I first read one of Dete’s books, Perfectly Good Crime, when I won it in a giveaway. She sent it to me with a lovely note and I was won over by both her book and her kindness! After reading all about Kate Bradley and her adventures, I realized I had to read Good Sam! What did Dete do? Sent me a copy within minutes!! By the end of the weekend, I had finished Good Sam and found a new fav author!
Kate Bradley is a TV news reporter who usually reports on tragedy- car accidents, robberies, warehouse fires- breaking, hard news. She is an amazing, determined woman, who at times puts her life at risk in order to get the best story she can. The details of her job were well described and it made me feel like I was on this expedition alongside her. The characters were well developed and I loved the modern romance intertwined within both stories.
I absolutely loved that Kate Bradley’s stories were about people doing good things! You can probably agree that usually when you turn on the news, there’s a story of someone getting robbed, shot, or attacked and it’s hard to watch and understand. Although there were actual robberies in PGC, in the end, Kate’s story still led us to something positive.
Both books have gripping story lines that keep you interested throughout, but when the truth comes out and the book closes, it leaves you feeling lighter. If you are looking for a story unlike any other with a healthy balance of mystery and romance, you will not be disappointed. Meserve has absolutely nailed it with these intriguing, thought-provoking novels and they will leave a lasting imprint on both your mind and your heart.
Good Sam- synopsis from Amazon:
After years covering murders, disasters, and tragedy for Los Angeles TV news, Kate Bradley is assigned to cover a story about ten people who have each found $100,000 in cash on their front porch, As interest in the extraordinary gifts sweeps across the country, Kate finds the elusive Good Samaritan, dubbed Good Sam, and her exclusive interview with him thrusts her into the national spotlight. Even as his message captivates viewers, Kate suspects he may not be all he claims to be and that the real Good Sam is still out there. Searching for answers, Kate unravels the powerful and unexpected reason behind the mysterious cash gifts. The true identity of Good Sam becomes the biggest surprise story of her career, turning her personal and professional life upside down.
* I enjoyed going on this journey with Kate and finding out who the anonymous donor was. I was a bit skeptical at first and then aggravated- you’ll find out when you read it. I thought I had it all figured out, but then PLOT TWIST!!! As the story continued, I was relieved to find that things aren’t always as they seem.
P.S. I’m Team Eric!
Perfectly Good Crime- synopsis from Amazon:
When the estates of the 100 wealthiest Americans are targeted in a series of sophisticated, high tech heists, Los Angeles TV news reporter Kate Bradley must venture inside the world of the super rich to investigate the biggest story of the year.
As the heists escalate, Kate’s search is thwarted when the Los Angeles police detective she’s been working with mysteriously disappears, her senator father demands that she stop reporting on the heists, and the billionaire victims refuse to talk to the media. Kate uncovers clues that those behind the robberies have shocking, yet uplifting, motives–it just may be a perfectly good crime that brings about powerful change.
Further complicating her life is a dream job awaiting her in New York, a choice that could shatter from her deepening relationship with Fire Captain Eric Hayes. Kate must trust her instincts–and her heart–in a high stakes search that will test everything she believes and force her to decide where she belongs.
*I was so glad to hear more from Kate and see that Eric was still in her life! Perfectly Good Crime is another well- written Kate Bradley mystery that keeps the readers on their toes! I loved the Robin Hood aspect of the story- giving to the poor from the pockets of the rich. The expectations Kate’s father has of her are more pronounced in PGC and there is some serious tension from her boss, yet Kate stays true to her viewers and to herself throughout the entire process. The ones who benefited from the crime are thankful and hope Robin Hood continues his spree to help them receive help making ends meet. When the man behind it all is finally revealed, it is a twist I didn’t see coming and helps me believe that, at least in this story, good will always prevail.
I appreciate you taking time to answer my questions! My blog, Midwest Ladies Who Lit, is very excited to learn more about you!
I live an about an hour south of Chicago so I’m glad to talk to another lady from the Midwest. Did growing up there help inspire your writing in any way?
I grew up on the south side of Chicago but I spent a lot of my childhood in the world of my imagination. And the Midwest always provided very fertile grounds for creativity. My parents would take me to the Morten Arboretum and in my mind, I’d be thinking of all the possible stories—mysteries and adventures—that could play out amongst the trees and bowers. I studied classical music piano through my teens and I discovered that many stories were woven inside the music. Even when I was too young to understand, I was curious to explore the faraway places the music took me and the complex and powerful emotions and ideas the music expressed. And the story within the music was ever changing. The sonata that meant one thing when I was eight took on an entirely different meaning when I was fourteen.
Working as both an author and a TV and film executive is very accomplished work! What is your favorite part of what you do?
I love the entire creative process! Working in film and TV is a very collaborative experience so there’s a real joy in working with a variety of creative people—writers, animators, directors, composers, actors, etc.—to combine our talents and make something that’s far greater than the sum of our parts. I also enjoy the more solitary experience of writing because it allows me explore ideas more deeply, without the relentless pressure of production deadlines.
Over many years as a CEO of a company, I’ve also developed strong business skills to ensure that the creative ideas we’re passionate about are supported by smart and entrepreneurial business and financial plans. A sound approach to business and organization allows for innovation and creativity to flourish.
I love that Kate Bradley is so different from many of the women we read about in thrillers- she’s seeking out good in the world. Where did you get the idea to create such a character?
A lot of our entertainment—books, TV shows, films—centers on stories serial killers, kidnappers, and murderers. These evil acts make up a tiny fraction of what’s really happening in the world yet so much of our entertainment and our news is focused on murder and violence.
The problem with that is that it makes most people overestimate the amount of violence in the real world. For example, in a country of over 318 million people, most readers would be surprised that there were just over 16,000 murders last year. Even one murder is too much but I think the endless amount of entertainment focused on people doing abhorrent things to each other desensitizes us to violence and skews our perception of reality.
That inspired me to want to write a mystery where we were looking for someone who was doing extraordinary good for others but doing it completely anonymously.
A character like Kate Bradley, a news reporter, would be the right character to do explore that idea. She’s seen enough of tragedy, murder, and violence to know that those things exist in the world but not so hardened as to truly hope—to want—to find inspiration and goodness around her. Even if we’re not reporters, I think most of us are looking for good. We’re hoping there’s a counterbalance to all the tragedy and violence we see in the news and entertainment.
And the truth is—there are far more people doing good for others every day than any of us realizes. Check out my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GoodSamBook and scroll through literally hundreds of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary good for others. They’re not all leaving $100,000 cash on doorsteps as Good Sam does in the novel, but they’re doing acts—big and small—which bring light and hope into the world.
Do you have a favorite place to write or any special rituals that get your creativeness flowing?
I’m proof that you can write almost anywhere! My writing space is in the basement across from the washing machine and dryer – no fancy writing atmosphere—but it’s usually quiet until people discover me down there and come to visit. I don’t have any rituals although sometimes I like to write by just the glow of my computer screen and candlelight. Most of my writing happens after work and after the kids have gone to bed so there’s no need to have a great view in the dark of night. My only criteria—and this one is a hard one because my house is always filled with people and activity—is that I need quiet and no interruptions. When I’m writing, I’m creating a visual scene in my head, listening for what the characters are saying, what they’re doing, how they sound, and what they’re feeling. It’s all there playing out in front of me and I need to play close attention to the details in order to understand where to focus my attention and write about. Then someone calls my name and the entire scene comes crashing down like shards of glass. Yes, you can retrieve it—somewhat—later on but it’s akin to having a sandcastle engulfed by a small wave. It just never is the same again and rebuilding it can be frustrating and sometimes the creative spark in that scene is lost forever. Some people’s creativity flourishes when they’re around activity and conversation. My creativity and joy of writing is found in the silence.
Do you have any advice for someone with big aspirations to become a published author?
Be fearless and write! It’s a delicate balance between writing what you’re passionate about and writing what the market wants, but I’d start by working on stories that you simply must tell. That’s what will keep you writing day after day.
I’d also say be careful how and when you show your work. When I’m writing a novel, I don’t share its premise with others. Not because I’m insecure about the idea, but because I respect the creative process and don’t want anyone’s inadvertent disinterest or distraction to sway me from the story that I want to tell.
Even if agents or editors reject your work, that’s not always an indicator of its merit or potential success. Several editors and agents rejected my first novel Good Sam yet it went on to sell over 100K copies, is being made into a film for the Hallmark Channel, and recently was acquired by Amazon’s Lake Union Publishing to be re-released in June 2017 (see picture on left). So why was it rejected? Perhaps it wasn’t what the agent thought they could sell, perhaps they had something similar already, perhaps they were too busy to pay much attention to it, or perhaps they just weren’t passionate about it. Those are people’s subjective feelings about your work but you can’t let other individuals can be the “deciders” of what’s good or commercial or what readers want to read.
But don’t worry about publishing yet—instead spend your time learning to write, reading what others write, and most important—writing!
Follow along with Dete, Good Sam, and Kate Bradley here:
Dete’s Website: http://www.detemeserve.com/
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/GoodSamBook/