We’re excited to have here today, Lark Chadwick, from author John DeDakis’ new thriller, Bullet in the Chamber. Lark is a 28-year-old journalist living in Washington, D.C.
It’s a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!
Thank you so much for this interview, Lark. Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?
Nope. I think John “gets” me.
Do you feel John did a good job colorizing your personality? If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?
Hmmmm. To me, “colorizing” implies airbrushing. I’m a just-the-facts-ma’am journalist, so I prefer authenticity – an honest portrayal, warts and all. I expect the truth (but rarely get it) from the people I interview, so it’s only fair that I should be willing to have the reader know me from the inside out.
If, on the other hand, colorizing means showing one’s true colors, then I think John nailed it. He shows my red-hot anger, he shows me when I’m green with envy, and Lord knows, I get the blues a lot. But if there’s anything I’m not, it’s yellow (but I feel like it sometimes).
What do you believe is your strongest trait?
I think, at my core, I’m a strong person. That comes from being orphaned when I was an infant. My parents were killed in a car accident. My dad’s sister – my Aunt Annie – raised me. But she, rest her soul, was a bit of a nut case. Very unstable. So I had to dig deep inside myself to find my own sound foundation.
I think I’m also courageous. I know that might sound like bragging, but there’s plenty of inner terror that goes along with it. Circumstances have forced me to move forward in spite of my fears — which are legion. I define courage as fear in action. If I’d allowed fear to paralyze me, I’d be dead by now.
That’s easy: I’m impulsive. And I have a short fuse. My bullshit meter is well calibrated, but sometimes I jump to conclusions. That usually complicates my life (but makes for a good read, I guess).
If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?
Well, when John first created me, he had Lynda Carter in mind, the buxom brunette who plays Wonder Woman on TV.
Nowadays, there are some younger actresses who might fill the bill, people like singer-actress Selena Gomez; Ron Howard’s daughter Bryce Dallas Howard; Rashida Jones (“Parks and Recreation”); Ariel Winter (“Modern Family”); Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”); and Krysten Ritter (“Breaking Bad”).
Others I have my eye on are two of John’s friends: Beth Keener Dent, a young actress in Atlanta; and Jenna Bourne, a television reporter at WJAX, the CBS affiliate in Jacksonville, Florida. John and Jenna are actually collaborating on a pilot for a TV series featuring, um, me.
Do you have a love interest in Bullet in the Chamber?
Oh yeah! He’s Doug Mitchell.
I met Doug in John’s previous novel, “Troubled Water.” Doug and I worked together at a daily newspaper in Georgia. He was my photographer when I had to interview the parents of a young girl who’d been murdered. (I actually discovered the body, but that’s another story.)
Doug and I didn’t hit it off right away. He’s a hunk, but he’s also a player, so I have mixed feelings about him. We both ended up getting jobs covering the White House for the Associated Press.
When “Bullet in the Chamber” begins, Doug’s been radio silent on me for 48-hours, sixteen minutes, and thirty seconds (not that I was keeping track, or anything), then he shows up all jovial on my first day on the beat. I’m pissed. But, when the White House is attacked and the president is missing, all that personal relationship stuff gets put on hold.
There’s a lot I could say about Doug. A LOT. [Here Lark’s voice cracks and she chokes back tears]. But I don’t want to say anything more right now other than to say it’s complicated.
At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?
[Laughs] – Before John even began writing it. No. Seriously. And that nervousness stayed with me all the way through to the last paragraph.
DeDakis had the damndest time trying to figure it all out. And if he was vexed, just think of what a burden it was for me? Usually, John’s a meticulous planner. He always seems to know where he’s going with the story. But “Bullet” was different. About half way through the book, when he’d begin a chapter, he had no idea how it would end. It was all up to me. Geez. Talk about pressure!
If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?
That would have to be Rochelle Grigsby. She’s the deputy bureau chief at the A.P. – my immediate supervisor. And nemesis. I swear — it feels like she’s made it her personal mission in life to set me up to fail. It would turn my insides into a pretzel if I had to be like her. We are polar opposites.
How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?
By the end of the book, I was pretty emotionally and physically spent, but I think I come away from the ordeal as a stronger person. And definitely more introspective. This is the fourth time John DeDakis and I have worked together, but this time, he shook me to my core.
What words of wisdom would you give your author if he decided to write another book with you in it?
I reaaaally like working with John. I’m probably him if he’d been a woman. He’s already got another book in mind with me as his protagonist. If I could tell him anything, it would be to plead with him, “Dude! No more drama!” But, just as he knows me so well, I know that my plea will fall on deaf ears. He just loves to throw stuff at me to see how I’ll react. Hmmmmm. Maybe I could write a book in which I make my author’s life a living hell. Yeah. I like that.
Thank you for this interview, Lark Chadwick. Will we be seeing more of you in the future?
I certainly hope so. And maybe you’ll hear me, too, on the audio book version.
John DeDakis, a former editor on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” is a writing coach and novelist living in Baltimore. His fourth, and most recent, novel in the Lark Chadwick mystery-suspense series is “Bullet in the Chamber.”www.johndedakis.com