my adult thrillers to gently inform the reader about the issues I grappled with in the criminal justice system, I want these books to have an aspirational side.  Devlin Quick is a strong and spirited young woman – in the mold of both her mother and grandmother – and a kid with a great deal of curiosity, too.  When reading as a kid, I loved to attach myself to the fictional characters I admired and dreamed about growing with some of the traits they developed in their stories.  Dev has no father – very unlike my stable family life – which is a challenge she struggles with, and her mother Blaine has worked hard to surround Dev with a surrogate family and friends.  I hope the kids who enjoy her capers will also respect her loyalty, her love of books and reading, her sportsmanship – developed as a swim team member – and her keen sense of justice.  And I want to give this to readers cloaked in an adventure that is meant to be great fun.

How do you hope to get kids reading more?

I wish I had a great answer to how to engage kids in reading!  For me, it was a pleasure in my life for as far back as I can remember.  First, my mother reading me to sleep at night – I especially think of the sing-song poems of Robert Louis Stevenson that I found so enchanting.  I was always happy to have a good book to keep me company if my friends were busy or it was a rainy day at home.  My older brother, who is extremely smart and grew up in the same household, was far less interested in books.   What caused that difference between us?  I wish I knew.
I think of kids I knew who were not readers until Harry Potter burst onto the scene.  I credit the genius of JK Rowling and the power of her storytelling for converting so many young boys and girls to becoming devotees of literature.

I’m hoping that if kids find it fun to be with Dev and Booker and Liza – if they can dream big about aspects of the stories that appeal to them – it will broaden their horizons about other books as well.
For middle age readers, I love a recommending a mix of classics and new fiction.  There are books I could read over and over again – like THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS and CHARLOTTE’S WEB – and there are new characters like Grisham’s THEO BOONE – KID LAWYER and David Adler’s CAM JANSEN MYSTERIES – which delight me, as they do their young fans.  One of the things I like best about my book tour is getting to spend time in bookshops and libraries that offer such a rich range of attractions to this age group.

What was it like writing a series for a new audience?

I really thought that writing one series a year – my Alexandra Cooper crime novels, of which there are now 18 (!) – was more than enough to keep me on my toes.  And I swore to myself never to delegate my writing to a ghost or a team, though that plan has worked well for others.  But envisioning Devlin Quick coupled with my desire to write something in the vein of the Nancy Drew books that I so loved to read got the better of me.  I just needed to sit down and see if I could channel the voice and vision of a twelve year old – a kid sleuth for all ages, really.  Once I decided that I couldn’t get the idea out of my system, I just hunkered down and got to work.  As usual, it means more discipline, and less time with my husband and my friends.  But writing INTO THE LION’S DEN was as much fun as I’ve ever had sitting in front of my desktop, so I guess that helped the flow of my creative juices.

What are you working on now?

I’m happy to report that just as Devlin Quick is introduced to readers, I’m about to turn in her second story, which will come out in 2017.  The title is DIGGING FOR TROUBLE – and starts in Big Timber, Montana, where Dev and her friend Katie are invited to be volunteers on a fossil dig in the ‘badlands.’  Things happen, as you might guess, and then the action comes back to NYC (Dev’s ‘jurisdiction’, if you will) and to the great American Museum of Natural History, where some of the clues are hidden.

Alex Cooper will also be back in 2017 in a novel called DEADFALL, which picks up right where KILLER LOOK left off, and which explores the deadly world of wildlife crimes abroad – and with some local drama at the Bronx Zoo.


To win a copy of Into the Lion's Den, leave a comment here by Sunday December 10, 2016 and include your name - I will do a drawing on Monday to reveal two winners and update this post at the top. Check back here then to see if you've won a copy of Into the Lion's Den. Shipping to US addresses only.


Eric Wood said...

Interesting Q&A, glad to hear the author loved the ND books as a child too and paid homage to Nancy in her book. :)

Eric Wood

seriescollector canada said...

Both series sound like they would be interesting reading. Devin Quick, as a homage to Nancy Drew, may be very similar to the wonderful series books of yesteryear; those thrilling adventure and mystery stories which many of us adults still enjoy today. Well done, Linda Fairstein!

Amanda said...

I've been eager to read Devlin Quick, so I'd love to win a copy! Very interesting Q&A.

Amanda Bellis

jnalpath said...

Devlin is a great character. I would love to read this book.

carib mi said...

These books sound awesome. I'm definitely interested.

Joy Miles

jen said...

Wow Devlin Quick sounds like a great character. Can't wait to read.

Jennifer Fisher said...

Winners: Eric and Jessie, congrats! I'll message you both via Facebook.