Mysterious PeopleSaturday, May 30, 2009
A Conversation with Miranda Phillips Walker

An ER nurse and wife of novelist Robert W. Walker, Miranda Phillips Walker has a soon-to-be-released novel of her own, The Well Meaning Killer.

Miranda, what made you decide to write The Well Meaning Killer?

From an early age, I have always liked to write stories, poetry, and write songs. I wrote them on everything, post it notes, notebook paper, napkins, and of course in notebooks. When I was young, I hated the typewriter, never could type too far without it looking like the page had been shot with the white tell-tell blotches of whiteout. In 2002, I bought my first computer, and after some tinkering around, I realized I could finally bring my stories to life via the word processor. The Well Meaning Killer, comes from an old manuscript I started back in my early twenties and from information I have run across in my nursing travels and while working in the state government.

Tell us about your debut novel.

FBI Agent Megan McKenna is handpicked for this assignment by her boss, Xavier Hollister. McKenna is eager to prove herself on this case, because it is so similar to the last case she worked that hit her hard. Megan is a professional, and although humorous at times, she doesn’t let people close to her. McKenna’s best friend is Max, a retired decorated police dog. Phil Jenkins is just a good guy, he’s polite, and a darn good cop. You see this when Jenkins hears rumors of McKenna’s meltdown with the DC case. Phil waits to judge Agent McKenna herself, not some hearsay. Together McKenna and Jenkins search Baltimore with the clock ticking before the serial killer plays his next card. You can actually see these two getting closer and Jenkins more protective over Megan as the pages turn.

How can a killer be well meaning?

The killer is definitely not well meaning. The title is a play on words. As you read you learn the importance of the ugly wells to the killer. The Wells are the killer’s dumping grounds, his trophy ground so to speak. You get the idea early on, this guy is more than a little sick.

I’ve read that nurses account for the majority of serial killings committed by women. What in your studies of psychology would explain it?

I believe medical professionals, in general have the knowledge, opportunity, and easy access to drug and equipment, but from what I’ve read most of these professional don’t believe they are killers, but angels of mercy. Medical professionals form close bonds with their patients and hate to see them suffer, so some might succumb to the patient’s request to die, be it mercy of a favor to a friend. That being said female serial killers are divided into nine categories: black widows, angels of death, sexual predators, revenge killers, profit killers, team killers. Nurses are considered the most prolific serial killers among women, they have abundant opportunity and medical expertise to murder undetected. Deaths occur every day in the hospital, with no one the wiser. They also murder over a periods of years, sometimes up to thirty years with eight to fourteen killings a year. Women serial killers can kill under the wire for years because society looks at them as caregivers and nurturers.

Please briefly explain the aberrant behavior of the agencies that abuse the foster care system.

By aberrant behavior, I mean deviant behavior. There are many state foster care agencies that do well, but there are many that just don’t make the cut. Remember in Florida in 2002 when the State foster agency had lost hundreds of children with eighty-eight still at large? Abuses in the system continue to be on the rise today, what with budget cuts and dwindling social workers and staff. There are reports of children not only missing and abused in foster agencies, but many are placed in homes where known dangers lurk. This is a sad fact that The Well Meaning Killer, in one story thread, explores.

Is The Well Meaning Killer, due out June 1, the first of a series?

Yes, The Well Meaning Killer is the first novel in the series, introducing FBI Agent Megan McKenna and Max.

I am currently working on the second book in the Megan McKenna Mystery series set in Kill Devil Hills—a fitting place for murder and mayhem, although Megan had gone there for a vacation and much needed rest and relaxation.

Does your husband, novelist Robert W. Walker, serve as your editor and sounding board?

No, but Rob makes a mean Ruben sandwich. Just kidding, of course, he’s a big help after all, he has published over forty plus novels, has a master’s in English, teaches writing, presides over his own editing business, and he’s been around the block a few times in the publishing world. Our kids get a kick that most of the time we write in the same room at separate but adjoining desks. I began reading Rob’s books the moment I met him and I love his characters and plots. So of course, I use him as a sounding board, but if you’ve read his novels, you’ll see I have a very different style. Rob is great fun to be around; he cracks me up with his dry humor.

How does an ER nurse and mother of four children find time to write?

If you really want to do something you love, you make the time. I write in the morning before getting the kids up, on the porch while making sure the boys don’t kill each other on their skateboards and bikes, while I watch TV, and late at night till the characters’ voices in my head shut up! You get the idea.

How important is humor in a suspense novel?

I believe humor is as important in a suspense novel as it is in life. Humor is what helps us through difficult times and keeps us from “losing it”; even when faced with danger, you have to find just a smidge of humor in the fact that you’re caught in it. I believe every kind of book should have some element of romance, mystery, suspense, thrills wrapped up within it. After all doesn’t life have it all?

Thank you for taking part in the series.

Miranda's web and blog sites:
Posted by Jean Henry Mead at 8:30 PM 2 comments
Labels: ER nurse, Miranda Phillips Walker, mystery novelist, The Well Meaning Killer
Friday, May 29, 2009
How We Manage to Write Together

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