Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our spotlight on author and investigative journalist Maureen Boyle! Maureen, an award winning journalist, has been a crime reporter in New England for more than 25 years, including at the Standard-Times of New Bedford during one of the grisliest serial murder cases in the country. She holds an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Bridgeport in Bridgeport, Conn. and a master’s degree in criminal justice from Anna Maria College in Paxton, Mass. She is now director of the Journalism Program at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts.
Maureen will be at the store on Saturday, January 6, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM, talking about her book, Shallow Graves, that tells the story of the New Bedford serial murders. Drawing on more than one hundred interviews, along with police reports, first-person accounts, and field reporting both during the killings and more recently, Shallow Graves brings the reader behind the scenes of the investigation, onto the streets of the city, and into the homes of the families still hoping for answers.
(Gift-giving note: Do YOU have someone who is fascinated by true crime, local history, and/or serial killers? This would make a great book for them–or reserve them a spot and signed book at the event!)
Thank you very much for joining us, Maureen! For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Shallow Graves: The Hunt for the New Bedford Highway Serial Killer?
For years, I was a crime reporter for newspapers – covering murders, crashes, bank robberies, shootings, you name it. I’ve always been fascinated with what happens behind the scenes with police and what makes someone commit a crime – particularly a murder. Putting a human face to a story has always been important to me.
With Shallow Graves: The Hunt for the New Bedford Highway Serial Killer, I wanted readers to see the work investigators put into the case day in and out as well as their frustrations. I also wanted readers to see what the families went through and to view the victims
What is your favorite part of being a writer? Of the whole writing and publishing process? What do you think has been your greatest lesson in the journey thus far?
I love interviewing people and learning
It’s been said before: I love it when I’m done with a project. The writing and publishing process is hard work
What piece of advice would you want to share with other writers?
Write and read and don’t make excuses. I write fairly quickly after completing research. That’s an offshoot of years of newspaper reporting where there is no time to have “writer’s block.” Writing is work – hard work – and you have to sit yourself down in the chair and just do it.
What does your writing space look like? What do you need to have around you while writing or editing?
It is controlled madness. I know where things are but anyone who dares to peer into my writing lair would be horrified. There are stacks of notebooks, research records, drafts, scraps of paper, pens and photos. I’ve always written and reported this way. My desk, wherever I go, is always beyond messy. At one newspaper, I was ordered to clean up my desk or risk being fired. The memo was included in my “permanent record.”
While you’re writing, do you prefer music, silence, other? Please elaborate!
It really doesn’t matter to me. Since I worked so many years in newsrooms, I’m pretty good at tuning out noise.
What do you consider the most challenging part of the writing process? And how do you overcome that?
Starting is always tough. So is the editing process. I have a difficult time going over my own work.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned, thus far, in your writing career?
You never know what will turn out to be a great story and you never know who you will meet who will help you find that great story. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the years who have shared details of their lives. Very often, it is the person you least expect, the everyday person, who has the best story.
How can we follow your work, share your awesomeness, or otherwise stalk you in a totally non-creepy way?
I’m very active on Twitter (@MaureenBoyle1) ,on both my author and book Facebook pages as well as my blog, maureenboylewriter.wordpress.com.
Thank you, again, Maureen for the great interview, and we look forward to hosting you at our store on Saturday, January 6, from 1:00 – 3:00 PM to talk about Shallow Graves and your investigations!