Meet Laurie Fagen. Laurie Fagen’s career as a writer spans a variety of genres and formats. The former newspaper publisher has written magazine articles, short films, musical stage productions, corporate videos, murder mystery scripts for live theater, and documentaries, as well as publicity and promotional material. She is the host of the popular YouTube show, AZ Creates! and for more than a decade has penned highly praised crime fiction novels and short stories.
Laurie was drawn to creative arts from her teens. “I enjoyed theatre production for two years at Drake University in Iowa, my home state, until I realized I didn’t want to starve as an actor. So, I ‘dropped out’ for a couple of years—now they call it gap years—traveled, talked to a lot of people, then went back to school and received my degree at Arizona State University in Radio and Television. I had a fabulous career working in commercial television, radio, cable TV, and video production—and wrote freelance for newspapers and magazines. As a ‘writer by habit’ I’ve rarely found a genre I didn’t like,” she said. “My late husband, Geoff Hancock, and I bought a community newspaper in Chandler which we ran for thirteen years until his death in 2013.”
Laurie’s interests included a passion for mysteries of all kinds. Engrossed in the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine one day, she noticed a contest inviting readers to write and submit a short story about a “Mysterious Photograph” shown in the magazine. She did. Her submission won an honorable mention and Laurie was hooked. A number of her short stories have appeared in various publications since, and the format remains one of her favorites.
“After we sold the paper, I decided to try my hand at writing crime fiction with a broadcast journalist as the protagonist,” she said. In 2016, Laurie debuted Fade Out, her first book, featuring radio reporter Lisa Powers as an amateur sleuth. The second mystery in Laurie’s “Behind the Mic” series, Dead Air, was published in 2017. Bleeder, the latest installment in the Lisa Powers novels, launched in November.
Laurie created a lead character who reports on serious crimes and tough topics, following the story no matter where it takes her, often at risk to herself. “(She) covers the crime beat for a fictional Chandler, AZ radio station; helps police solve cold cases because she’s interested and they’re short-staffed; then because she’s in a gritty crime world all day, she writes and records mystery podcasts at night,” she explained. “In Bleeder, Powers is shocked to learn about the violent and often silent world of domestic violence and is thrust in front of an intense confrontation which forever changes her.”
Laurie has also taken the lead in the production of her audiobooks. “(We do) something a little different for my audiobooks. For the ‘mystery podcasts,’ I bring actors into a studio and record multiple voices with live sound effects. Then my son, Devon Hancock, an audio and video content creator, writes original music, adds other sound effects, and mixes and masters them into the audiobook, which I narrate. I’ll be working on the audiobook for Bleeder this summer.”
She has two new ventures in the works. “I’m taking the ‘podcast’ portions of the audiobooks and will add them to a real podcast I’m planning to launch in fall 2022 called ‘Murder in the Air Mystery Theatre’. I’ll be looking for mystery authors to read a short story or a chapter from their novels for the podcast. For those who don’t like to read their work, I’ll have actors who can read for them.”
Laurie’s next novel, Raw Image, is the first in her “Behind the Lens” series which features T.J. Banks, a freelance television reporter and videographer, who “…thrives on the adrenaline of breaking news stories, flying across the country to report on mass shootings, kidnappings and other crimes. But her years covering some of the most depraved criminals have made her cynical, suspicious, and lacking much of a personal life other than having wild sex with strangers in every port.” Raw Image follows Banks as she “…covers a mass shooting and investigates a major sex trafficking ring that exploits women and children, while she grapples with what lies ahead in her own future.”
Additional endeavors are on her docket for 2022. “I want to write more short stories this year and am committing time each month to work on a ‘creative non-fiction’ story about my paternal grandmother and the 80-plus years of diaries she kept—which I now have. I also juggle in some fiber and polymer clay art and manage my vacation rental condo in Kauai, where I love to travel.”
Although her schedule is filled with projects, the versatile author has found a great way to unwind. Her remedy? “Spend time with my girlfriends and cuddle with my two rescue cats, Jazz and Phantom.”
Laurie is a member of the Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers chapter and has been a long-time member of the national Sisters in Crime organization, belonging to multiple chapters and previously serving as a chapter president.
To learn more about Laurie, her books, and her upcoming projects, go to her website: www.ReadLaurieFagen.com.
You can contact her through her website or at Laurie@ReadLaurieFagen.com.
Laurie’s books are published by Short On Time Books and are available in e-book, print and audiobook.