Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Character Interview, THE REPORTER'S STORY, by Joyce T. Strand

Joyce T. Strand, Author
I am very excited to introduce THE REPORTER’S STORY, my second mystery set in the past, which will be released June 16 with pre-ordering available now.

My protagonist, Emma Matheson, is a reporter in 1912 for the San Francisco Gazette, a fictional newspaper. I based her character on an actual reporter from this time period, Marjorie C. Driscoll, who originally worked for William Randolph Hearst and then in 1921 joined the San Francisco Chronicle, a competitive newspaper to Mr. Hearst. She eventually moved south to the Los Angeles Times where she became a respected front-page contributor.

A graduate of Stanford University in 1913, Driscoll wrote an article in The Stanford Illustrated Review in 1920, titled “In the Newspaper Field” that describes the features of a successful reporter, including the mantra “know a little of everything.” My character, Emma Matheson, follows Driscoll’s values and approach in her quest to become a world-known front-page reporter (Driscoll’s article is available on-line at: http://bit.ly/1Rw0VCv p. 194).

Following is an interview with the character reporter,  Emma Matheson.

Q:  Tell us something about yourself.

Emma Matheson: I am a reporter for the San Francisco Gazette in 1912. I was hired to cover women’s issues, but I plan to become a respected and well-known front-page reporter of hard news. My mother died when I was born, and I was reared by my father. He owns a newspaper in Sacramento and taught me all about reporting and writing the news. When I told him that I planned to make it my career, he concurred but requested that I go to college first. I enjoyed my studies at the University of California in Berkeley, but I’m excited now to be doing what I love to do: reporting the news.

Q: How do you write your stories? 

Typewriter similar to what Emma
would have used in 1912
Emma Matheson: My father gave me a typewriter when I went to Berkeley. Until then I used one at his newspaper office. I'm a very fast typist. And I'm told that I'm an excellent writer. 

Q:  You said you are covering women’s topics. What are they?

Emma Matheson:  Well, I must say that I hope to branch out from women’s topics. That’s just a starting point. I do sometimes resent covering city improvement clubs, how to get a husband, and what dress to wear to attract a man. I admit that it’s difficult to branch out to more substantive issues, which are typically reserved for men. But I'm determined.

Q:  How do you plan to branch out?

Emma Matheson: I intend to get my stories on the front page by investigating and reporting critical stories that my male counterparts have overlooked. I plan to pursue leads that they wouldn’t even think of and write the story that will make a difference.

Q: And what kind of story might that be?

Emma Matheson:  I’m intrigued about a house burglary that the victim denied even occurred. I plan to pursue it. I know there’s something there. Not even an affluent businessman can afford to write off the recovery of $8,000 worth of jewelry. Why, that’s 16 years of my salary!

Q:  How do you do your job as a reporter? Are you able to interview people?

Photo of 1915 San Francisco
cable car from 
Emma Matheson: Oh, yes. I frequently interview folks. I’m able to get around the City on the new
electric streetcars and my preferred cable cars, which they still need to get up the hills here in San Francisco. And I can cross the Bay to Oakland and Berkeley by ferry. Why I even interviewed the mayor at one of the improvement club meetings.

Also, with the growth of telephones, I can sometimes do interviews on the phone, although I prefer in person.

Q: What about your personal life? Do you have a boy friend or fiancé?

Candlestick phone
similar to what Emma
would have used
Emma Matheson: No, that’s just not possible. I can’t have a career as a reporter as well as a husband and family. That’s how many female reporters got a bad reputation. Their duties to their family interfered with their reporting duties and pulled them away. They’d miss deadlines and disappoint their editors. That’s not for me.

Q:  What do you like to do for fun, when you’re not reporting?

Emma Matheson: Oh, I enjoy the theater, particularly Gilbert and Sullivan. I also read constantly—of course, that’s somewhat career oriented as it’s important to be well-read in order to enable me to have context for my stories by understanding their significance. 

Q:  Do you have a hero?

Emma Matheson: I think that Nellie Bly must have been so brave to get herself committed to an insane asylum in order to get a story. She is responsible for helping to improve asylums.  Oh, and my father. He will always be my most favorite hero.

A house burglary in 1912 San Francisco that the victim denies happening piques Emma Matheson’s reporter instincts. Why would a businessman deny that recovered loot was his and forego collecting his $8,000 worth of stolen jewelry? Why did he fire his maid and butler who originally reported the theft? The more she pursues the burglary that wasn’t a burglary, the more she sees it as a major story, involving murder, intrigue, and smuggling. Can she solve it and write the story that could project her to become the world-famous reporter she so covets? Or will she become one of its victims?

About Joyce T. Strand

Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it contemporary and historical mysteries set in California. All of her published seven novels are inspired by actual events and/or real people, although they are definitely fictionalized.

Her first three contemporary mysteries feature protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, a public relations executive who encounters murder and mayhem at her Silicon Valley company. Jillian’s boss, Brynn Bancroft, solves the next two mysteries when she leaves her position as Chief Financial Officer to run a winery in Sonoma, north of San Francisco.

In Strand’s first historical mystery, a Superior Court Judge strives to discover the truth behind the mystery of a robbery-murder in a small California town in 1939. In her newest mystery, THE REPORTER’S STORY, a house burglary in 1912 San Francisco piques a young reporter’s instincts that leads to intrigue and murder.

Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California's Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. Strand lives with her collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and enjoys exploring and writing about the growing wine region in the Ramona Valley near San Diego.

Purchase Links

Available for pre-order:
Amazon -- paperback and Kindle
Unicorn Books and Gifts - signed paperback 

Other books available in e-book and book format at:
Unicorn Books and Gifts - signed paperbacks

For Nook at:

Author Links

Twitter:  @joycetstrand

1 comment:

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