Friday, August 9, 2013

"LMR's Weekly Author Stalk" featuring Lisa Regan and time to VOTE for "Finding Claire Fletcher" in the eFestival of Words

Welcome to LMR's Weekly Author Stalk!! 

For this first week I am excited to have author Lisa Regan here with me for an interview!

What inspired you to write “Finding Claire Fletcher”?
When I was 11 years old a boy named Jacob Wetterling was abducted at gunpoint in Minnesota.  I remember the news coverage so vividly because it scared the crap out of me.  I kept thinking that could be me—I was the same age.  I followed the case over the years and his mother never gave up hope of him still being alive.  I kept wondering if he really was alive, and if he was, what happened to him?  I thought, “I bet someone has run into him and not even known that it was him.”  So I had this idea for a book where a person has a random encounter with another person and later finds out that that person was an abducted child.  I’d been kicking it around in my head for years, and then one day the first line of the second chapter popped into my head:  “First time in a bar?” and I sat down and wrote the first 65 pages of the book.  I couldn’t stop after that.

Can you tell us a little bit about your main characters?
Well Claire is a regular old 15 year old girl who is forcibly abducted on her way to school one morning.  Her abductor tortures her basically, until she is so beaten down psychologically and so terrorized that even when presented with opportunities to leave, she can’t bring herself to do it.  Or at least, she can’t bring herself to return to her family because she is so ashamed.  But there is a small flicker of strength down deep inside her, and as the book moves forward, she tries to fan the flames and reclaim herself.  She’s very strong.  Even in her most broken moments she is strong and courageous. 
Connor is a police detective who has just received his divorce decree and botched an arrest where he shot a suspect and killed him.  He’s very down on himself.  His personal and professional lives are not going well.  Then he meets Claire, and I think in solving her cold case he sees an opportunity to redeem himself. 

Did you find any characters more difficult to write about than others? Do you have any favorites?
This book came out pretty easily but the creepier characters in it—and you’ll know who they are when you read it—were harder to write because they made my skin crawl.  My favorite of course is Claire, hands down.  Her voice was so immediate and so compelling, I really felt like I was channeling her. 

Did you have a particular audience in mind when you started writing?
No, I was really just trying to answer my own crazy questions about what happens to abducted people.  Later, I shaped the book to appeal to readers of mystery and suspense.  In the early drafts I had an agent tell me that the first half of the book was a suspense novel but the second half was a romance novel and that I needed to make a decision as to which kind of novel it was going to be.  Given the subject matter, I chose suspense.  (I’ll save the romance for the sequel).

When writing are you more character driven or plot driven?
Definitely character driven.

Do you write the story in from beginning to end or out of order?
Totally out of order.  I have a rule for my first drafts which is:  DON’T STOP.  So I write whatever I see in my head or whatever I’ve figured out already plot-wise.  If I come to a place where I’m not sure where to go or what will happen next, I skip over it and write a different scene in the book.  You know how in the Wizard of Oz when the monkeys tear out the Scarecrow’s stuffing and toss it every which way?  That’s my first draft. 

What was your favorite part of the process? What was your least favorite part?
Definitely the first draft.  There’s no second guessing, no self-editing.  I just let it all out however the heck it comes out.  I worry about making it coherent and appealing later.  My least favorite part is the second draft where I have to put the stuffing back into the scarecrow, so to speak.  It’s hard because I have to take all these disparate parts and make them into a good book.  I mean once it’s all together, I have a framework to work within in terms of revisions, but that second draft always kicks my butt.  The first draft is like the wild party and the second draft is the next morning’s hangover.

Are there any books or authors that have influenced you in your writing?
My early influences were Dean Koontz, Tami Hoag and Lisa Jackson.  The last few years I’d say that Gregg Hurwitz, Greg Iles and Karin Slaughter have been huge influences on me.

What are you reading right now?
I am reading The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass.

Do you have any “must haves” when writing?
No, not really.  Just a pen and a notebook and lots of background noise.

How long is your TBR list? Is it hard to make time to fit in a personal read?
It’s insanely, ridiculously long.  I’ve got probably 200-250 books on my Kindle to read.  Then there’s my nook and my actual physical books.  I have so many books by authors I know personally that I’m dying to read.  It’s hard to find time.  I work full time and have a family, plus working on my own writing.  I’ll get there though!

Do you have new projects in mind for the future?
Right now I’m working on the final draft of a novel called Hold Still which is about a gritty, single mom police detective from Philadelphia who is hunting down a particularly nasty group of criminals.  I’ve just started a sequel to Finding Claire Fletcher.  It won’t center around Connor and Claire, but rather they’ll be caught up in a mystery that literally crashes into their lives.

1 – Favorite TV Show & Movie………. It’s not on TV anymore but my all-time favorite show was LOST.  My favorite movie is Man on Fire with Denzel Washington
2 – Coffee, Tea or Soda……….  Tea; Snapple Raspberry Iced Tea to be exact
3 – eBook or Paperback……….  Definitely ebook now
4 – Favorite Reading Spot………. The car.  Nobody bothers me in the car!
5 – Most Loved Genres………. Crime fiction; suspense; romantic suspense
6 – Sing along or listen quietly………. Listen quietly
7 – Pool or Beach………. Beach
8 – Movie Theatre or Rent at Home………. Rent at home
9 – Dog or Cat………. Dog
10 – Sweet or Salty……….  Sweet, definitely sweet
11 – Camping or Hotel………. Hotel.  I am not about roughing it. 
12 – BBFs, Flawed or Perfect………. Flawed, definitely flawed

Let's take a moment and talk about your first novel, "Finding Claire Fletcher". I see that it is a FINALIST in TWO categories for eFestival of Words Best of Independent eBook Awards!! How exciting!! I've included the links for each category here: 

Winners will be announced on or about August 23rd.  VOTING IS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  For instructions on how to vote, please go HERE.

"Finding Claire Fletcher"
Newly divorced and with his career in jeopardy, Detective Connor Parks takes solace in the arms of a beautiful woman he meets at a bar. The next morning, Claire Fletcher is gone, leaving nothing behind but an address and a decade-old mystery. The address leads to the Fletcher family home where Claire’s siblings inform Connor that their fifteen-year-old sister was abducted from a city street ten years ago and is presumed dead.

During those ten years, Claire endured the cruel torture and depravity of the man who abducted her. Paralyzed by fear and too ashamed to return to her family, Claire is resigned to her life as Lynn, the identity her abductor forced upon her. Every time she attempts escape or betrays him in the smallest way, someone dies. Even now, her clandestine run-in with Connor Parks may have put his life at risk, as well as the lives of her family.

Connor is convinced that not only is Claire Fletcher alive, but that she is also the woman he met at the bar. Driven to see her again, he begins his own investigation, off the clock and without the police department's consent. He is determined to find her and unravel the mystery of her abduction and odd reemergence. But finding Claire Fletcher proves more dangerous than he anticipates. In fact, it may be deadly.

Claire Fletcher
Connor Parks

Sacremento  where Claire is from and where she lived before her abduction 

© Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.0

 super creepy old, beat-up house to like the one where Claire ends up for the missing ten years

Copyright Mikko J. Putkonen 2008

Below are s few snippets from a few of the book reviews for "Finding Claire Fletcher"

Review Snippet from:

"Finding Claire Fletcher is truly a story of our times, and magnificently told, even in its brutality. It follows ten years in the life of a girl kidnapped off the streets on her way to school at the age of fifteen. We've all seen or read those news stories of kids who vanish without a trace. We wonder what happened to them, if they still live, and if so, how? We know the type of monsters who prey on these children, and we can only imagine what they do once they've captured their victims. This is that story. It isn't pretty, and it makes no excuses for that.
...Though it is superbly written and moves with intense, page-turning speed, Finding Claire Fletcher is not always an easy read in that it probes into the most corrupt behavior imaginable.
...Finding Claire Fletcher is a love story about a child and her mother, and the man, Connor Parks, who cannot forget or abandon her, and risks not only his career, but his own life to save Claire. This story will frighten you, make you angry, cry, and cringe, but it will also energize your faith in the human spirit and its ability to heal and move forward. Regan deserves every one of these five stars for her original and haunting debut novel."

Review Snippet from:
"Excellent! I've had trouble finding the words to describe how great this book is. That's why it's taken me over a week to write this review.
Not to sound clich√©, but this book had me from hello. The first chapter is short, but extremely powerful. You won’t be able to put it down after reading that brief look into Claire’s life. I was drawn in completely and had trouble concentrating on anything else while reading it.
Claire’s story will break your heart, but her perseverance and determination to maintain her own sense of right, and her own sense of self, will gain your respect even when she’s giving in to the darkness of her abductor’s threats.
The story alternates between perspectives and when not reading about Claire’s life in hell, you’ll read about Connor’s dedication to finding her and his total commitment to bringing her home to her family. Between Connor’s troubles on the job and his unlucky love life, he’s an unlikely hero from the start, but you’ll grow to love him like I did. He is relentless in his search for Claire even when his own life and career are being threatened.
This story is brutally honest but extraordinarily told by a great writer. I can’t want to see what else Lisa can do with these mad writing skills."

Review Snippet From:
"Finding Claire Fletcher is a hauntingly beautiful contrast——a tale that teeters between the strength of human spirit and the depths of its depravity.
Parts of this novel surged through my veins——the fluidity of Regan’s writing, the plausibility of the concept, and the credibility she lent her characters. I couldn’t stop turning pages. But it was the other parts, the glimpses of hope nestled between both heart-wrenching POVs, that I clung to.
At times, I forgot I was reading. It would be three or four o’clock in the morning, and I would be too absorbed in Regan’s film-like scenes to realize it. They unraveled, slowly but surely, in a way that kept me guessing. This is one of the most addictive debuts I've ever read."

"Finding Claire Fletcher" Book Trailer

About the author:

Lisa Regan is a suspense novelist.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Master of Education Degree from Bloomsburg University.  She is a member of Sisters In Crime. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and daughter.  Her first novel, Finding Claire Fletcher was recently chosen as a Finalist in the eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook Awards in two categories:  Best Novel and Best Heroine for Claire Fletcher.

Check out her most recent release "Aberration" 


  1. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Stacy, great questions!
    Lisa, you rocked this interview! Awesome.
    I pictured Claire as a willow blonde, not very blonde but dark blond. I pictured her as a Mary Kate Olsen. High cheekbones and big doe eyes.
    I like your pick too, Evangeline Lilly is kick ass, I love her too, she's a great Claire. Lost is one of my all time favorites. Good luck with eFestival!

  3. Great interview! And I love that house shot. It's perfect. And perfectly creepy, too!!

  4. Yay!! So happy you all like it!! <3 and good luck Lisa in the finals for eFestival of Words! Hey everyone, go #Vote4FCF today!!