Interview with Author DeAnn Daley Holcomb

Welcome to BookView Interview, a conversation series where BookView talks to authors.

Recently, we interviewed DeAnn Daley Holcomb, an award-winning television and print media journalist, published author, writer, editor, substitute teacher and public speaker, about her recently released novel, Beyond the Shadows, an entertaining read perfect for an airplane or train journey in which a homicide detective races against time to catch a serial killer while trying to protect the woman he loves. (Read the review here.)

DeAnn Daley Holcomb is an award-winning television and print media journalist, published author, writer, editor, substitute teacher and public speaker. Her first novel, Family Secrets, was a finalist honored by the Eric Hoffer National Book Awards and Dan Poynter’s EBook Awards. DeAnn’s latest book is a mystery novel, Beyond the Shadows. DeAnn lives in Texas with her husband, Greg, and son, Spencer. If she’s not working on her computer and writing, you can find her in Colorado enjoying the great beauty and outdoors. Check out her website at & Facebook: DeAnn Daley Holcomb

One of your main characters is a news reporter, and you have a background in journalism. How did your career inform the writing of Claire McKenzie and Beyond the Shadows?

As a television news reporter, I covered and reported daily on two capital murder trials here in Texas. Both of the men were convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. After their convictions as they were being escorted out of the courtroom, my photographer and I approached them and asked for their reaction to being sentenced to death. Both men told me they were innocent. I knew they were lying; you can feel the evil and when I walked away, I knew I would never forget the feeling of fear that I had.

As a news reporter covering and reporting on a story, you remove yourself from who you are, do the interviews, gather the information, write, and report and then when it is finished you return to yourself. That is one way to survive.

Beyond the Shadows is your first foray into the mystery genre, although you’ve written a novel previously. What would you say is your favorite genre to write?

Mystery fiction and all genres are the greatest and most thrilling to write! Your imagination can take off as you develop the story and the characters. Creating and writing is the greatest for me and the love of telling a story that everyone enjoys reading is the best.

What about your favorite genre to read?

For years I have been reading mystery fiction and suspense. Talented writers can keep you on your toes, wondering what is going to happen next with the characters and an important key is writing so your readers can feel and relate to your characters.

In Beyond the Shadows, which character was most challenging to create? Why?

No doubt, the killer. I had to think back to the testimony and news coverage of not only those capital murder trials I reported on but doing intense investigation of nationwide situations involving murderers along with the intense police work conducted to find the suspected killer and to get a conviction, saving the public from fear and crime.

What is one thing you’ve learned from news reporting that you’ve carried into your fiction writing?

Most journalists and writers become avid readers at an early age and fiction was a strong encounter for me at an early age. Becoming a journalist, you write and report only the facts of a story to your audience as a storyteller. The discipline you do next becoming a writing author is you take your storytelling career into your work and as a fiction writer you grow, develop, enhance, and connect to your readers through your characters and plot. On my new journey, becoming an author, I knew creating, growing, and enhancing my characters and the plot of my novel was key so my readers could feel and connect with my characters and story.

How did publishing your first book, Family Secrets, change your process of writing your second book, Beyond the Shadows?

My first novel, Family Secrets, was women’s fiction while my latest novel, Beyond the Shadows, is mystery fiction, so both have different genres, characters, plots, and endings. While publishing each book was the same process writing each book was completely different in the ways you are creating and developing different storylines, plots, the beginning of your story and working, developing, and creating your characters throughout, and writing towards your ending.

In February 1996, my husband’s company transferred him to Dallas and our family moved to Plano. I landed a job working as a staff reporter for two local newspapers and freelance writing stories for three Dallas magazines. Once we had settled in, I knew it was time to follow my dream to write my first fiction novel. Although I first started my latest fiction novel, Beyond the Shadows, I set it aside and began the outline for Family Secrets, my first published novel.

Writing fiction makes your imagination take off. At the heart of Family Secrets is the journey of three generations of women as they explore their hopes, fears, and dreams. It is what we experience in all our lives — we have our ups and downs, but you can never give up; you must conquer and reach your goals. During the writing process, my laptop went everywhere with me. Then, it happened, what changed my life forever.

Less than a year after starting the rough draft of Family Secrets I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in my life. Going through medical surgeries and chemotherapy treatments slowed me down. It was difficult, but I never stopped writing.

My husband and I signed the publication agreement for Family Secrets on our wedding anniversary day, and now twelve years later my latest novel, Beyond the Shadows, launched on our wedding anniversary this year, 2023.

In Beyond the Shadows, the talented Dallas television news reporter Claire McKenzie hits the airwaves, warning the public about the killer tagged the ‘Smiley Face Murderer’ and reporting the latest information on the investigation. While Dallas Homicide Detective Lance Harris searches for the killer of eight women, Claire, his former girlfriend, becomes entangled in the investigation when Harris discovers Claire knows the killer personally. In a race to find the killer, will Lance be able to save Claire? Find out if Claire becomes the serial killer’s next victim.

I am so thrilled about my latest book launch, Beyond the Shadows, and I want everyone to enjoy the read.


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