Monday, April 4, 2011

Hank Or Charlie?

I am very excited to kick off the Moonlighting for Murder theme week with an author I admire tremendously. She's been a radio reporter, a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate, an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone Magazine, an investigative journalist, and maybe most importantly, a Dairy Queen employee!

Just kidding. Hank Phillippi Ryan has won gads of awards with pretty much every career she's tried on. These days she herself is Moonlighting for Murder. By day she's hard at work for NBC in Boston and by probably every other hour of her day, she's writing award-winning crime fiction. Hank's character, Charlotte McNally, is also an investigative journalist. The series, including PRIME TIME, FACE TIME, AIR TIME and DRIVE TIME has won or been nominated for almost every prestigious crime fiction award available. And if that wasn't enough, Hank finds time to fit award-winning short stories into the mix as well.

Recently she appeared on the Steve Katsos show, and there's video of it, so I'd like to share that with you and below the video you'll find her amazing guest post, which is interactive and terribly fun. Please help me welcome the beautiful, smart, funny, and (her high school classmates got it right) "original" Hank Phillippi Ryan.



(I think Hank started her career when she was 2, by the way!)


HANK? Or CHARLIE?

By Hank Phillippi Ryan

Okay. Quiz for you. How much is the main character’s job reflected in the author’s job? Think you can tell fact from fiction?

Here are five adventures. Which ones are about the fictional Charlotte McNally? And which ones actually happened to her author, Hank Phillippi Ryan? (And hey, why not—let’s give away DRIVE TIME to three lucky commenters!)

Hank? Or Charlie?

My feet are freezing. My hands are freezing. In one ungloved hand I am holding a cell phone. In the other, a tiny camera. I’m waiting in the parking lot for convicted drunk drivers to come out of the courthouse after having their licenses suspended .

Inside the courthouse, a producer and two interns. As soon as someone is convicted, they’ll text me the description. My photographer and I will follow them to the parking lot—and see if they will drive away. Remember they just had their licenses suspended. Here comes one now!

I’m watching. Watching. Watching. Will he recognize me? Notice me? I pull my hood up over my hair and briefly turn my back. I sneak a look. He reaches into his pocket. And he pulls out—car keys. Gotcha, buster.

Hank? Or Charlotte McNally?

I’m curled up in the back of an unmarked SUV. My laptop, wireless enabled, is humming beside me. My producer is on his cell phone, in the vast parking lot of a used car emporium. She’s pretending to shop for a car. (If I go undercover, I’ll be recognized.) My producer is looking through the cars’ windshields, reading me the VIN numbers from the dashboards. We’re focusing on cars that we know have been recalled. Once I get the VINs, I call auto dealers to find out whether the recalls have been repaired—or whether the used car sales people are selling cars that are dangerous. Then, proof in hand, we’ll move in for the confrontation.

Hank? Or Charlotte McNally?

It’s freezing cold (why is it always cold? Oh, it’s Boston) it’s just after dark. Were sitting in the front seat of a news car, eyes glued to the side door of a hospital. Inside that hospital a nurse (oh, how funny, named Charlotte) is off shift in about 20 minutes. She’s had her license revoked for numerous charges of drunk driving. We know that cinnamon-red Mustang in the parking lot is hers.

There she is!

She emerges into the cold evening. Will she drive her car? She does! We pause while she makes the turn, slowly creep in behind her, and follow her down the windy street toward her home town. Shooting video the whole way. In the center of town, she stops. Pulls over to the curb. Goes in for pizza! When she comes out with the steaming pie, we’re there with a camera, waiting. “Why are you driving with a revoked license?” we ask. “#%^&$^*(&#*(& you!,” she screams! She throws the pizza into the front seat, and zooms away. “That was perfect! Did you get it all?” I ask. The photographer pauses. “Ummmm….” he says.

Hank? Or Charlotte McNally?

The living room floor is covered with—paper. Thousands of copies of what state officials call “discrepancy reports.” Each one is the record of a 911 call—an emergency—where dispatchers sent the responders (police, fire, ambulance) to the wrong address. The state fought us for almost a year, saying these records were “not public” and “unavailable.” We were also told “trust us,” there “weren’t many” discrepancies. We battled up to the Secretary of State’s office, which finally ordered the records be turned over.

The records arrived in two huge cardboard packing boxes. Chaotic, in no order, a mess. Now, I’m sorting them. Town by town. And turns out--there are thousands and thousands of them! Thousands and thousands of times, someone called for emergency help, and the dispatchers sent them to the wrong address. I have so many paper cuts from handling these documents, my hands are actually bleeding.

Hank? Or Charlotte McNally?

One more. A notorious (and creepy) child molester is going up for sentencing. What will happen in the courtroom? He’s known for outbursts and crazy behavior. Problem is, the courtroom is in Vermont, up in the Northeast Kingdom. Way too far to drive. “Take the chopper,” the assignment desk guy tells me. “You and Brian.” Photographer Brian and I hop into the chopper, it’s a beautiful warm sunny day, we’ll get here in, I don’t know, an hour.

We slap on our headphones. We fly. I’m looking at the scenery, thinking how cool this is, what a great job I have, they’re actually paying me for this! I look up at the pilot. He’s asleep.

Hank? Or Charlie?

And remember…a signed DRIVE TIME to three lucky commenters!

10 comments:

bermudaonion April 4, 2011 at 2:21 PM  

Here are my guesses:

Prime Time: Hank
Face Time: Charlotte
Air Time: Hank
Drive Time: Charlotte

Beth F April 4, 2011 at 3:29 PM  

totally guessing:

Hank
Charlotte
Charlotte
Hank
Charlotte

Nancy Black April 4, 2011 at 4:42 PM  

Read all of your books. Loved them!

Here are my guesses:

Prime Time: Hank
Face Time: Charlotte
Air Time: Hank
Drive Time: Charlotte

SweetLife April 4, 2011 at 4:55 PM  

Hank
Charlie
Hank
Hank
Charlie
?????

Anne April 4, 2011 at 4:57 PM  

Here are my guesses:
Hank,
Charlotte
Hank
Hank
Hank

Hank Phillippi Ryan April 4, 2011 at 5:31 PM  

Oh, you guys are good guessers! (Sort of.) But I won't tell yet.

Nancy Black..thank you! xoxo

Brad Parks April 4, 2011 at 7:49 PM  

I love Hank AND Charlie so much, I couldn't choose between them -- it'd be like picking between my children.

(But I know, for sure, the first one is Hank... and I love that, too!)

Pat Marinelli April 4, 2011 at 9:56 PM  

I've have and read all the books but I'm not sure my senior mind has this right. I think it's:
Hank
Charlie
Hank
Charlie
Hank

Hank Phillippi Ryan April 4, 2011 at 11:39 PM  

Oh,Pat, so nice of you!

And Brad. Xoxo. Yes, the first one is me.

More I will not say....yet.

Word Lily April 7, 2011 at 11:27 AM  

1. Hank
2. Hank
3. Charlotte
4. Hank
5. Charlotte

  © Blogger templates 'Neuronic' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP