Mary Jane Clark, author of Dying for Mercy (July 22-August 5)
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Hi, everybody! My name is Mary Jane Clark and it’s fun to be with you for Author Chat.
DYING FOR MERCY is my 12th novel …all of which take place in a fictional television news world. I worked at CBS News for almost three decades and my experiences there led to the creation of the KEY News series.
In DYING FOR MERCY, Eliza Blake, the host of the morning television program, KEY to America, is invited to a party at an historic estate in Tuxedo Park, NY, a setting synonymous with wealth and exclusivity. The host of the party commits suicide of the most grotesque sort which leads the way to a secret puzzle that Eliza and her colleagues are determined to solve. The peaceful lake drives of Tuxedo Park become treacherous paths to death and no amount of wealth or privilege will keep the threatened residents safe. There’s a killer out there who thinks that some buried secrets should stay buried.
DYING FOR MERCY has been selected by Mystery Guild, Doubleday Book Club, The Literary Guild, Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Large Print Club and BOMC2. You can read more about it on www.maryjaneclark.com . It will also be featured on ABC’s Good Morning America on August 12th.
Hi. Nice to see you here. I haven't read the newest one, but I have read several of your other titles and really enjoyed them. I've got to dig around and see which ones they were.
I recently retired as an elementary/high school librarian, and I had several of your titles there, too, where they were well-read.
Welcome. I have several of your books and had them on the botom of my TBR pile but have just started the first one today in honnor of your joining us so i will be able to have intelligent conversations about the books. So I will return in a day after completed.
So glad to hear that you've enjoyed the books you read...that's real praise coming from a librarian! It's also hopeful to hear that the books were popular in the school library. There's so much worry about young people not being readers anymore. You're giving me hope.
Hi. I have read and enjoyed all of your books. I really appreciate the fact that you don't resort to extreme gore or rough language to succeed in writing a good, suspenseful story. I am not a prude, but I like the fact that I can pass your books on to my mother and not wonder if she will be shocked. Your characters are believable and likeable, a feat that seems to evade some mystery/thriller writers. I am looking forward to reading Dying for Mercy. All the best - Wendy
I had a question about your choice in focusing on Saint Francis for this book.
From numerous saints that had stigmata (St. Catherine of Siena, St. Margaret of Cortona, and about 30 others) what specifically about the life of St. Francis drew you to incorporating him into Dying For Mercy instead of one of the other saints?
I would love to hear why you chose St. Francis, and if you had considered any others before coming to your final choice.
I have a question about the novel's main character, Eliza Black. Since this is the third book that she's starring in, I'm wondering if you feel like you, as creator of this character, get to know her better. Do you feel like her behavior has changed?
I would also like to know if she'll be starring in the next book(s) as well.
I would love to hear from you.
Thanks, Wendy. I'm glad to hear you appreciate that. Actually, many readers write to tell me they feel the same way you do.
Last spring I took a trip to Italy and, while there, visited Assisi. I had heard about St. Francis when I was a kid, but hadn't really paid all that much attention. But when you walk the streets he walked and listen to the stories about his life, and view the magnificent Giotto frescoes depiciting the events St. Francis is famous for, you have no choice but to be awed.
When I came back to the United States, St. Francis was still very much on my mind as I began ot write the book. When I learned he was the first to experience stigmata, I knew that would play into the story. I didn't consider any other saint.
Actually, Eliza was introduced in my very first book, DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET? And she as the main character in CLOSE TO YOU as well. Reader response was positve toward her, that I decided to have Eliza reappear again and agian.
The last three books have featured Eliza as the main character with her KEY news colleagues, producer Annabelle Murphy, Cameraman BJ D'Elia and KEY News mental health contributor Margot Gonzalez. Each of them contributes different skills to help solve the crime. They ahe dubbed themselves the Sunshine Suspense Society, partially because they all work for morning program KEY to America.
To answer your question: Yes, I get to know Eliza more and more as I write about her, just as you do. That is one of the reasons I wanted to write a recurring character.
I think her behavior hasn't changed very much. She still has the same values, treats people the same way, and, at her core, is a very decent human being. She loves her daughter, Janie, and does her very best to raise her, has good friends and she is committed to her profession. She's working on letting herself love again.
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