Laurie Fagen is a long-time “writer by habit,” who has written for commercial and cable television, commercial radio, corporate video, magazines, newspapers and is now delving into the world of crime fiction.
While she was getting her bachelor’s degree in radio and television at Arizona State University, she worked for KTAR Newsradio in Phoenix, providing live traffic reports from a single-engine aircraft above the city. After graduation, she worked as an assistant producer with Preston Westmoreland, booking guests for his talk show, while continuing to report on Valley traffic.
Television called, and Fagen returned to her home state of Iowa to work as a reporter/photographer for KWWL-TV, an NBC affiliate in Waterloo. She initially covered the state capital, then later landed the crime beat, covering the Waterloo Police Department, Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Department and Courts. She was also an anchor and editor in addition to her reporting and videographer duties.
Remembering why she left Iowa in the first place, Fagen returned to the Valley of the Sun to work for the City of Phoenix Public Information Office. Finding a video camera in another department, she lead the city’s efforts in creating internal employee training and other video programs, and later founded The Phoenix Channel, the City’s government access cable television station. She created, wrote, produced and anchored a number of the shows that still exist today, discovering that there is life after television news.
Fagen started her first business, Word Painting, as a writer, producer and director for corporate video, which led to a 13-year career providing marketing, sales, training, informational and other types of video programming for businesses. She also wrote magazine articles, a Fiesta Bowl parade script, murder mystery plays, two documentaries and other projects that included for KAET-TV, KPNX-TV, Phoenix Suns, Educational Management Group, Randy Murray Productions, and more. She was an adjunct professor at Scottsdale Community College, teaching a corporate video class.
She started her second business, Fagen Designs, as a fiber and jewelry artist, just before she and her late husband, Geoffrey Hancock, purchased a community newspaper in Southern Chandler. The couple published the Ocotillo News, which was later renamed SanTan Sun News, for 13 years. Under their ownership, the paper grew from 16-20 pages with a circulation of about 7,000 to an average of 80 pages twice a month with more than 38,000 printed.
At the same time she was overseeing the news division for the SanTan Sun News, she and a business partner operated a contemporary art gallery in downtown Chandler, AZ, called Art on Boston, for three years. The gallery also had studio spaces for artists to work in and provided art classes, until the economic downturn of 2010, but she continues to promote fine art and fine artists on her Art Online AZ Facebook page. She is also a jazz singer around the Valley as Laurie Fagen & Friends.
Fagen and Hancock continued the newspaper operation until Hancock’s death in 2013, at which point she sold the paper to a local publishing company.
Organizations she has been involved with include three chapters of Women in Communications, and she was president of the Phoenix chapter; she was co-founder of the former Arizona Film, Theatre & Television, which later merged with two other similar groups to become Arizona Production Association, of which she was the second president; Arizona Quilters Guild, where she handled publicity duties; and she was the 2014 president of Sisters in Crime Desert Sleuths chapter in Phoenix.
Fagen has short stories published in the past three Desert Sleuths’ anthologies, and is an Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine honorable mention winner.
Fagen has published Fade Out, the first in a series of crime fiction novels with a young radio reporter protagonist who covers the crime beat, helps police solve cold cases and for fun, writes and produces a mystery theatre podcast. It’s available in e-book, print and audiobook. Book #2 in the series, Dead Air, is available in e-book, print and audiobook. Equalizer, a prequel novella to Fade Out, is also now available in ebook only, as is Fagen’s latest novella, Deadly Misfire, part of a multi-author series “Tawnee Mountain Mysteries. Fagen is also working on book #3, Bleeder, and a second series, “Behind the Lens Mysteries” is under development.
Fagen is also a member of the Grand Canyon Writers, a Sisters in Crime (SinC) chapter in the Valley; and a member of the AZ Mystery Writers. In addition, she is a member of Citizens Police Academy Association of Chandler (CPAAC), having graduated from Chandler’s program in 2018; and was recently re-elected as vice-chair of the Chandler Police Review Board/Citizens’ Panel for Review of Police Complaints and Use of Force.
BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS FOR LAURIE FAGEN
The book’s story
How did you experience the book?
Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to get into it?
What major emotional response did the story evoke in you?
Did the book take you outside your comfort zone?
How did you feel about the “podcast” portion of the book?
The book’s characters
Which character – including the supporting cast – did you feel the most empathy towards?
Did you like the characters and, if not, was that important?
Were there any characters you loved to hate?
Who were you gunning for and why?
Why did the characters do what they did? Were their actions justified?
Did the characters remind you of people you know?
Did the Lisa Powers change by the end of the book? If so, how?
The book’s themes
What main themes does the novel explore?
What social issues or moral dilemmas were introduced?
What did you think the central conflict was?
The book’s structure
How did you feel about the “mystery within a mystery” with the main crime story, cold case and podcast?
Were you satisfied with the book’s ending? What do you think the future holds for Lisa, Ron and Dean?
Did the novel leave any questions open-ended that you would have liked to have known the answer to?
The book’s setting
What did you think about the book’s setting?
How did the weather play a “character” in the book?
The book’s killer lines
Did any passages strike you as insightful or profound?
Perhaps a bit of funny or poignant dialogue that encapsulates a character?