It's a pleasure to welcome Diane Majeske and her novel, DEATH ON DEADLINE. To learn more about this reporter-turned-writer, her passions, inspirations, and peculiar habits, read on!
|Diane Majeske: Author of Death on Deadline|
Author Diane Majeske was a full-time staffer in newspapers for more than 15 years, serving as an award-winning reporter, editor and columnist until she couldn't take any more bad coffee or late nights.
She worked at a variety of newspapers throughout the Midwest, including a lengthy stint in the Ozarks, which is the setting for her first novel, Death on Deadline.
She now lives in Michigan with her husband, two children and somewhat overweight cat. The two children really, really, really want a dog.
Diane is working on her next novel.
Newspaper reporter America Miles knows that picturesque Hyacinth, Missouri, is a place to raise a family, not a fuss. But when her mean-as-a-snake editor keels over dead and her best friend falls under suspicion, America starts looking closer at her town - and her co-workers. She finds out that even small-town journalists can live dangerously, and there are some secrets that can get you killed.
Onto the questions . . .
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’m a former print reporter turned fiction writer who recently completed my first novel, Death on Deadline. I have a husband, two kids and an overweight cat, and I think we’re about to acquire a dog.
When did you first consider yourself a writer? Like most writers, I’ve been writing all my life. Ever since I was little, I’ve had very definitive ideas about my stories – I’d write them out in my head before they ever hit paper. That caused a bit of a problem in school sometimes. I went to a parochial grade school, and you know, we’d have a story assignment of maybe five pages. Well, if my story ended at four and a half, that was it. I’d just fill the rest of the page with words like, “And ... hallelujah! Hallelujah! Glory Be!! Hallelujah!!!” Luckily, our nuns had a sense of humor. But looking through old school papers – my mom saved all of them – is pretty funny.
What inspired you to write your first book? I think reporters are the original starving artists. When you’re on assignment, if you miss lunch, you miss lunch. But later, you’re starving. So if there’s food in the newsroom, you eat it – and ask later where it came from. One time, when I was wolfing down zucchini bread, it occurred to me I had no idea where that bread came from. And I started thinking there might be a germ of an idea for a murder mystery there. And if you read Death on Deadline, you’ll see that there is.
Where do you get ideas for your books? Well, I’m working on a sequel to Death on Deadline right now, and elements of that storyline are taken from the real-life dramas that are playing out in newsrooms today, as reporters are fighting to keep their jobs and corporations are striving to make a profit.
What was your favorite chapter to write and why? Okay ... that’s a tough question. I can’t say my VERY favorite one, because that’s the one that gives everything away ... but one of my favorite ones is where the protagonist, America Miles, comes home after a very long day of working and grocery shopping and finds this off-duty policeman that she knows, David Dano, waiting for her on her porch swing. He’d been waiting to ask her out, but she didn’t know that, of course, and she’s kind of rude, and he ends up inviting himself in ... and well, I just kind of liked the bantering between them. It was fun to write.
How do you market your books? I’m always trying to think of new promotions! Right now, my book is an e-book, so that’s taken a little creative thinking because I don’t have anything tangible that I can go out there and show off. So I’ve put my book out on Kindle and Nook and Smashwords, I work to get it reviewed, I have a blog (http://deathondeadline.blogspot.com); I’m on twitter (http://twitter.com/dlmajeske); I created a trailer that’s up on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtwfDQmSLkg)
and I’m learning how to podcast. And I keep thinking!
What similarities do you find between yourself and your protagonist? My protagonist, America Miles, is funny and smart and nosy and goes out on a limb – probably way too far – to help her friends. I’m probably not quite as witty as she is – I tend to think of those funny responses 10 minutes too late, and I definitely don’t have a problem being too skinny like she does. But we both love to write, and we’ve both realized how important friendship is in this world.
Introduce the main characters from your latest book. Who are they? Let them speak for themselves. What would they like to say? My latest book – which I’m still working on – is tentatively called Paper Cut. I’ll let these guys tell the rest:
“Hi, I’m America Miles. I just moved from Hyacinth, Mo., to Six Mile to start a new chapter of my life working on a magazine. But I didn’t count on the Missouri rains flooding the office and leaving me scrambling for free-lance jobs. I’ve been working over at The Daily Clarion until ... well, you’ve probably heard by now, right? What happened to the editor? I can’t say she was the nicest woman I ever met, but my Lord, nobody deserves that!! Stabbed with a spindle? Right in the jugular? I know what everyone’s saying, but there’s no way Harlan did it. Just no way. But really – I don’t want to get involved. I mean, it’s not my business, right? Except ...”
“I don’t understand this. I just don’t understand how it’s come to this. I’ve never even had a parking ticket, and now I’m under suspicion for murder? Me – Harlan Fisch? I’m practically the town historian! That horrid woman. I can’t say I’m sorry she’s dead. And I know, I shouldn’t have had that outburst in the middle of the newsroom ... but to be delivered a pink slip so callously, after 26 years of giving my heart to that paper , I just lost my temper.... but I couldn’t have ... and I didn’t. That’s the main thing. I didn’t.""
“I’ve been a cop in this town for more than 15 years. We don’t see much crime here, but when we do, it it’s a doozy. Two years ago, we had a guy who decided he didn’t like his mail-order bride , so he killed her, stuffed her in a barrel and buried her under his trailer. No one would’ve probably noticed, actually, except the neighbors started complaining about the smell. So they called me, Larry Samson – I’m the sheriff. Now I got this – the murdered editor-in-chief of the local paper. And a copy editor who’s practically serving himself up as the prime suspect. Let’s face it – this Fisch is hooked.”
Who designed the cover? The cover of Death on Deadline was designed by Claire Innes-Wilbur, an award-winning graphic artist I worked during one of my reporting gigs. Claire has agreed to do the cover of Paper Cut, too. She’s a great collaborator. She’s able to take a literary concept and translate into art. And she’s quirky and fun to be around, too. I highly recommend her, obviously. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Name 5 interesting/weird facts about yourself:
1. I like to watch TV standing up.
2. I’m double-jointed in my thumbs and middle fingers.
3. I love the old 1970s TV series Kolchak: The Night Stalker
4. I didn’t know there were types of lettuce other than iceberg until I was a grown-up.
5. I like to sing while I brush my teeth. It can get messy.
Thank you for joining us today Diane!
If you want to learn more about Diane and her books, Death on Deadline is an e-book, offered at a variety of venues in a variety of formats:
For Amazon Kindle:
For Barnes and Noble Nook:
For Smashwords, which offers a variety of formats to download:
Looking to connect with author Diane Majeske? Check out her blog at:
What are others saying about Death on Deadline?
"Do yourself a favor and read Diane Majeske's "Death on Deadline." It's a compelling mystery --- with plenty of humor spliced in ---that will appeal to everyone, but especially those who have spent even one day in a newsroom. Majeske clearly gets it. She's not only a terrific storyteller; she's a wonderful writer. Like many of you, I don't have a lot of time to read books, but something told me to make the time for this one. I'm glad that I did."Gary Piccirillo
"This is quite simply a standout novel, by author Diane Majeske. Diane's writing is fluid, clear and crisp. Her story's main character, America Miles, instantly likable, and the cast of supporting characters are all well developed and believable." Paul A. Jones