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Andrea S Campbell

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Newsletter Dated: 4/30/2010 11:41:25 PM

Subject: Soup*s On E-newsletter

Andrea Campbell’s Newsletter

May-June 2010

*** Greetings! ***
This newsletter is being sent to you because you are a writer, professional friend of Andrea*s, or a fan and reader of her books. If you are new to the list, welcome. There are a ton of newsletters and e-zines out there to read, thanks for requesting and reading mine.
In this issue:

• From the Author*s Desk
• Interview with Doug Lyle
• Did You Know?
• The Write Path E-zine

*** From The Author*s Desk ***

• A new online workshop begins soon: The Gatekeepers e-class starts Monday, JUNE 7 for 4 weeks. The full title: The Gatekeepers: All About Agents and Editors: Getting them, working with them, and growing as a career author. For more information and to register:
Limited to ten students. Andrea's students get published!

• I had a wonderful interview with Melinda Copp, Founder of the Writer’s Sherpa website and blog. Information on how to get The Write Path e-zine is found at the end of this issue. For my interview, see:

• My new book will be out in June (maybe) with Overlook Press. It is a historical-biography about the world’s first detective, entitled: Vidocq: The Fugitive Who Transformed Forensic Science. If you have a blog and are interested in an article or interview, please contact me at:

• My interview appeared in Journal of the Clan Campbell Society (North America) Vol. 37 No.1 Winter 2010. Visit online:

*** Interview with Doug Lyle ***

Q.: Doug, for Soup’s On Readers who don’t know you, will you tell us a little about your background?

A: I'm a Southerner, having grown up in Huntsville, Alabama, graduated from the University of Alabama and then did my cardiology training at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston. I now practice cardiology in Orange County, California. I write both fiction and nonfiction and have won the Macavity Award and been nominated for an Edgar Award. I also consult with the writers of many TV shows, including Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, and 1-800-Missing.

Q.: You are considered an expert in forensic science, how do you use those skills?

A: I don't work in the forensic field and do not consider myself an expert but more an interested party. Being a physician, the terminology and the science behind forensic science is not foreign to me so I it wasn’t difficult to self-educate myself in the field. Now I use it to translate this often difficult science into simple terms for writers and hopefully to help them use this information in their stories. So I'm more or less a translator for fiction writers.

Q.: What are you doing to stay abreast of today’s forensic science?

A: I read anything and everything that has to do with the field. I stay on top of it through the many scientific blogs, scientific journals, and rummaging around the net. A lot of my research is stimulated by the questions I receive from writers who want to know some forensic detail for their story. I probably learn more from the questions that are asked than the questioner learns from my answers. I am constantly amazed at the creative mind of fiction writers and the wild scenarios and questions they come up with.

Q.: What do you think about the state of forensics today? Do you see progress being made? Are we staying ahead of the criminals?

A: Like any science, forensic science progresses in fits and spurts. The hot topic of recent years has been DNA and there have been some incredible advances in this arena. With the new so-called "touch DNA" techniques, investigators are finding DNA samples in places they never looked before. A simple fingerprint will often contain the person's DNA because these prints are made up of oils and skin cells left behind when an object is touched. With the newer DNA testing techniques a single cell is enough for DNA profiling in many cases.

Q.: Besides being a Renaissance man, you are writing in both nonfiction and fiction, how did that transpire? Is it difficult to make that shift from one to the other?

A: Renaissance, huh? Are you saying I'm old? Yes I do write both fiction and nonfiction and like doing both. They are similar, only different. When writing fiction, you start with a story and then go back and get the facts right. The story is paramount and the rewriting is where you clean up the details. Nonfiction writing is the opposite. First you gather all the details, organize them, put together the manuscript, and then go back and make it read better. So with one you start with a story and add the details and the other you start with the details and add the story. At least that's the way I do it.

Q.: Thank you for the review copy of your latest book, Stress Fracture. Can you provide a brief book jacket explanation of the book?

A: Stress Fracture is the first in my new Dub Walker series. It’s set in Huntsville and revolves around the world of murder and forensic science. In the story, a series of brutal killings take place that are confusing to Dub in that each killing suggests that the killer on one hand is cold and methodical while on the other is frenzied and out of control. It creates a difficult profiling situation and makes tracking the killer problematic. He leaves little evidence behind yet appears to be completely insane, a situation that the profilers call a "mixed presentation." Of course, it becomes personal when a close friend of Dub’s is murdered and both Dub and his ex-wife Claire McBride are threatened directly by the killer.

Q.: Three-part question here: Your main character, Dub Walker, is a crime scene and evidence analyst. Who is that person and what is he responsible for? Also, does that mean you are going to pepper all your stories with forensic science details?

A: Dub almost made it through medical school but dropped out three months from the finish line when his sister was abducted. He was supposed to meet her at a certain place and at a certain time but was delayed. When he got there she was gone. Never seen again. This drove him into depression, which ultimately led him to joining the Marines and got his head screwed back on. After that, he worked at the Alabama Department of Forensic Science and gained his expertise in forensic investigations. He also did a stint with the FBI's Behavioral Assessment Unit. He then became a writer and teacher on these subjects, which led to his being consulted on difficult cases around the country.

He brings a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience to cases and has a knack for thinking outside the box. Each story in the series relies heavily on forensic science. Stress Fracture deals with PTSD as well as criminal behavior and the second in the series, Hot Lights, Cold Steel, which is already completed and will be out in 2011, deals with robotic surgery. Each book contains forensic science and also medical science.

Q.: How do you begin to create a story? Do you use storyboards or other systems for organizing information? Do you have fact-finding missions? Rely on colleagues?

A: I daydream and then I outline. I think everyone should outline, particularly if they're writing a thriller. It helps you see if the story idea has enough legs to carry through 300 pages or so. It helps you make sure that the tension is constantly rising and that the plot lines are constantly interweaving. I know that some writers just start writing but I can't do that. That said, I don't really make an outline but rather a list of what I call Plot Points. They are simply the scene sequence that will take place in the story. This helps me keep on track but it is not a written-in-stone sort of thing. It constantly changes as I write. I find that the story might take a different route from point A to point B and so I will keep my manuscript and my Plot Points in line with one another. If I change or add a plot point, I change or add a scene. If I change a scene, I change the plot point list. This not only helps tell the story in a cleaner fashion but it also makes it easier to backtrack and find where something took place earlier in the story. I think every writer knows that trying to backtrack in your manuscript to find a detail can be maddening. This helps.

Q.: What is your work environment and schedule like?

A: I have a soundproofed music studio at home. It has no windows but does have three televisions, three computers, a library of reference books, and my guitars. I collect vintage guitars and used to play, but writing has pushed music to the side. I still pick and strum every now and then but not like I used to. I can't work in a quiet environment. My mind seems to wander if there's not something else going on. So I will always have music or something on the television going in the background. This background noise helps me concentrate. Don't know why, but it's always been that way. I can't tell you how many Neil Young albums I wore out studying during medical school.

Q.: Can you tell us a little about your publisher, Medallion Press? And do you have an agent?

A: I've had several publishers over the years, including St. Martin's, Wiley, and Writers Digest Books. Each has been a pleasure to work with and I must say that Medallion Press is no different. They have been very helpful throughout the process of bringing this book to the shelves. My editors have been great and I have nothing but good things to say about them. They've already purchased Hot Lights, Cold Steel and are looking at two novels in another series and two nonfiction books at this time. I look forward to a long relationship with them.

Q.: I noticed you try to do a lot of promotion? Do your publishers help or are you generating your own appearances and outings?

A: It depends on the publisher. The For Dummies series from Wiley needs no introduction and more or less promotes itself because the series is so well known. Same can be said for books published by Writers Digest. Medallion has been helpful on many levels. That said, a writer must promote his or her own work. If you wait for someone else to do it, it might not get done. I go to conferences, give classes, do radio interviews, and even have my own health segment a local TV show. And my website and blog help keep my writing in front of an interested audience. I think all that helps but at the end of the day you have to write good books or all that other stuff is like spinning your wheels in the mud.

Q.: You have a writer’s forensic blog, would you care to share the details?

A: I started the blog in order to communicate with writers about forensic issues. It is meant primarily for writers though I have readers that cover a very broad spectrum, including police officers, attorneys, forensic experts, and many others. I try to take something interesting that I've seen in my net searches, or maybe stimulated by a question from a writer, or perhaps some crime story that appears in the papers or on television, and use that as a springboard to discuss some forensic technique. When I post things to my blog I always attempt to keep writers in mind and ask myself—What about this story might help a writer with something they're working on or perhaps generate a new story idea? I learn a lot doing it.


Q.: Do you have your next project in mind?

A: I have two nonfiction books in the works as well as the third novel in the Dub Walker series. I'm also beginning to do research on a story set in the Civil War. And then I teach forensic science online classes for DeSales University in their Masters of Criminal Justice program.

Q.: Is there anything else you would like to tell Soup’s On Readers?

A: Those of you who write, keep writing. Those of you who read, keep reading. We writers love our readers.

*** Did You Know? ***

AP Stylebook Finally Changes “Web site” to “website.”

*** The WRITE Path E-zine ***

The WRITE Path E-zine offers weekly writing, publishing, and marketing tips for aspiring business, self-help, and nonfiction authors who are ready to make their book a reality. To sign up, and claim your free copy of “The Jumpstart Your Book E-course,” visit

*** Future Newsletters ***

In upcoming newsletters we will share a new interview or two, talk more about publishing, and provide additional writer’s tips. If there is any area you would like to discuss, just send me a note. Thanks for the read. :0)

Copyright©2010 Andrea Campbell If you wish to quote from here, fine, just attribute it to me and my web site.

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