True Crime

Today I have a guest. Fellow writer Gina Fava had this wonderful idea of a blog exchange. Yesterday she hosted me at her blog, and today she's sharing some thoughts with us about True Crime:

True Crime

Two great things happened this weekend that coincided perfectly to produce this post:
  1. My author colleague and friend, J.H. Bográn, asked me to guest post this week on his blog, and
  2. I'm fresh off attending the 2012 New England Crime Bake.
How do these two events mesh?
When I first met J.H. Bográn a couple years ago (we'd both attended Thrillerfest V), I learned that he is the son of a journalist.  But where his mother would have the opportunity to write about true crime at every turn, the readers of J.H. Bográn's superb short stories and novels will tell you that he prefers to stick to fiction.
After attending a panel at the New England Crime Bake this past weekend entitled,  "Truth is Stranger than Fiction:  Writing True Crime," it got me to thinking as a writer, why not consider the true crime genre? 
How about these gems: 
  • The Monster of Florence, by novelist Douglas Preston and journalist Mario Spezi, about a real-life serial killer who murdered couples in the Tuscan countryside,
  • Lie After Lie, by news reporter and criminal defense investigator Lara Bricker, about a woman whose husband fatally poisons her over time by slipping antifreeze into her Gatorade,
  • Finding Amy, by novelist and true crime writer, Kate Flora, a 2007 Edgar nominee,
  • Betrayal:  Whitey Bulger and the FBI Agent Who Fought to Bring Him Down, by Robert Fitzpatrick (the FBI agent) with Jon Land.  (Learn more about Boston mobster Whitey Bulger and his girlfriend at
While many true crime books are based on murder cases, others delve into abductions, robberies, arsons, and political scandal.  Many stories spring from recent headlines.  Some are based on years of research into a historical case.  Aside from the intrigue that drips from the pages, lessons in FBI criminal profiling, national security, and child welfare also may be gleaned from the facts. 
The genre is factual, and legal fact-checking is a priority, so self-publishing in this realm may prove disastrous for anyone inclined to do so, as the integrity of real life victims as well as the rights of those who've committed the crimes are in play.  It's recommended to seek a traditional publisher in this vein of writing.
If you have a background in journalism, law, or criminal justice, true crime stories may be already be part of your genetic code.  I'm not sure if I have J.H. Bográn convinced to write them, but I'm certain that he's already a fan.  Either way, I'm grateful to my friend and colleague for letting me visit today, and it's been great connecting with all of his readers.  Be sure to stop by Gina Fava's Blog anytime to say hello.  Have you tried your hand at true crime writing?  Are there movies or books based in true crime that you'd like to share?

About Gina Fava:

Born in Buffalo, NY, and living in New England, Gina Fava has written award-winning short stories, and is working to publish two suspense thrillers based in Rome, Italy.  An active member of MWA, ITW, and SinC, she's also a Formula One fan and an avid blogger, and she loves to research first-hand the Italian reds that her characters imbibe. Learn more at

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