Meet mystery writer Lori Rader-Day at Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library


By Chris Bavender

Haphazard. That’s how Lori Rader-Day, an award-winning mystery writer, describes her writing process.

“I think that’s often a relief for aspiring authors to hear, that they too can be a bit of a mess and somehow get the work done,” Rader-Day said.


The Boone County native and author of four books (her fifth book is due out in early spring 2020) said she doesn’t really have set hours at the moment or any “real parameters other than trying to think about or work on the story a little bit every day.”

“I do ramp up my word count at some point, at which point I get very disciplined until it’s done,” she said. “But the discovery part of writing is what I love, and I like to take my time with that, and let the story unfold a bit.”

Aspiring writers and mystery fans have an opportunity to meet Rader-Day and learn more about the craft of writing and get their books signed at 7 p.m. May 30 at the Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library.

When it comes to advice for those who say they want to write a book, Rader-Day said she has bad news.

“To write a book, you have to … write a book,” she said. “There’s going to be some work involved. If you’re not into words or don’t want to spend most of your non-working hours on writing, or want to be happy, it’s probably best if you find a nice hobby. If writing and the self-induced difficulty of writing sounds pretty good, then I would tell you to read a lot, write a lot, find another beginning writer to share pages with and join a writers group or association to make friends and get access to things like guest authors or craft classes.”

Rader-Day is the recipient of the 2018 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original, the 2016 Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the 2015 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.

“It helps you get taken seriously within the mystery writing community, and maybe a few new readers will find me because of the awards,” she said. “But yes, it does lend a certain pressure to each book now. Awards are like the cherry on top, though. I don’t write toward awards. I just write the stories I want to tell; it’s all I can do.”

Her latest book, Under a Dark Sky, is an Edgar Award nominee.

The Edgar Award is like the Oscar of crime fiction, so it’s a big deal, and a dream come true for me to be nominated. I hope it means that I’m writing the kinds of books that resonate with readers,” Rader-Day said. “And that my peers, at least, who are the judges of the Edgars, enjoyed the book. For me it means that I got to go to a fancy New York City party with hundreds of other crime writers, and have my name read in front of them. Exciting!”

To register to meet Rader-Day, visit

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