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becke_davis
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JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Wendy Corsi Staub is such a prolific author, it was actually pretty difficult to decide which of her many books to feature this month. I've been a fan for years -- I've read all of her early books, and most of the new ones. The ones I haven't read are in my TBR pile.

 

In addition to really scary suspenseful mysteries, Wendy has written books in other genres, including young adult and chick lit. Not only does she write a lot of books, she reads a lot of really GOOD, addictive books.  Once you start reading her books, I'm willing to bet you won't stop at one -- or even two or three.

 

My favorites are her best-selling mysteries but I've read some of her others, too.  I'm guessing a lot of you are already fans of Wendy's, and I hope you'll stop in and say hello while she visits with us this month.

 

Here's a little about DEAD BEFORE DARK:

 

Dead Before Dark  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are some video clips where Wendy talks about her books and her writing process:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P5bPQrDFiQ

 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsSHZtESL8U&feature=related

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsSHZtESL8U&feature=related

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqZWKiItWr4 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

[ Edited ]

Here's a brief description of DEAD BEFORE DARK  from Wendy's website:

 

Dead Before Dark

THE SUN GOES DOWN…
The Night Watchman is ready to kill—again. After thirty-five years in prison, he is free to commit the same twisted atrocities that once made him as notorious as the Zodiac Killer and Jack the Ripper. Now, at last, his moment has come... 

THE NIGHTMARE BEGINS…
For renowned psychic Lucinda Sloan, fame is a double-edged sword. Through her television appearances, she helps police capture America’s most elusive serial killers. Unfortunately, she also catches the eye of the Night Watchman. Once this madman learns that Lucinda “sees” murders after they’re committed, it’s time to play…

…AND THE FEAR NEVER ENDS. 

The first victim is someone she knows—a personal shock that brings Lucinda closer to her ex-lover, Detective Randall Barakat. Then a second murder in Chicago, and a third in Denver, makes her realize that the Night Watchman is toying with her. Each victim wears a wristwatch…each watch bears a message... and each message is a warning for Lucinda that her time is up—and soon she’ll be next to die… 

 

 

Here's a link to Wendy's website:

 

http://www.wendycorsistaub.com/

 

 For those of you looking for a more traditional book club discussion of Wendy's books, check out the Wendy Corsi Staub Community, where you can discuss DEAD BEFORE DARK in a read-along format and receive news about the author:

 

http://www.wendycorsistaubcommunity.com/ 

 

Here's a link to Wendy's complete book list (you can order her books at BN.com):

 

http://www.wendycorsistaub.com/PDF/WCS-Booklist-1-09.pdf 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by becke_davis on 05-30-2009 06:06 PM
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Here is Wendy's bio, which I've copied from her website:

 

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy published novels. Under her own name, Wendy achieved New York Times bestselling status with her single title psychological suspense novels. Those novels and the women's fiction she writes under the pseudonym Wendy Markham have also frequently appeared on the USA Today, Barnes and Noble Top Ten, and Bookscan bestseller lists. 

In 2008, Wendy released five new novels, a reissue, and a trade paperback edition of a 2007 hardcover. She will publish three additional new novels and three mass market reissues in 2009. 

Notable among these are her latest adult thrillers--DYING BREATH (Zebra, May 2008) and its sequel DEAD BEFORE DARK (Zebra, May 2009). Her young adult paranormal series LILY DALE, which has been optioned for television by a major production company, will be relaunched by Walker Books for Young Readers in mass market in 2009: the first two titles, AWAKENING and BELIEVING, will hit the shelves again in June, followed by CONNECTING and the long-awaited fourth title, DISCOVERING. 

Wendy continues to write romance and chick lit as "Wendy Markham," whose latest titles include THE BEST GIFT, a December 2009 sequel to her acclaimed 2006 Christmas Time Travel romance, IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS (both from Signet); as well as another installment in her bestselling chick lit series, SLIGHTLY SUBURBAN (Red Dress Ink, July 2008—a nominee for an RT Booklovers Critics Choice Award); and the light paranormal romance THAT'S AMORE (Grand Central Publishing, August 2008), the latest sequel in the Chickalini Family series. 

Wendy recently won the 2008 RT Award for Career Achievement in Suspense and the 2007 RWA-NYC Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement. A proud recipient of the RWA Rita award, she has also twice been awarded the Westchester Library Association’s Washington Irving Prize for Fiction and was honored as one of WLA’s Millennial Authors in 2000. Her Wendy Markham novel SLIGHTLY SINGLE was named one of Waldenbooks' 100 Best Fiction titles of 2002. Her novels THE LAST TO KNOW and ASK ME AGAIN were nominated for RT Reviewers Choice awards, and five of her novels, DON'T SCREAM; THE LAST TO KNOW; MIKE, MIKE AND ME; HELLO, IT'S ME; and BRIDE NEEDS GROOM, were awarded a month's top pick review by the RTBOOKclub magazine. 

Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide and a number of her titles have been selected as features for Mystery GuildLiterary GuildDoubleday Book ClubLarge Print Book Club, and Rhapsody Book Club

Wendy grew up in a large, close-knit family in rural southwestern New York State and decided she wanted to become an author while in third grade. She worked in two independent bookstores during college, then moved alone to New York City at 21 to pursue her dream. After stints as a book editor for a Manhattan publishing house and an account coordinator for a major advertising agency, she sold her first novel, the supernatural young adult thriller SUMMER LIGHTNING. Early in her writing career, she published in various genres including suspense, horror, historical and contemporary romance, television and movie tie-in, and biography. She also co-authored a mystery series with former New York City mayor Ed Koch and has ghost-written for a number of bestselling authors and celebrities. 

Wendy now lives in the New York City suburbs with her husband of seventeen years and their two children. A 1986 graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia, she proudly delivered the keynote commencement address at her alma mater in May 2008.

 

 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

[ Edited ]

Wendy probably won't be here until Monday, when the June features officially kick off, but I'm going to go ahead and say "Welcome, Wendy!" I'm very excited that you're able to join us, since I've been a fan for a long time. I've learned NOT to read Wendy's books when my husband goes out of town though, because I don't want to be halfway through one of her stories when I'm alone in the house in the middle of the night!

 

 Wendy, I have a couple of questions to get us started: I'm awed by the number of books you've written, especially since I can tell from your pictures that you're a lot younger than I am. When did you start writing? Did you always know you were going to be a writer?  And, given that you write for several genres, which are your favorite books to write?

 

 I don't want to snow you under with a lot of questions, but do you have a favorite of your own books?  If so, why do you like that one the best?

 

 Now I'll leave the floor open for other readers to post (and I'll just point out that we tend to have a lot more people viewing the threads than actually posting. You might want to make a note of the view count next to this thread.) 

Message Edited by becke_davis on 05-30-2009 06:24 PM
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

I've been in touch with Wendy this morning and she is having trouble signing in. We're working on the problem now and hopefully she'll be with us soon. She'll be visiting all month, so stop by and say hello!
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Hi everyone! It's great to be here (at last--sorry about the sign in glitch!). It's been a busy month promoting DEAD BEFORE DARK and I'm winding down the tour today--the perfect time to settle in here and chat with all of you! If anyone is in the NYC area, I'm appearing this evening at Madame X in Soho doing a reading as part of the LADY JANE'S SALON series...you can get specifics on my website Tour Page at www.wendycorsistaub.com.

 

Becke, to answer your questions...

 

I have been writing ever since I learned how to read. My mom saved poems and stories I wrote in early elementary school years. I decided I was going to be a writer when I was in third grade, and it's a story I tell often. I wrote my first essay, on Abraham Lincoln, and my teacher, Mrs. Pizzolanti, singled it out, praised it, and hung it up for all to see. I still have that pencil-written essay, complete with a thumbtack hole and yellowed scotch tape marking. It's one of my prized possessions, and when I'm not showing to schoolchildren as inspiration, I keep it stored in a fireproof box.

 

I really love writing suspense novels. The process is exhilarating--I always feel like I'm turning pages breathlessly along with the readers, never quite sure what will happen next!

 

My favorite among my thrillers is DEAD BEFORE DARK--and I don't just say that because it's my current release. It's a book that really threw me for a loop as I was writing it. I watched the movie Zodiac and it caused me to shift gears about halfway through. I had to go back and rewrite the book. I have never had to--or wanted to--do that before. When I was finished, it was a much stronger book and quite a departure for me. Thank goodness my readers and critics agreed! If you want to know more about the "story behind the story" of DBD, you can still access my May readalong feature on my community website at www.wendycorsistaubcommunity.com. 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Welcome, Wendy - sorry you had trouble with the sign-in process! 

 

"I have been writing ever since I learned how to read. My mom saved poems and stories I wrote in early elementary school years. I decided I was going to be a writer when I was in third grade, and it's a story I tell often. I wrote my first essay, on Abraham Lincoln, and my teacher, Mrs. Pizzolanti, singled it out, praised it, and hung it up for all to see. I still have that pencil-written essay, complete with a thumbtack hole and yellowed scotch tape marking. It's one of my prized possessions, and when I'm not showing to schoolchildren as inspiration, I keep it stored in a fireproof box."

 

This really got to me. How wonderful that your teacher's encouragement gave you the confidence to take those first steps into writing.  This gives me chills. 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

I've done a cross-post over at the Romantic Reads board, because Wendy also writes (or has written) contemporary romance. I just picked up a copy of A THOROUGHLY MODERN PRINCESS which notes that Wendy is also a RITA winner. The publication date is 2003 and I'm sure I was reading Wendy's suspense books before that.

 

Which makes me wonder -- which came first? Romance or suspense?

 

And, Wendy, is it difficult to go back and forth between different genres? 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Melanie, the moderator at Romantic Reads (who used to be an editor at Grand Central) just brought up the fact that Wendy also writes romance under the pen name Wendy Markham.  

 

Wendy - this begs the question, how many books do you write in an average year? 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Becke,

 

I first met Wendy a few years ago when she spoke at a dinner meeting of the New York chapter of MWA, and was instantly in awe of how productive she is.

 

Maybe she'll describe her hectic (crazy?) writing schedule...

 

(Hi Wendy!)

Ken Isaacson
SILENT COUNSEL, a legal thriller at promo Nook price of $1.99
www.KenIsaacson.com
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becke_davis
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Great to see you, Ken -- I'm hoping to meet a lot of our guest authors (and my other favorites) when I attend Bouchercon for the first time this October!
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

A good writer is a good writer, I'm not surprised she has so many books! That said, I've not heard of her and this sounds like a good, fun, suspenseful first. Thanks for the head's up!

 

I think it might be interesting some time to see how many romance/mystery crossovers there are. I've never written romance, but I do read it and there are a lot of similarities in the genres (characterization, building of tension, etc.) 

"Probable Claws," April '09
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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub


Clea_Simon wrote:

A good writer is a good writer, I'm not surprised she has so many books! That said, I've not heard of her and this sounds like a good, fun, suspenseful first. Thanks for the head's up!

 

I think it might be interesting some time to see how many romance/mystery crossovers there are. I've never written romance, but I do read it and there are a lot of similarities in the genres (characterization, building of tension, etc.) 


Clea - that's a good point and I look forward to getting Wendy's take on it. From my point of view, the lines between mystery, suspense and romantic suspense overlap quite a bit.

 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Hi Wendy!

 

I'm looking forward to "spending the month with you" here!

 

A quick question: I've read several debates recently about Internet vs. traditional promotion (book tours, newspaper ads, etc.) of books and which works best.  What are your thoughts on the topic?

 

Congratulations on the success of DEAD BEFORE DARK!

 

John

http://www.examiner.com/x-3859-Hartford-Books-Examiner

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

I don't want to give away much about our featured book yet, because I know a lot of you start reading the features at the beginning of the month. Let me just say, this is one scary book. If I ever thought it would be cool to be psychic, reading this book would change my mind pretty quickly.

 

Wendy, can you tell us more about the epiphany that made you rewrite this book? Are the changes something you're willing to share? I noticed your reference to the Zodiac murders (as well as other serial murders), but I'm curious what your influences were when you wrote this. 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Wendy - I couldn't get the link to your discussion of Dead Before Dark in your community group to work, so I'll repost the links from your homepage:

 

Also, I should mention that Dead Before Dark is a sequel. I think Wendy's books are good as stand-alones or read out of order (I do that all the time), but some of you may want to read the first book first:

 

Dying Breath  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.wendycorsistaubcommunity.com/page/day-1-developing-the-novel

 

I was interested in this comment: Next, I had to come up with a plot that would not only tie into DYING BREATH, which I was writing at the time, but one that would suit Lucinda’s character (she had originally been named Alexandra, or Xandra, which my editor said would have been fine for a supporting character but not for a future heroine). 

 

I never realized certain names worked for secondary characters but not for main characters -- how do the editors make those calls?

 

http://www.wendycorsistaubcommunity.com/page/day-2-pages-185284

 

Here's a quote about this section: 

 

I chose to set this section of the book in Chicago for a very simple reason: it’s one of my favorite cities, and one I know well enough to feel comfortable writing about it. I wasn’t as familiar with Philadelphia, though I had visited the city. I had made it Lucinda’s hometown when I wrote DYING BREATH because of its proximity to Long Beach Island and because I liked the idea of Lucinda as a disowned Mainline debutante. As I wrote, I spent a lot of time online checking and double-checking my Philly facts. When I got to Chicago in Part II, it felt more second nature to me. 

 

Since I come from Chicago, I was very excited about this, too!

 

http://wendycorsistaub.ning.com/page/day-3-pages-285371 

 

In Wendy's discussion at the above link, she brings up a very good point:

 

I should point out that in this section, as in the others, it was terribly challenging not to give away the twists and surprises in DYING BREATH. But this was, of course, necessary on behalf of readers who haven’t read the prequel but might want to go back and do so now.

Not only could I not give away in DEAD BEFORE DARK whodunnit in DYING BREATH—but I couldn’t give away who didn’t dunnit it…er, do it. You’ll notice, as you encounter references to last summer’s murders, Tess’s ordeal, or characters who appeared in the first book, that I carefully sidestep revealing important details. I don’t provide the name of Tess’s boyfriend here, because almost everyone was a potential suspect in the last book, and I don’t want to rule anyone out now.

Part III is full of clues and red herrings that were painstakingly planted in these particular pages throughout the writing process. I kept revisiting this section to tweak, add, and cut things that would keep the reader guessing—or, in retrospect, provide those end-of-the-novel, slap-on-the-head “Of course!” moments.

Readers should keep in mind that I don’t write Romantic Suspense; I write Suspense. There are big differences between the two genres. In romantic suspense, the developing relationship is the main storyline, enhanced by the suspense plot. In Suspense, of course, the suspense plot is the focus and any other elements—including characters’ relationships—should serve to enhance or advance the suspense plot.

 

http://wendycorsistaub.ning.com/page/day-4-pages-375434

 

An excerpt from Wendy's comments: 

 

You might have noticed that Lucinda is a bit of a control freak. So am I. So, for that matter, is the Night Watchman. Fun, isn’t it?

When I conceived the premise of a serial killer matching wits with a psychic, I knew my heroine would have to be a particularly strong character; as powerful, in her way, as the killer is in his. I liked the idea of maintaining her controlling personality even when she’s realized she’s an intended victim, but it wouldn’t be realistic not to explore her vulnerable side—even if it’s never revealed to anyone but the reader.

I also liked that idea that a self-sufficient woman like Lucinda—a woman in charge of her own life—would be more unnerved by falling in love than she is by the psychotic killer who’s stalking her.

 

http://wendycorsistaub.ning.com/page/day-5-pages-375-epilogue

 

An excerpt from Wendy's comments: 

 

The author’s challenge—as with any novel—is to keep all of those elements tied to the novel’s central themes. Here, those themes revolve around trust, forgiveness, risk, a ticking clock, and, of course, darkness and light.

Early on, we learned that Lucinda cops to being afraid of only one thing in the world: the dark. This was interpreted in a literal sense by Lucinda herself, by those who know her, and by the Night Watchman. And of course, it’s literally true—she sleeps with the light on.

But as the novel progressed, her fear of the dark proved—I hope!—to be metaphoric. She’s a woman who, like so many of us, fears the unknown, and who tries to maintain control in her life through avoidance. She’s a control freak for whom things have spun out of control. Now we see the irony that in a sense, she’s been living in the dark for all this time—and that allowing herself to venture into the unknown ultimately enables her character to step into the light at last. 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Becke, to answer your question about whether romance or suspense came first...

 

I had been reading and writing suspense since I was a kid, so that was my first love. My first published novel was a YA Paranormal Suspense, SUMMER LIGHTNING--and when I sold it, I was working as an Associate Editor at Silhouette Books, a division of Harlequin. Naturally, being immersed in romance fiction made me want to try to write one, so I got into romance as well,  shortly after my career was launched. 

 

As for whether it's difficult to go back and forth between different genres--not at all! It keeps things interesting. I like to think of Wendy Corsi Staub as my dark side and Wendy Markham (my romance/chick lit pseudonym) as my light side. I'm fine as long as I can write one book at a time, as it's difficult to shift gears in the middle of a project. 

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Re: JUNE FEATURE: DEAD BEFORE DARK by Wendy Corsi Staub

Hi Melanie! Yes, I have written for Grand Central as Wendy Markham and am happy to carry this discussion over to the romance board as well. :-) 

 

How many books do I write in an average year? Well, I was never a math whiz but I'll see what I can come up with...

 

It varies. One year, I published eight and had my second baby. I remember that year as a blur. Last year I published five new titles in four different genres (adult suspense, chick lit, romance, and YA Paranormal suspense); the year before, I published six. This year it'll be three--I've been doing a lot more PR travel and promotion, which takes me away from my writing--plus, as my kids get older and busier, my personal life gets more hectic! But I am absolutely passionate about everything I do, and I am greatly blessed to be living my life on my own terms.