Nancy Pickard

The Marie Lightfoot Series

Nancy Pickard
  1. “If you read for pleasure, there’s probably more pleasure per inch in Pickard’s work than almost any other current crime novelist.”
    Cleveland Plain Dealer
  2. “Pickard has evolved into a novelist of substantial literary power.”
    The Denver Post
Whole Truth

The Whole Truth

Ring of Truth

Ring of Truth

Truth Hurts

The Truth Hurts

Let’s talk about where I got my ideas for this series. . .

(No spoilers below.)

Or, in other words, what’s a nice girl like me doing writing a series like this? Not that it’s as hard-boiled as the cover copy on the first one makes it sound, because it isn’t, but rather that it does touch on some pretty “difficult” subject matter, especially in the first book, The Whole Truth.

As you probably know if you’re reading this, this trilogy that’s known as The Truth Books, stars a heroine who is a true-crime author. Think, Ann Rule, the true-crime author who became famous because she not only wrote about the serial killer, Ted Bundy, but actually knew him.

My idea for this series grew out of several things.

First of all, I do have a degree in journalism and a bit of experience in it. So there must have been in me some kind of desire to report true things, as opposed to solely fictional ones. This series allowed me both of those worlds–I got to write novels about a woman who is writing about “true” events. If you have read any of these books you know that in each of them I alternate between writing sections in the first person, as Marie Lightfoot narrates her current events, with sections from the book she is writing about the crime she in which she is involved. Did you follow that? It’s labyrinthine! As you can imagine, it was both extremely challenging and rewarding to do.

But there are other reasons why I devised this series.

A few years prior to having the idea for it, I was on a committee that selected the Best True Crime Book of the year for the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards. I joined the committee for a couple of reasons: one, I was repelled by stories of true crime and I wanted to get over that, because I wanted to do a better job in my books of dealing with the bad guys; and, two, I thought books like that would give me a deeper understanding of why murderers do what they do.

What I discovered after reading dozens of them, however, was that while they were easy to read (and I wasn’t repelled by them, after all), they weren’t very illuminating as to motives. As I thought about why that might be, I realized that the authors were limited by the very nature of what they were trying to do! They were writing true crime books, but they couldn’t often tell the whole truth. For one thing, convicted killers were never going to tell them the truth, not if the killers harbored any hope of being set free one day, and most killers are hardly the introspective type, anyway. What they really know or admit about themselves you could probably fit in a thimble. Plus, their families are hardly going to be spouting founts of truth, either, not if any childhood abuse or other incriminating behavior was involved. So that leaves the poor author of such books to try to stitch motives together from all the things that aren’t said, or maybe can’t be said in print for fear of being sued.

Or, at least, that is how it appeared to me.

So I decided I’d like to write some novels in which the reader can get to the raw truth about killers, because you get to read the books being written about them, and you get to ride along behind the scenes to find out what’s really going on and really being said. And so that’s how the Truth series was born.

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