LynDee Walker’s award-winning journalistic work has appeared in newspapers and magazines across the nation.
Her debut novel, Front Page Fatality, was nominated for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Lethal Lifestyles is the sixth in LynDee’s national bestselling mystery series featuring crime reporter Nichelle Clarke.
LynDee adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can’t wear.
The first person account, tangents and all
I live a blessed life.
I was raised by a very loving, super involved single mom who worked tirelessly to make our little house a home and give me everything I might have ever wanted.
Most of the time, what I wanted was a new book—often some incarnation of Nancy Drew or something with Judy Blume or Laura Ingalls Wilder on the spine. As I got older, I moved on to Agatha Christie and Stephen King.
I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I can remember. The day the journalism teacher at my high school had someone fetch me from my freshman health class to offer me a spot on the school newspaper staff was the happiest of that entire year.
It was the first step on my path to becoming a reporter. When I was a little girl, I settled on that goal because I thought Lois Lane had the coolest job ever, superhero cohort notwithstanding. As a teenager, I decided what I really wanted was to be Helen Thomas when I grew up.
I went to Washington, D.C. for a leadership program in my junior year of high school, and actually got to hear Helen speak at the National Press Club. My roommate pushed me to ask her a question. I got tongue-tied and flubbed it terribly. It was not a great moment.
I studied under some amazing journalists and professors in college, covered a speech by President Clinton, was named a Scripps-Howard Foundation scholar, and got a summer internship that became a part-time job. I landed my first two spots on finalist lists for major professional awards before I was a senior. Because of a series of articles I wrote for the campus paper that ended with our professors being paid on par with others in the region, I ended up with a namesake scholarship at my university while I was still a student there. And somewhere in there my mother decided it might be okay if I wasn’t the next Reba McEntire, because maybe I was a pretty good reporter, too.
I moved on to a job as the news editor at a paper in a farm town in north central Texas, and about a year later, I pitched the publisher a plan for a newspaper in my hometown. For several years, that paper was my baby. I also remember graduating college and getting married around that time, but it’s kind of a blur. I worked a lot. I covered the huge variety of topics that only small-town reporters do: misplaced graves, high-profile capital murder trials, serial criminals, zoning variances — my portfolio is nothing if not diverse. I thrived on it, and I’m pretty sure it came through in my work, because I won more awards.
Then I had an actual baby, and left the insane hours of the job I loved to be a full-time mommy to the baby I loved more. Years flew.
When my second child was about a year old, I had an idea — just a scene, really, that popped into my head. I blew it off at first, but it was planted firmly in my brain and pestered me until I got my laptop and started writing. Five weeks later I had a very long, messy rough draft of FRONT PAGE FATALITY.
Thousands of hours of slashing, editing, revising, and polishing ensued. Along the way, I educated myself on how traditional fiction publishing works in the 21st century. I made great writer friends who have been invaluable on many levels.
Amongst the revising and querying and learning, life happened. I had another baby, and shortly thereafter said an unexpected last goodbye to my mom. About a year after she died, I dusted off my query letter and started researching publishers again. I found a young company that looked like an excellent fit, sent a query, and held my breath. Three months and a good bit of back and forth (and more revising) later, I had my first book deal. The idea of that feels slightly surreal to this day.
I am proud to be an officer for Mystery Writers of America’s Mid-Atlantic chapter, as well as a member of Sisters in Crime, and James River Writers. I’m living my fondest dream, being at home with my monkeys and writing novels that I hope bring readers as much enjoyment as I’ve gotten out of books that I adore.
As for personal stuff — well, I’m completely head over heels for my family. I am indeed lucky to say that after two decades together, my husband is still my very best friend. My children are my light. They are funny and bright and loving and occasionally crazy-making, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of my life with them for anything.
My mom is my hero. We had the kind of closeness that is particular to only children of single mothers: she made me think my head would explode some days and made me feel like the most special girl in the world on others. I miss her every day, and I hope she’s proud of me, wherever she is. She was my biggest fan, and Nichelle and her stories wouldn’t be here without her tireless cheerleading.
What else do I love? Oh, right — food! On account of a Texas upbringing that included a real-life, honest-to-goodness Aunt Bea and a mom who knew how to use her grandmomma’s cast iron skillet, I have an affinity for southern and Mexican food that keeps me constantly working to fit into my jeans. I lost a little over 100 pounds when my oldest monkey was two, and I’ve kept 77 of it off for almost ten years, but it’s not always easy.
I’m also a fan of iced tea (but now I use Splenda instead of sugar), sangria, and coffee. I drink a borderline concerning amount of coffee.
My family transplanted to Virginia in 2006, and it’s become home. We love the trees, the seasons, and the history, and the children have opportunities to see and learn about amazing things within a short drive of our house.
As you might have guessed from the length of this bio, I also love to chat. I’m online every day, so click the social networking links at the top of the page to find me on Facebook or Twitter, and stop back by here anytime! Plus, you can always email me. I love to hear from readers.