Lisa Regan is the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series, as well as several other crime fiction titles. While the series has already grown to nine books, the author recently shared some insights about her work and the second book in the series, The Girl With No Name (read our review here).
Q: Detective Josie Quinn is the protagonist of many of your books. Tell us how you grow a character, how a character matures from book to book, how flaws are exposed, and so on to keep it interesting for the reader.
A: With each case and each personal development in her life, Josie becomes a little less brash and a little more thoughtful. She tries harder to see things from other characters’ points of views because she has to in order to solve cases. This really helps her become a little more even-tempered.
Q: Is Josie modeled after anyone you know in real life?
A: Not at all. What I aimed to do with this series is bring readers the trope of the flawed, damaged detective and then humanize her and show her emotional growth throughout the series.
Q: Are there any specific themes in this book that readers should focus on?
A: One of the biggest themes is that you can find your family. Josie has no parents in her life, no siblings, no extended family. She can be very guarded. In this book, she is challenged to let other people in and trust them. She even ends up becoming close to a character she once intensely hated. She finds a sense of family in the people around her, and those relationships are pretty awesome.
Q: Once again, your book is set in the small town of Denton, PA. How does a small town setting provide interesting storylines and characters that might not be available in larger locations?
A: In The Girl With No Name, I needed a character who would be a household name in the town. That wouldn’t be easy to do in a real setting, but because Denton is fictional, I was easily able to create a character who grew up in Denton and went on to become extremely wealthy by creating security systems and who also has a very tragic past. The fictional setting allowed me to create the lore surrounding him and his history that I might not otherwise be able to do in a real setting.
Q: Tell us about the craft of writing thrillers — how do you keep readers biting their nails and on the edge of their seats?
A: For me, it’s a matter of keeping things moving forward. Readers should learn something new from each chapter. If a chapter can be lifted out of the book and make no difference whatsoever to the story, then it doesn’t belong there. I try to make every chapter count.
Q: Tell us something about “Lisa Regan the author” that readers don’t know that might enhance their enjoyment of your books.
A: I studied martial arts for ten years and earned my black belt. When I was in college, those skills came in extremely handy!