Lisa Regan thriller author interview.

Lisa Regan is the USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series as well as several other crime fiction titles. She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Master of Education degree from Bloomsburg University. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband, daughter and Boston Terrier named Mr. Phillip.

Delve into the world of bestselling author Lisa Regan, known for her gripping Detective Josie Quinn series and other crime fiction titles. In this episode, Lisa shares insights into her writing journey, from humble beginnings to the release of her 19th novel, “Face Her Fear.” What started as a dream of three books turned into a remarkable series spanning 19 thrilling installments and counting, while captivating readers worldwide.

Lisa’s dedication to her craft shines through as she discusses her writing process, highlighting the delicate balance of sticking to what works while constantly seeking fresh ideas to keep her stories engaging and dynamic. With each book presenting a new challenge and opportunity for growth, Lisa’s meticulous approach to research and character development ensures that her readers are always in for a captivating and immersive experience.

As Lisa reflects on her career and the evolving landscape of the publishing industry, her advice to aspiring authors resonates with a message of perseverance and continuous improvement. Emphasizing the importance of creating new content and embracing the learning journey inherent in writing, Lisa’s story serves as an inspiring testament to the power of persistence and passion in the pursuit of literary success.

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Josie Quinn thrillers by Lisa Regan.

Show Notes and Resources

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[00:00:01.080] – Lisa Regan
Welcome to Meet the Thriller Author, the go-to podcast for delving into the minds behind the most gripping mysteries, readers, and suspense novels. As a fellow thriller writer and your guide, I invite you to explore new to a decade of conversations with the giants of the genre, from Lee Child to Dean Koontz, Walter Moseley, Tess Gerritssen, and more, all available at ThrillingReads.com there you’ll find a treasure trove of show notes, transcripts, and direct links to my own thriller novels. Make sure to join the newsletter over at thrillingreads. Com for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts, and outstanding book recommendations.

[00:00:40.790] – Lisa Regan
In today’s episode, Number 197, I welcome back Lisa Regan. She’s the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series, as well as several other crime fiction titles. The 19th novel in the Josie Quinn series, Face Her Fear, was recently released. It’s at the top of the Amazon charts, getting rave ratings on there. Join me as I dive into a riveting conversation with Lisa Regan about her amazing career, what’s it like writing a long-standing series, and about her writing process, and a whole lot more coming right up.

[00:01:10.850] – Lisa Regan
Hey, everybody. This is Alan with Meet the Thriller author. On the podcast today, I have Lisa Regan, who is a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Detective Josie Quinn series. She also has several other crime fiction titles published. The 19th book on the Josie Quinn series, Face Her Fear, was at least just a couple of days ago. It’s already the top of the Amazon charts, of course. Congratulations, Lisa.

[00:01:35.970] – Lisa Regan
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me on.

[00:01:38.270] – Lisa Regan
Yeah. Welcome back to the podcast. Real nice to check in with you again. I think it’s been a couple of years. Yes. It’s so incredible. I’m so impressed with 19 books. I mean, that’s just amazing. I know you probably know where you ever dreamed this, but when you started with book one, what was it? I mean, do you think, Oh, hopefully I can get two or three?

[00:02:01.760] – Lisa Regan
I was just hoping for three.

[00:02:04.100] – Lisa Regan
Was that your initial contract? Was three?

[00:02:06.670] – Lisa Regan
Was three. I honestly believe that after three, the sales were going to stink and the publisher would realize this wasn’t a great idea, and that would be the end of that.

[00:02:20.640] – Lisa Regan
Oh, wow. That’s amazing. It’s Bookature, right? Is the publisher? Yeah. I love their books. I’ve really enjoying their authors. They really have some great people for them, but writing for them.

[00:02:31.870] – Lisa Regan
Absolutely. I was a fan of a lot of their authors, and that was one of the reasons I wanted to work with them, because everything that I read that they were putting out, I loved.

[00:02:42.720] – Lisa Regan
Okay, so that’s cool. You started out as a fan first.

[00:02:45.540] – Lisa Regan

[00:02:47.180] – Lisa Regan
When did the first book come out?

[00:02:51.290] – Lisa Regan
Vanishing Girls came out in January 2018.

[00:02:56.820] – Lisa Regan
Okay, well, that’s incredible. I’m just curious, too. It’s such a long series. Has your writing process changed from the first one to the 19th, or are you sticking with what works?

[00:03:09.730] – Lisa Regan
It’s funny because you would think after 19 books, it would be a well-oiled machine, but in some ways it is, and in other ways it’s not. Every book is quite different from the last. A lot of times I’ll feel like, Oh, I got this. I know what to do for the next book. Then the next book is a mess, and I’m a mess, and I need extra editorial help to make it work. So the general process is the same as where I have an outline. I go over it with my editor to see if she has any thoughts before I start the book, and then I start it, do my best in the first draft, and then I turn it in. And then usually in structural edits, there are big time changes because I’m writing that first draft pretty fast. That hasn’t changed.

[00:03:59.400] – Lisa Regan
Is it your outline? Is it like a synopsis of each chapter type of an outline?

[00:04:06.690] – Lisa Regan
I try to go scene by scene. The last few books, it’s been a little more difficult. I get partway into the book and I’m like, I’m having some roadblocks, so then I’ll start writing to see if it jogs anything loose, if I get new ideas, because often I will have new ideas as I’m writing. Then I come up with new things as I’m working, add them to the outline, and do it that way.

[00:04:34.610] – Lisa Regan
Cool. I think that’s one of the reasons why you’re… Because I’ve read a whole bunch of your books in the series, and even though it’s the 19th book, it’s still fresh. It’s still fun. Is that something… You’re like, I’m not kidding.

[00:04:50.920] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, for real.

[00:04:53.170] – Lisa Regan
I’m just curious, too, because as a writer myself, I’m like, How is she doing that? Is that something you put thought into it when you’re like, Oh, I got to deliver the goods, but I got to be a little different? How does that work?

[00:05:05.560] – Lisa Regan
Yes. I was talking to my editor this morning, actually, because we’re working on Book 20, and I said to her, I was writing the first draft of this, and it didn’t have a feel, a tone to it that was different from all the other books that I’ve written. Usually, each book has a very different internal feeling and some tone to it that It feels different to me than every other book I’ve written. I do consciously think about, what haven’t we done before? What have readers not seen before? What hasn’t Josie faced before? How can I incorporate some of those things into this new book so that I want to meet the expectations that readers have for the series, but I also want to give them something new and fresh with each book. It’s definitely something that I’m thinking hard about with every single book.

[00:06:03.040] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, it shows, too, because if you were just doing the same one all the time, I think readers would get a little tired of it. But yours just keep… It reminds me of Rudy Bosch. I think he’s got 20-some now, Michael Connolly. They’re always good like that, too. I’m always amazed with my writer hat. I’m like, wow.

[00:06:22.180] – Lisa Regan
Oh, thank you.

[00:06:24.430] – Lisa Regan
I’m curious now, what inspired you to write readers and mysteries? Were you a fan of the genre before you your first thriller?

[00:06:31.520] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, I’ve always been a huge fan. Even as a child, I love Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew, those kinds of stories. Then as I got older, young adult, I’ve read a lot of Christopher Pike. I liked anything with a puzzle, with a mystery. I’ll read anything. I feel as though the genre doesn’t matter. If it’s good, it’s good. But generally, what speaks to me the most is the crime thriller genre. That’s where I spend a lot of time reading, and it was a natural thing to just write in that genre.

[00:07:12.040] – Lisa Regan
What did you do before you started to write? Anything that you were able to apply to your writing career?

[00:07:18.250] – Lisa Regan
Not so much. I had a lot of different jobs. I was a paralegal for 13 years, but at a personal injury firm, so I didn’t see a lot of criminal stuff. I just really have been fascinated by crime and why people commit crimes and the psychology behind things. I think even if I had to do it over again and go back to school, I might have majored in psychology or criminal justice or gone to law school or something like that because all of that stuff has always been fascinating to me.

[00:07:53.880] – Lisa Regan
What were the origins for Face Her Fear? Can you walk us through a little bit about that, what it’s and how the idea started with you?

[00:08:03.270] – Lisa Regan
We had an editorial meeting about the series in 2022, and we were trying to map out a future books with a couple of the editors from Bookerture, and It came up that they wanted me to think about doing something that was like a locked-room mystery, where Josie would be isolated with a limited number of people and resources and have to still solve a crime. I thought about it, and I thought that the best way to do that, realistically, with the way things are nowadays in technology, would be to put her at a remote retreat on the top of a mountain with limited cell service and then have a blizzard strike. That’ll do it. It was just really hard to come up with a way that she could be isolated from society. Then that’s what I came with. Then after that, it was a matter of developing the cast of characters that she stuck with and going about how she solves the crime. I mean, in this genre, There’s usually a body. She’s at this remote retreat, trying to process some of her trauma. Somebody gets murdered. She’s on the case, whether she wants to be or not. From that point on, she has to figure out how to solve that murder with just basically her wits. She has limited contact with the team, which does help, but it’s pretty much all on her to figure out who the killer is.

[00:09:41.650] – Lisa Regan
Cool. You mentioned the characters, creating the characters. How does that process work for you, too? Trying to create compelling characters that are interesting. Do you sketch them out, or how does that process work?

[00:09:55.490] – Lisa Regan
They usually just appear in my mind I’ll have a idea of what I need. I need a character who is going to fit this role, and then they just show up there. I know that sounds like crazy writer stuff, but they just come into my mind, most of them fully formed and ready to go. Sometimes when I’m writing, I think that they’re going to act one way, and then they act completely differently, which usually makes it pretty interesting.

[00:10:34.570] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, it’s interesting. You say you outline and everything, but the characters and the story takes its own directions when you’re writing it. You don’t find that frustrating? Is that a good part of the process for you? Like, Oh, cool. It’s going this way.

[00:10:48.370] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, I think it’s fun because when you outline, it does take a little bit of the joy of discovery out of the writing process. It’s a lot of fun when you’re writing Even when you’re following the outline and you’re writing, and then this character that you wrote in the outline comes onto the page and they’re completely different than what you expected. It’s like, Oh, that’s cool. I like that. I might let that develop and see what happens.

[00:11:18.320] – Lisa Regan
How do you keep track of all this, especially after 19 books? You must have a really super high-charging series Bible going.

[00:11:25.830] – Lisa Regan
I do. There’s a wonderful, wonderful patient, very patient woman named Claire Milto, who does the series Bible for me. It’s color-coded and searchable. She really has a great memory because sometimes I’ll send her a new book before it’s been published, and she’ll email me and say, Hey, I don’t know if you check the Bible, but you already use this location. The last time you used it, it was in West Denton, and in this book, you’ve got it in East Denton. You need to make that consistent.

[00:12:00.220] – Lisa Regan
Wow, that’s amazing. It’s like the editor brain that remembers these things.

[00:12:05.640] – Lisa Regan

[00:12:06.880] – Lisa Regan
That’s impressive. It just had a curiosity, too. The tools of the trade, do you write on Word or Scribner or some other software? Word?

[00:12:16.540] – Lisa Regan
Microsoft Word, yeah. Everything is in there. I have to keep everything in one place or I will forget things and lose track of things. I keep everything in Word. Then if something comes up as I’m writing that I need to fill in or research or make consistent, I’ll just use the comment feature in the margin, and I’ll leave myself a comment that says, Come back to this, or, Look this up, or, Fill this in later. Everything is just in that document. Wow.

[00:12:47.620] – Lisa Regan
Interesting. You said you were starting to work on Josie Quinn number 20. Is that one coming out soon or next year? Or what’s the process?

[00:12:56.920] – Lisa Regan
That’ll be out in May, mid-May. Okay, cool.

[00:12:59.440] – Lisa Regan
All right. That’s coming right up. How are you working on the next one? Are you already starting to plan number 21?

[00:13:06.750] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, I have an idea for it. I have to talk to my editor about it. But a draft of Book 20 was already turned in when 19 came out. Leading up to 19 coming out, I was finishing the first draft of 20, and now I’ll be editing it. I’ll be doing structural edits for that in the next 2-3 weeks. Then it’s pretty quick from there with copy-editing, proof-reading, line-editing, all that stuff. Then I’ll start ’21 right away.

[00:13:37.870] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, it’s so amazing, too. The feedback I was checking on the Amazon page of your book, it’s the The reviews are great, and it’s in the top of there. What’s the feedback that you’ve been hearing from your fans? It must be thrilling, exciting, the 19th book, and everyone’s still super excited about it.

[00:13:58.480] – Lisa Regan
Yes, I was so nervous us about this book, 19, because it’s very, very different than every other book before it. And always when you’ve got a series that people have stuck with that long, I think it’s a very nerve-wracking to try something else, to try something new. So I’ve been really gratified by the fact that readers, they’re acknowledging that, Oh, this is a little different than what we’re used to, but it’s pretty good. We like it. We still like it. So the reviews have been great. Thank God. Thank my readers. And then the only thing that people have said consistently is that they missed the team. They missed Josie’s team, the other detectives, the series regulars. We’ll bring them back in full force in Book 20, and you’ll see them on every page. People will get that back in Book 20.

[00:14:53.650] – Alan Petersen
Is it going to be anything special being that’s number 20, or is that just… I don’t know how that works.

[00:14:59.760] – Lisa Regan
I know. I talked to my editor about that this morning, about it being Book 20, and is there something we should be doing special? I think that with the addition of this new team member that I’m introducing, he comes in at the end of ’19, but you just see him for a couple of minutes. I think with him being introduced in ’20, it’s going to make for a little more excitement, like a breath of fresh air. It’s something different for a to sink their teeth into. We’ll see what happens.

[00:15:35.720] – Alan Petersen
How much research do you put in your books, especially in different locations? This one was in a different location. How much research do you put into these?

[00:15:45.390] – Lisa Regan
A lot of research. I try in terms of location to keep… Well, Denton is a fictional town, city in Pennsylvania. I try to keep all my stuff in Pennsylvania because I have lived here my whole life. I’ve traveled all All over Pennsylvania. I used to be a nursing assistant, and I would work for agencies, so I would get sent to all kinds of places. I try to keep it to places that I’ve been or I’ll take parts of a bunch of places that I’ve been and meld them into one fictional location. In terms of location, that’s my own personal experience. Then the police procedure part, I have a couple of consultants that help me in the first draft. I consult with them about everything. How would this look? What would Josie need to do? What would happen if you found this? That thing. Then when the book is finished, but before it’s published, I have a consultant, a retired female detective who reads the whole entire book, line by line, and she tells me all the things I got wrong. My goal always, when I her a book, is to try and get no notes.

[00:17:04.360] – Alan Petersen
I don’t know if you’ve seen, but… Oh, that’s awesome. Because that’s something you get from your books, though. They seem very… I’m not in law enforcement I think, but it seems very into the procedure of things, the job. That’s how you’re tapping into these experts.

[00:17:24.560] – Lisa Regan
Yeah. I mean, it’s not dead on because I have to… It’s fiction. It’s being written for entertainment. But I do my absolute best to make sure that there’s never anything in there that is so off the wall that it would never happen.

[00:17:40.670] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, I have friends who are cops, and they’re like, Yeah, no. Usually, the job is actually boring. Yeah. I’ve heard that. We read for fun, so yeah, we got to keep it fun. I was curious, too. Now, when you start to write the book, Do you set yourself goals, like a word count goal? Do you write every day?

[00:18:06.440] – Lisa Regan
I try to write every day. I have a word count goal for each. The first draft is usually anywhere between 65,000 and 85,000 words, depending on how well the book is going. If I’m writing and I feel as though most of it is going to stay in the book through the editing process, then my word count tends to be higher. If I’m not that sure how much is going to stay, then the word count will be lower. But my husband made me this. You can’t see it right now because it’s covered up, but he made me a… It’s like a thing on the wall. It’s a thermometer, and it has the words on it. They use the same thing for fundraising. Every couple of notches, it goes by increments of 5,000, and you push up the red part as you go. So If I come to 3,000 words, I put it to 3,000. If I write 5,000, I push it up to 5,000, and it just keeps going. If I don’t get to push the the red part up every day, I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything. Oh, that’s cool. Yeah, so that keeps me going.

[00:19:19.120] – Lisa Regan
He had the idea, he ordered it, and then he customized it so that it would be there for word count, put it on my wall, and it’s just been a God in because it really helps keep me focused.

[00:19:33.410] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, I can imagine. And do you usually write for the same place? You have a dedicated spot that you usually go to?

[00:19:40.030] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, it’s here in my office. I have a big chair back there because my dog likes to be sitting on my right side when I’m writing. And if I sit at my desk for too long, he gets upset. So we just go back and I sit there and I type, and then he lays against my leg, and I can get a lot of writing done that way.

[00:20:02.930] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, mine’s usually right behind there.

[00:20:05.230] – Lisa Regan
Oh, that’s so sweet.

[00:20:07.730] – Alan Petersen
It’s a little one, though. It’s a little easier. I could keep an eye on her. She’s just going to start barking during the interview. How is it for you now writing these books now? Is it still something like… I mean, are you still excited about the whole process? I mean, it must be just incredible to be to do that, but I know I could imagine after 19 books, too. How does that whole feeling work out for you?

[00:20:37.220] – Lisa Regan
I love it. I still love it. I can’t imagine writing anything else. I know a lot of writers get maybe bored or frustrated after so many books with the same characters or the same theme or that thing. But I love it. I love it right where I want to be. I don’t really want to write anything else. I think the biggest challenge for me is just what we talked about earlier, which is coming up with something new and fresh for readers every time. It’s hard after 19 books, you think to yourself, Oh, did I do that already? Did I use that clue already? That’s where the Bible comes in. That helps a lot because I definitely don’t want to repeat anything that we’ve already done in the series.

[00:21:28.800] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, that’s why I figured that it was such a great long series like that. You must have very good Bible going because if not, yeah, it’ll be hard to keep track of. What’s it like then with the other writers in the Bookoture community, any writers that you’ve been… Do you still find time to read readers? Are there any new writers that you’re enjoying?

[00:21:54.070] – Lisa Regan
Oh, yeah, all the time. I do my best. Well, with Bookoture, I’m a huge fan of Angie Marson’s Her Kim Stone series. I think I’m only a book behind her. I love that series. I think it’s awesome. That was one of the main things that made me want to pitch to Book O’Chur because I just love that series so much. She’s great. Helen Pfeiffer, Wendy Dranfield, BR Spangler, Stacey Green, I love. Kl Slater. I know I’m going to be forgetting people. I mean, They’re all good. I haven’t read anybody that they’ve picked up that I didn’t enjoy. Then outside of Bookocher, I love Essay Cosby, Jennifer Hillier. They’re my big favorites right now. Ed Amar, I love his stuff. He’s got a new one coming out next week. Kelly Garret, I got to read an advanced copy of her book that’s coming out this year. She’s fantastic. I try to keep up as best as I can. It’s hard when you’re writing three books a year. When I’m writing first drafts, it’s especially hard because if I really get into a book, it’s impossible for me to put it down. If I put it down and I try to write my own book, I’m like, I don’t know what happens.I can’t do this. I’ll go back to the book.

[00:23:24.950] – Alan Petersen
How long does it take you to go from when you first sit down to write it till you have the first draft Is there an average?

[00:23:33.190] – Lisa Regan
About two months. But that’s after I’ve really thought about it for a long time and worked out a lot of the premise and the plot and I have a pretty solid outline. I usually spend a month, maybe two working on that part of the process. Then in the last 6-8 weeks, I will just dig in and try to get that first draft out.

[00:24:00.050] – Alan Petersen
I was asking the question about the processes and everything because I know I have a lot of writers, inspiring writers that listen to this podcast. I would like to ask, too, advice for an inspiring thriller mystery writer. What do you think about what the future is? Because there’s all these changes happening right now in the industry. I was wondering what your take is on that and any advice for our inspiring writers?

[00:24:29.000] – Lisa Regan
My best, best piece of advice is just keep creating new content. Keep coming up with new stories. Don’t stop at one book, even if you’re trying to sell it or pitch it. Just keep writing. You should always be writing because sometimes the first book or the first five books that you write don’t go anywhere or don’t do as well as you hoped. But you never know which book might be the one that resonates the most with readers. So if you just keep working and you keep getting those stories that are in your head onto the page, you’re going to really do yourself a service. I think that’s the best thing that writers can be doing at any stage, really. Then in terms of the publishing, when I talk to newer writers or aspiring writers, I say, At this point, the way that the industry is, you need to ask yourself, What do you want out of this? Because there’s so many paths to publication now. You can publish independently. You can now approach small to mid-sized publishers without an agent. There’s that option. Or still with the big houses, you definitely need an agent to break in there. I just think there’s so many different ways to go that that has become more of a personal thing for people. What do they want out of the process? What do they want the end result to look like for them? The answer to that question will determine where to go from there.

[00:26:04.990] – Alan Petersen
Something I liked about Bookoture, I was looking at their submission process, too, is that they’ll let you know in two weeks. It’s not the old way where it’s six months or a year, you’re wondering if you’re ever going to hear back from them. So at least it’s submitted, then you can move on rather quickly for the industry with standards. Yeah. It always stuck with me when I first interviewed you. I remember you saying that even your first time The first book you pitched to Bookoture really didn’t pan out, but then you didn’t go away all upset or sad or whatever. You zeroed in. You are 19 books later.

[00:26:41.760] – Lisa Regan
Yeah, it’s incredible. Those first two books that I pitched to them at the time, I was like, This is my best work. But I know you learn from writing. Every single book that I write teaches me something that I did not know before or I did not know how to do before or something I’ve been trying to pull off but haven’t been able to before. So the more you write, even if it doesn’t feel like it, I think the better you get. So it’s worth always creating new content.

[00:27:15.220] – Alan Petersen
Yeah, that’s good advice. It’s not really wasted words. It’s more practice, right? Eventually, it’ll all…

[00:27:20.430] – Lisa Regan

[00:27:23.020] – Alan Petersen
All right. Well, Lisa, I want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast again. I really enjoy talking with you and to Face Her Fear is out right now. By the time people are watching this or listening to this, they’ll go check it out.

[00:27:36.810] – Lisa Regan
Thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.

[00:27:39.180] – Alan Petersen
Thank you for joining me on the podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, please take a moment to rate and review it on your preferred podcast platform. Your feedback makes all the difference in connecting with fellow Thriller fans. Go to thrillingreads. Com for show notes, transcripts, and to sign up for exclusive access to giveaways, discounts, and outstanding book recommendations. Until next time, keep the pages turning and keep the mysteries unraveling.

Video Interview

About the Author
I write thriller and crime fiction novels and host the Meet the Thriller Author podcast where I interview authors of mystery, thriller, and suspense books.

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