Interview with Lynn Walker, Author of Breaking Midnight

22 Mar 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Breaking Midnight: A True Story?

Long ago, I gave up hoping my estranged father would ever be a dad to me again, but I never stopped being fascinated with his life. How did a successful Miami undercover narcotics agent end up in prison for smuggling 12,000 pounds of marijuana? When I finally believed he was no longer a danger to me, I asked him to tell me about his life. He agreed, and I began interviewing him. While my quest was to piece together who my father was, what I found entangled in his story was my own. What poured onto the pages first was my book, Midnight Calling: A Memoir of a Drug Smuggler’s Daughter. Next, I wrote Breaking Midnight: A True Story, an uncensored, up-close-and-personal account of how a good cop goes bad.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Breaking Midnight: A True Story, what would they be?

“When I’m Gone” by Luisa Gerstein. It captures my father so perfectly, I quoted the lyrics in the epigraph of Breaking Midnight.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love to get lost in a rich historical or literary fiction novel. I do read memoir, but that’s more like continuing education (rather than a little escape), as I write memoir so am always reading it with an eye towards the structure and craft of the writing.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

Solito, The Marriage Portrait, The Girl With the Louding Voice, and Demon Copperhead.

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

The scene in which my father was arrested was fascinating. It’s such a pivotal moment in his life, from having arrested people for years, to being arrested himself. In addition to great details from interviews with my dad, I had information from the court records. Also, I contacted and interviewed the arresting police officer, who said my dad was a great guy (of course!) and that they had a real nice chat sitting in the police cruiser.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

I literally write one hour at a time. I avoid distractions (including internet) by doing nothing but writing for the length of time it takes me to drink two cups of coffee. Then, I reward myself (check emails, play with cats, eat chocolate, etc.). Next, I make a pot of tea and put my butt back in the chair for more writing until the tea is gone. Reward (lunch, did I mention chocolate?), repeat. Acceptable interruptions: my two teenagers, two dogs, two cats or my husband (if he’s bringing me chocolate).

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

There is profound wisdom in Mary Oliver’s poems. From In Blackwater Woods, I love this: “To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” And from her poem, The Summer Day: “Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon? Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

We’re all broken in some way, but getting okay again is always possible. And life can turn on a dime, so no matter what you’re struggling with—never give up!


Lynn Walker is the author of the new book Breaking Midnight: A True Story

Connect with Lynn Walker

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