Today it’s my great pleasure to welcome back a good friend of mine who also happens to be one of my favorite authors. Laura Griffin is back, celebrating the release of her latest suspense novel SNAPPED. Laura’s giving away an autographed copy of SNAPPED today along with a 20$ gift card to B&N to one lucky winner. To add to the fun, I’m going to throw in Laura’s entire backlist, just because I love her books!

The other day I was chatting with Jess about the writer’s life and how it can change, seemingly overnight. I remember attending my first RWA conference in Dallas and meeting many authors I admire, and feeling a bit star-struck (not to mention intimidated!) by it all.

Fast-forward seven years, and so many things have changed. Writing fiction has gone from being my dream job to a very real occupation. I count myself lucky that I’m writing full time, unlike so many other authors I know who are juggling other demanding professions as well (Jess, I’m talking to you! No idea how you do it, but I’m in awe!)

Some things are harder now–such as tighter deadlines, higher editorial expectations, carving out time to participate in social media when what I’d really like to be doing is watching re-runs of “Man vs. Wild” or “Top Chef.” But there are a few things that are easier now, and one of those is research.

When I sit down to write, I love to have sharp, vivid details at my fingertips to make the story come to life. Where do I get these? Oftentimes, from research. If I’m writing about a place I’ve never been or about a character whose job is unfamiliar to me, I like to interview someone who can give me a behind-the-scenes glimpse of that aspect of my story.

With SNAPPED, for example, I interviewed a long list of people. The book opens with a sniper scene on a college campus and my hero is a member of the SWAT team called in to confront the shooter. Having never stormed a building and taken down an armed assailant, I decided to talk to a SWAT team member to understand what this is like. Let me tell you, those guys have a stressful job!

To get details about my heroine, who gets caught in the crossfire of this terrifying event, I needed to look no further than my mother. She was an eye-witness to Charles Whitman’s deadly rampage on the University of Texas campus back in 1966. Growing up, I heard about this event often. When we’d visit UT for football weekends, my mom would show me where she was standing when the shooting broke out. The day I began the book, SNAPPED, I trekked around the campus and tried to get myself in the mindset of the characters. Then I went to the student union with my laptop and sat down to write chapter one.

I feel a very personal connection to this story, and I hope readers will enjoy it.

Thanks for inviting me on the blog today, Jess. Happy reading, everyone!