Sunday, August 4, 2019

#68 Inside the Emotion of Fiction's THE MURDER LIST by Hank Phillippi Ryan

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

***The CRC Blog welcomes submissions from published and unpublished fiction genre writers for INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION.  Contact CRC Blog via email at or personal Facebook messaging at

****Hank Phillippi Ryan’s THE MURDER LIST is #68 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece.

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The title of my newest book is THE MURDER LIST. And you know what?  It was always called THE MURDER LIST. Unlike several of my other books where the names changed, this was instant and perfect.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Forge Books, August 20, 2019
What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? Because I keep track of my words per day, I can tell you that this book was begun on September 23, 2017.  The first draft was sent to the publisher on August 20, 2018. Final-final version was done sometime in January 2019. 

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  I do most of my work at my desk, in my study, in our 1894 Victorian outside of Boston, Massachusetts. It is a wonderful and strangely-shaped room, painted a color that is called, ridiculously, Rhino Tusk, which resulted when I told the paint person I wanted it to be “tawny. “I look out about a window onto a gorgeous 200-year-old sugar maple tree.    It’s full of books, and all my Emmys and Agathas, and way too many piles of paper.  I am also delighted to write on airplanes—a safe space with a built-in deadline.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day?  If I wrote my book in longhand, I would not be able to read it! That’s why I only writer on a computer. As fast as I possibly can, and I am a really bad typist. Fast, but terrible. I write anytime of day, but I think I am better later in the day, and even late at night.  If I can manage to get someone to bring me an iced latte, I am thrilled.

What is the summary of this specific fiction work?  Three strong main characters: Rachel North, a law student. Married to Jack Kirkland, a brilliant defense attorney. Rachel also has a summer job as an intern with Martha Gardiner, the powerful district attorney. Rachel thinks she has everything: a fabulous and faithful husband, and a job with the District Attorney’s Office that will lead her on a path to glorious financial success. Rachel always tells you the truth as she knows it: The problem is, she’s wrong. It’s a twisty triple triangle of suspense--A cat and mouse and cat game. But which one is the mouse? 

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? Here’s all you need to know. As the cover asks: What happens when the battle for justice becomes the battle for survival?
     Rachel. Jack. Martha. Who is next on THE MURDER LIST?
     Here is Rachel North, when she was the brand new chief of staff to State Senator Tom Rafferty. And they both are having a bad day in court.

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer.
                             Rachel North
 A wall of bodies and cameras and microphones presses toward us and a din of insistent voices engulfs us, questions echoing on the white brick walls, doubling the sound, tripling the sound. We almost can’t get out of the elevator. It crosses my mind to push the close door button, escape, and sneak back into the courtroom some other way.
“Let’s do this,” I say. I narrow my eyes, lift my chin and power ahead, carving a path for the Senator, unstoppably determined, as if I’m his personal fullback. What these people are asking, what they’re demanding, what they’re thinking, is outrageous. Insensitive. Demeaning. Disrespectful. And, I hate myself for thinking, exactly what I’d like to know myself.
“Is your wife a murderer, Senator?” “Why did she do it?” “Why would Nina kill her?” “Were you having an affair?” “Are you going to resign?”
“No comment no comment the senator has no comment,” I repeat. I’m a robot, a talking robot, but I can feel Tom Rafferty, silent and seething, behind me. We make it to the tall wooden courtroom doors of room 226. I pull one of the metal door handles. Nothing. Try the other one. Nothing. And again. Nothing.  Locked.
“No comment no comment no comment.” I say as I keep trying, rattling the curved handles with one hand, knocking like crazy with the other. Tom and I are trapped here, sandwiched between the closed doors and the insistent reporters. Not a good battle strategy.
I almost fall over when one of the doors opens right onto me, and I lurch a step backward, almost tripping on the Senator who’s close behind me. A scowling court officer, a head taller than I am and shoulders twice as broad, appears in the doorway, clearly ready to order us away. He stops mid-command. Closes his mouth. Regroups.
“Get in here,” he mutters, waving us through.
I go first, ducking my head, then Tom. I feel the crowd behind us surging, as a group, trying to follow.
“Get back!” the officer instructs. His bulk blocks the still-open door, arms crossed over his chest. “Court stays closed until l:30. Rules are rules.”
“Come on, Hector,” someone whines from the back of the hallway. “If they can go in, we can go in.”
“He’s the President of the Senate,” the court officer hisses.
“Not for long!” someone calls out.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt?  As I am writing from each character’s point of view, I try to almost channel that character, to become that character. So when I am writing the possibly manipulative but certainly ambitious Rachel, I can feel myself being that beautiful 30-something. 
           To write the benevolent but manipulative lawyer Jack Kirkland, I make myself feel big and important and confident--and the tiniest bit vulnerable. As for Martha Gardiner, the district attorney, she has, like the others, had an event happen to her that damaged her, professionally, so much that she will do anything to regain her reputation. The clash of all these three strong personalities? That’s what creates the page turning suspense.
     So I try to feel how they would feel, to think how they would think, and desperately want what they want. Sometimes when I’m writing, I can feel my face and body change to become the character.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. After 11 books, and this is my 11th, I try not to write things that I will later take out. But as someone who writes without an outline, inevitably I need to tighten and adjust and polish. There is one part of this book, a jury deliberation scene, that my editor said: “This is the most fabulous and riveting jury deliberation scene I have ever read.” And then she told me: “You need to cut the whole thing.”

Other works you have published? I have four published novels in the Charlotte McNally series (Above), the first, Prime Time won the Agatha for Best First Novel. (The first of five Agathas!) I have published five Jane Ryland novels (Below), so far, with one more at least under contract. My first psychological standalone, TRUST ME, was named best of the year by The New York Post, Real Simple Magazine and many other publications.  

THE MURDER LIST is my second psychological standalone. I am working on book 12, crossing fingers for that, and it will be in bookstores in August 2020. 

HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN Contact Information 

Hank Phillippi Ryan on Facebook

Hank Phillippi Ryan Author Facebook Page

Hank Phillippi Ryan Website Page

Hank Phillippi Ryan Instagram Link


001   11 15 2018 Nathaniel Kaine’s
Thriller Novel
John Hunter – The Veteran

002   11 18 2018 Ed Protzzel’s
The Antiquities Dealer 

003   11 23 2018 Janice Seagraves’s
Science Fiction Romance
Exodus Arcon

004   11 29 2018 Christian Fennell’s
Literary Fiction Novel
The Fiddler in the Night

005  12 02 2018 Jessica Mathews’s
Adult Paranormal Romance
Death Adjacent

006  12 04 2018 Robin Jansen’s
Literary Fiction Novel
Ruby the Indomitable

007  12 12 2018  Adair Valerez’s
Literary Fiction Novel

008  12 17 218 Kit Frazier’s
Mystery Novel
Dead Copy

009 12 21 2019 Robert Craven’s
Noir/Spy Novel
The Road of a Thousand Tigers

010 01 13 2019 Kristine Goodfellow’s
Contemporary Romantic Fiction
The Other Twin

011 01 17 2019 Nancy J Cohen’s
Cozy Mystery
Trimmed To Death

012 01 20 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Crime Novel
Second Story Man

013 01 23 2019 Alexis Fancher’s
Flash Fiction
His Full Attention

014 01 27 2019 Brian L Tucker’s
Young Adult/Historical

015 01 31 2019 Robin Tidwell’s

016 02 07 2019 J.D. Trafford’s
Legal Fiction/Mystery
Little Boy Lost

017 02 08 2019 Paula Shene’s
Young Adult ScieFi/Fantasy/Romance/Adventure
My Quest Begins 

018 02 13 2019 Talia Carner’s
Mainstream Fiction/ Suspense/ Historical
Hotel Moscow

019 02 15 2019 Rick Robinson’s
Multidimensional Fiction
Alligator Alley

020 02 21 2019 LaVerne Thompson’s
Urban Fantasy
The Soul Collectors

021 02 27 2019 Marlon L Fick’s
Post-Colonialist Novel
The Nowhere Man

022 03 02 2019 Carol Johnson’s
Mainstream Novel
Silk And Ashes

023 03 06 2019 Samuel Snoek-Brown’s
Short Story Collection
There Is No Other Way to Worship Them

024 03 08 2019 Marlin Barton’s
Short Story Collection
Pasture Art

025 03 18 2019 Laura Hunter’s
Historical Fiction
Beloved Mother

026 03 21 2019 Maggie Rivers’s
Magical Mistletoe

027  03 25 2019 Faith Gibson’s
Paranormal Romance

028 03 27 2019 Valerie Nieman’s
Tall Tale
To The Bones

029 04 04 2019 Betty Bolte’s
Paranormal Romance
Veiled Visions of Love

030 04 05 2019  Marianne Maili’s
Lucy, go see

031 04 10 2019 Gregory Erich Phillips’s
Mainstream Fiction
The Exile

032 04 15 2019 Jason Ament’s
Speculative Fiction
Rabid Dogs

033 04 24 2019 Stephen P. Keirnan’s
Historical Novel
The Baker’s Secret

034 05 01 2019 George Kramer’s
Arcadis: Prophecy Book

035 05 05 2019 Erika Sams’s
Rose of Dance

036 05 07 2019 Mark Wisniewski’s
Literary Fiction
Watch Me Go

037 05 08 2019 Marci Baun’s
Science Fiction/Horror
The Whispering House

038 05 10 2019 Suzanne M. Wolfe’s
Historical Fiction
Murder By Any Name

039 05 12 2019 Edward DeVito’s
The Woodstock Paradox

040 05 14 2019 Gytha Lodge’s
She Lies In Wait

041 05 16 2019 Kari Bovee’s
Historical Fiction/Mystery
Peccadillo At The Palace:  An Annie Oakley Mystery

042 05 20 2019 Annie Seaton’s
Time Travel Romance
Follow Me

043 05 22 2019 Paula Rose Michelson’s
Inspirational Christian Romance
Rosa & Miguel – Love’s Legacy: Prequel to The Naomi

044 05 24 2019 Gracie C McKeever’s
BDMS/Interracial Romance
On The Edge

045 06 03 2019 Micheal Maxwell’s
The Soul of Cole

046 06 04 2019 Jeanne Mackin’s
The Last Collection:  A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and
Coco Chanel

047 06 07 2019 Philip Shirley’s
The Graceland Conspiracy

048 06 08 2019 Bonnie Kistler’s
Domestic Suspense
The House on Fire

049 06 13 2019 Barbara Taylor Sissel’s
Domestic Suspense/Family Drama
Tell No One

050 06 18 2019 Charles Salzberg’s
Short Story/ Crime Fiction
“No Good Deed” from Down to the River

051 06 19 2019 Rita Dragonette’s
Historical Fiction
The Fourteenth of September

052  06 20 2019 Nona Caspers’s
Literary Novel/Collage
The Fifth Woman

053 06 26 2019 Jeri Westerson’s
Paranormal Romance
Shadows in the Mist

054 06 28 2019 Brian Moreland’s
The Devil’s Woods

055 06 29 2019
Epic Fantasy
Wings Unseen

056 07 02 2019 Randee Green’s
Mystery Novel
Criminal Misdeeds

057 07 03 2019 Saralyn Ricahrd’s
Mystery Novel
Murder In The One Percent

#058 07 04 2019 Hannah Mary McKinnon’s
Domestic Suspense
Her Secret Son

#059 07 05 2019 Sonia Saikaley’s
Contemporary Women’s Literature
The Allspice Bath

#060 07 09 2019 Olivia Gaines’s
Romance Suspense Serial
Blind Luck

#061 07 11 2019 Anne Raeff’s
Literary Fiction
Winter Kept Us Warm

#062 07 12 2918 Vic Sizemore’s
Literary Fiction-Short Stories
I Love You I’m Leaving

#063 07 13 2019 Deborah Riley Magnus’s
Dark Paranormal Urban Fantasy

#064 07 14 2019 Elizabeth Bell’s
Historical Fiction

#065 07 15 2019 Lori Baker Martin’s
Literary Novel

#066 08 01 2019 Sabine Chennault’s
Historical Novel

#067 08 02 2019 Margaret Porter’s
Historical Biographical Fiction

No comments:

Post a Comment