Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Hank Phillippi Ryan Inspires Readers and Writers Alike At Killer Heat

Author and TV Newscaster, Hank Phillipi Ryan with Dr. Katherine Clark

Today's special guest post is from novelist, Amanda Flower.

Sunday, July 14th the Northeast Ohio Chapter of Sisters in Crime and the Cuyahoga County Public Library co-hosted an event for mystery writers and readers, called Killer Heat.

The chapter was honored to have Sisters In Crime’s national president Hank Phillippi Ryan as a special guest. The program began with an opening interview between Ryan and mystery expert, Dr. Katherine Clark, which was followed by panels and workshops for both readers and writers.

During the interview, Ryan inspired the audience by telling them her publication story. Ryan, who has won nearly every mystery award out there, including the Mary Higgins Clark, the Agatha, and the Macavity, is an award winning reporter with over twenty Emmys for her work as an investigative reporter for the Boston NBC affiliate. It is a full time job she still holds even as her writing career takes off. Ryan published her first novel, Prime Time, the first in the Charlotte McNally Mystery Series, at age fifty-five after struggling for years to find the story that worked for her and for a publisher. She called herself “the poster child for following your dream in midlife.” She added, “[Writing mystery was] something I always wanted to do… it’s not too late to take the leap.”

Her first mystery attempt was a golf-themed mystery six years before Prime Time. She admitted she knew nothing about golf nor even liked it. However, she thought it would sell in the market. Ryan said this was a mistake. She found her winning story when she received a spam email with what looked like lines from Shakespeare in the body of the message. That’s where she got the kernel of an idea for Prime Time, which deals with hidden messages in computer spam.
Today, Ryan is working on the Jane Ryland Series, and her highly acclaimed novel, The Other Woman, released last year. Book Two, The Wrong Girl will release on September 10, 2013.

When asked about how she writes, Ryan revealed that yellow sticky notes are her biggest organizational tool but declared that there is no wrong or right way to write. “You do it the way you do it. I do it the way I do it. There is no secret way.” She added, “[Writing] is hard, really hard…If it’s not, you’re not doing it right.

After Ryan’s interview, the program broke into two tracks: one for readers and one for writers. In the readers track, Amanda Flower, Sam Thomas, and Jane Turzillo talked about the unique settings in their books and Ryan and librarian, Cari Dubiel, discussed the mysteries people love to read and why. In the writers’ track, Casey Daniels and Shelley Costa taught a workshop on dialogue, followed by a panel discussion on self-publishing featuring Gloria Alden, Pat Bohnert, and Chris Wilkinson.

Special thanks for organizing the event to goes to host Beachwood Public Library, Reader Advisory Librarian Laurie Kincer from the Cuyahoga County Public Library, and authors Shelley Costa and Casey Daniels (aka Kylie Logan). For information about NEO Chapter of Sisters in Crime, please email or contact the chapter through Facebook at

Amanda Flower is the author of mysteries for children and adults. She has three novels releasing in September 2013: A Plain Disappearance and Murder, Plain and Simple (Amish cozy mysteries), and Andi Unexpected, a mystery for children ages 8-12. Murder, Plain and Simple she wrote under the pen name Isabella Alan. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland. Visit her at and She can also be found on Facebook as Author Amanda Flower and on Twitter as aflowerwriter.

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