DEADLINE: Book Signing Brings Anchor to Dino’s
By, Crystal A. Proxmire
Anchorwoman turned author Paula Tutman made her own news last week with the release of her second novel “Deadline!! Second Block” which she debuted with a book signing party at Dino’s Lounge in Ferndale. This is the second in a series of “Deadline” books which explore the fictional world of PS Garrett, a reporter who has attracted the attention of a serial killer. Inspired by real events, the novels give a unique glimpse into the behind-the-scenes world of television journalism. The veteran WDIV TV4 anchorwoman sold over 100 books and spoke to fans at the event.
“The coolest thing about the book was all the inside info for how they come up with the news casts,” said Paula Brown of Plymouth who came out to get a copy of Deadline!! Second Block. “I found the inside news stuff almost as interesting as the story itself.”
After the signing she stepped even further from her reporter role, and got to be interviewed herself.
1. How many copies has the first book sold?
I'm not completely sure. My publisher mentioned last August that I was within striking distance of 10-thousand. He thought I'd hit that mark by last September. I've been so focused on the new book I haven't inquired. But I sure would like to see both books hit a lovely tipping point this year.
2. The cover says it is loosely based on a true story, what was the inspirational experience?
I was a younger police reporter working in Baltimore, Maryland. I covered the murder of two teenagers who were shot for no good reason at a gas station. It wasn't even a robbery. The money was still in the register. I remembered standing on the cold asphalt in the parking lot waiting to go live and thinking that I had encountered a new brand of evil. The night stuck to my skin and my soul. Months later I was at the arraignment of the culprit. I was sitting in the front row of the courtroom. The suspect turned around and our eyes locked. He spoke to me and called me by name. I was shocked! He developed an obsession with me--sending me letters and notes at his eventual trial. When I started building the killer in my book I went back to those letters I had stored away. I'd even kept my reporter's notes for some reason, not realizing that one day I'd use them to build a character in the book. I had even saved my pre-trial reports and mental assessments. It was a chilling experience to breathe this evil again, but it really guided me in getting into the head of a serial killer and building a character who is both tragic and sympathetic. I rarely tell anyone who the killer is based on. I know those kids he killed still have family in the Baltimore area. And even though the book is fiction, and I write from my own experiences and imagination, I haven't decided if I'll ever reveal him officially. I do know that people in Maryland who read the book will recognize him in the very first chapter of Book One.
3. Why did you decide to have the event at Dinos? Do you have any Ferndale ties?
Actually it was the idea of a pal of mine. Michelle Bennett does the social media and marketing for Dean Bach and Dino's. She was telling me that the lounge had been the scene of an actual murder many years ago and having a launch party would be a good fit. I'd been to Dino's several times and really liked it. The food, the service, the atmosphere. It's an intimate spot, but feels really big. I loved the idea. Dino's did everything. The decorations, the planning, everything. I just showed up with my purple pen to sign books.
4. How many books did you sell that night?
We sold out of books. We sold more than 100 books. We even employed some of the galley copies. It's actually pretty cool because my publisher sent me about fifty copies of the pre-published books that still have the spelling errors and typos and formatting issues. There are only 950 in existence, so if the book is a best seller they will become collector's items.
5. What is the scariest situation that you have been in as a reporter?
Geez, do you have a week? Well, I've had a stalker in every city I've ever lived in. One guy fell in love with me because he found out my favorite color is purple. I guess that made him think we were soul mates, or something. When I wouldn't answer his marriage proposals, I guess he told some guy he was going to exterminate me. That's when the cops paid a visit to my news director's office. I was called in one day thinking I was in trouble for something and instead was told some lunatic had dropped a dime on me. I think that might be the scariest, but this job has plenty of moments that are frightening.
6. Any advice for other writers or reporters out there?
Yup, learn to speak well. Take a serious acting class. And develop a good solid curiosity base. Be interested in everything around you. Be naturally nosy and enjoy information for the sake of information. Why the acting class? I studied theatre in college and I learned a great deal of discipline. I learned how to read fast, remember lots and process information quickly. I also learned, 'the show must go on'. That was very valuable because as a field reporter so much is going around you, at all times, you have to be able to function, no matter what's going on behind you.
7. Anything else you think we should include in the article?
Nope. Good questions. Thanks for asking. Feel free to include my website, www.deadlinethebook.com. I have a book-on-tape excerpt and some audio notes on writing the series. The first book is called, DEADLINE!, Book One. The book launch party on Thursday was for the sequel, DEADLINE!!, Second Block. You don't have to read the first book to catch up, but the second book will make you want to read the first to see what you missed.