Interview with Riley McKissack, Author of Deadly Autumn Winds

14 Jan 2020

Riley McKissack is an award-winning journalist. Cornered gunmen, cop killers, a bomb going off in a domestic terrorism incident – Riley’s covered them all. Riley spent years chasing stories involving every type of bad guy and cop imaginable, including FBI, Homeland Security, homicide detectives and arson investigators.

Riley sponged up the drama, tension and danger on SWAT operations, hostage negotiations, drug busts and countless other dangerous situations.

That passion and drama spills out onto the pages of Riley’s novels, along with the personal stories behind the men and women who stand between danger and the people they love.

Riley has spent a lot of time in small Georgia towns and communities, including mountain communities, and enjoys writing about them.

About Deadly Autumn Winds

Deadly Autumn Winds blow through the mountain community of Hawk’s Peak. Have they returned for Maddie? Is someone targeting those close to her? Is she next?

Women are going missing in the North Georgia Mountain community of Hawk’s Peak. Dispatch operator Maddie Quinn receives the desperate calls for help. The pattern is similar to killings that took place in other places she’s lived. Is the killer purposefully targeting those close to her? Is she the ultimate target?

Detective Sam Morris is determined to help her find the killer before he can kill again.

I worked in news, surrounded by cops, firefighters and even 911 operators. I’ve visited many dispatch centers. The idea of a call coming into a 911 center has long intrigued me with story ideas. Deadly Autumn Winds is the product of that mulling. In small communities, the chance that you will know the caller is high. But, to have a desperate friend calling is a very emotional scenario. In a 911 center, the operators are flying somewhat blind. Mostly, they operate on what they hear through the phone, with the additional input of phone locators or video cameras. In this instance, there is no video or cameras to add information.

I’ve always been a big reader, since childhood. I wrote little stories as a child. My favorite to write were mysterious, spooky stories. One day, I just got the idea to start writing as an adult.

I like to read suspense novels and so, it was natural to start writing that genre. My life experience provided lots of material about cop stories. I love going back after the first draft and layering in atmosphere and emotion. I usually start out and keep writing until the first draft is finished, then going back and making it more enjoyable for the reader.

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Riley McKissack is the author of the new book Deadly Autumn Winds.

Connect with Riley
Author Website

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