Friday, March 19, 2010


by Kathryn Casey

You know Women In Crime Ink’s Diane Fanning best for her ten true crime books, but she also writes fiction novels that have been praised by Kirkus Reviews, Booklist and Library Journal. Now, fresh from her overwhelming success with her latest true crime book, MOMMY’S LITTLE GIRL, Diane announces the release of a new novel, MISTAKEN IDENTITY. I wanted to know more about it, so I interviewed the author about her latest publication.

Kathryn Casey: Obviously, since MISTAKEN IDENTITY is the third book in the Lucinda Pierce mystery series, Detective Pierce is the main character of this novel. What other characters from the first two books appear again?

Diane Fanning: A number of them are back: FBI Special Agent Jake Lovett returns, and the attraction between him and Lucinda heats up. Charley Spencer, who is now ten years old, is back interacting with Lucinda, as well as helping out the newly orphaned Freddy Sterling. Lucinda’s siblings, Maggie and Ricky, have expanded roles in this book, revealing more details about their current relationships and their family’s past. Returning in less prominent roles are Charley’s father, Dr. Evan Spencer, Dr. Rambo Burns, Ted and Ellen Branson, Dr. Audrey Ringo, Officer Robin Colter, District Attorney Michael Reed, forensic specialist Marguerite Spellman, defense attorney Stephen Theismann and Lucinda’s supervisor Captain Holland.

KC: Aside from the characters, what are the similarities between MISTAKEN IDENTITY and the other two books in the series?

DF: Each of my books developed a focus on a particular problem in our society. THE TROPHY EXCHANGE explored the cost of domestic violence through the murder of Lucinda’s mother and the suicide of her father, as well as the ugly incidents that impacted her professional life. PUNISH THE DEED looked at people who refuse to accept responsibility for their actions and instead place the blame on others — the most striking example being the serial killer who hunted down the heads of non-profit organizations. MISTAKEN IDENTITY continues in this tradition by taking a look at the damage of childhood scars and the consequences of irresponsible parenting.

KC: Is there anything that makes MISTAKEN IDENTITY different from its predecessors?

DF: Most definitely. In the first two books, Lucinda tracked down serial killers — in each one, the offender had a different motivation and method of operation but still both were homicidal psychopaths with blood lust. In MISTAKEN IDENTITY, the homicides are far more personal. Instead of leaving a string of bodies for Lucinda to connect and follow, this perpetrator leaves a trail of contradictory clues.

KC: Your first two true crime books were about serial killers, too, weren’t they?

DF: You know, until this moment, I hadn’t thought about that, but you are right. I wrote about Tommy Lynn Sells and Richard Marc Evonitz and their strings of murders before turning to the far more personal homicide committed by Michael Peterson in WRITTEN IN BLOOD. I knew writing true crime had provided me with a lot of knowledge and information that helped add to the credibility of my fiction, but I guess writing about real crimes had more of an impact on my fiction than I knew.

KC: What are your plans for the future? Will you be writing true crime or fiction?

DF: Actually, I plan to do both. Fiction it very solitary work that makes me appreciate the places researching true crime takes me, as well as the interaction with people I get from doing interviews and visiting courtrooms. On the other hand, it is a nice escape from reality to write fiction, shape a story the way I want it to go and kill off whoever needs killing without causing any grief to real people.

KC: So what are you working on now?

DF: I have two books in progress. One is a true crime about Raynella Dossett Leath. Her first husband was thought to have died in a cattle stampede. She claimed her second husband’s death was suicide. Now, she has been convicted of the murder of her second husband and is facing trial for killing her first husband. I am also working on a fourth Lucinda Pierce novel. And I need to get both manuscripts completed this year.

KC: My friend, you are going to be busy!

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