Fortune’s Son, debut thriller by Hannah Louise Shearer
Author Interview + Book & Author Info + Pet Corner!
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JAKE FORTUNE WOULD GIVE EVERYTHING UP FOR HIS SON. AND HE MAY HAVE TO.
Detective Jake Fortune’s world is turned upside down when his 9-year-old son is kidnapped. The Seattle cop blames himself for not believing Garth when he swears he had visions of bad things happening to them.
Jake is a man who is emotionally tortured by the day-to-day ugliness of the crimes he sees, by the difficulties of being a single parent, and by loving his brilliant, beautiful partner, Anya, who is too tough to let herself cross that line.
They are up against human traffickers whose cargo fills the belly of a ship. Garth may be a child, but he’s a worthy adversary and he knows his dad is coming to get him.
But will Jake find Garth in time, or will he lose everything he believes in and everyone he loves? One thing is for sure – no one and nothing will stop him from trying to save his son.
Interview with Hannah Louise Shearer, author of Fortune’s Son
Fortune’s Son features Jake Fortune, a Seattle police detective. What was your research process like to write a police procedural/ action adventure novel?
My late brother, Phil, introduced me to science fiction when I was about seven. That morphed into a philosophy of being open to a bigger Universe than the one we see every day. I ended up writing in that genre, but I read and loved mysteries and action adventure.
Even though this novel could be viewed as a police procedural, it’s really a combination of all the genres I loved as a kid who loved to read, and the adult who still loves to watch Law & Order and detective shows. A long way of saying I’ve been researching procedurals for my entire writing career, starting with fire and police departments in Los Angeles and then all over the country. It wasn’t a new arena to me. With that experience, and some phone calls to the Seattle Police Department, it really became an everyman (woman) police station.
Jake Fortune is a single dad. What led you to putting a parent/child relationship at the heart of your novel?
I had a writing teacher at Berkeley who told me that writers usually don’t know their theme until they’re done. That’s the case here. Jake and his son, Jake and his dad, Anya and her parents … the need for and complexity of family connected all the dots for me.
The parent/child relationship is pretty much at the heart of our lives, for good or bad. Who we were together—or apart—then, now and in the future affects and determines our actions and what we seek to change or emulate throughout our lives.
Tell us about Garth Fortune:
Garth told me who he was from day one. I’ve never in my entire career had a character who simply appeared as true and whole as he did. This little boy wanted to be heard.
Fortune’s Son is set in Seattle, but you live in Los Angeles. What made you choose such an iconic city for your debut novel?
My first trip to Seattle was on my honeymoon (never mind, I still love the city, regardless …)
My second trip to Seattle was when I was producing a two-hour version of Emergency! A long time ago! I think the fact they had one of the first paramedic teams in the country captured my imagination and never let go. They reached for the future while still being rooted in the present.
The city speaks to me viscerally—the views, the water, the hills, the generosity of the people. The feeling of being in a small town in the middle of a bustling, ahead-of-its-time city. The fact that it can be overcast for days, and then the mountain comes out—that never fails to make me gasp with appreciation. I fell in love with the city and it stuck. And the nearby islands were the perfect setting for the story.
As a Hollywood writer and producer, you’ve written for some amazing series, including Emergency!, Cagney and Lacey, and daytime dramas like The Bold and the Beautiful. How does writing for television compare to writing a novel?
I’m so proud of Emergency! because it had such a huge impact on the public good, and still does to this day. But don’t forget Star Trek: The Next Generation! That’s the one I still get residuals for!
Writing for TV was great training for writing a novel. You have to juggle so many needs, of people, of filming, of crew, of locations, money, timing, personalities. It teaches you to be smart, what’s important in a story that’s going to be interrupted by unwanted commercials, how to imbue your work with yourself and your dreams while serving a bigger master … many masters.
Writing a novel is serving yourself, your story and your reader. It’s intimate. It’s the opposite of satisfying production needs. It’s satisfying your needs, and the story’s and the characters’. That’s it. You don’t have to worry about what the scene will cost, or how to portray what your characters are thinking, because we KNOW what he or she is thinking. To me, the difference is living in the story instead of showing the story.
I love TV and I love writing for TV, but doing this book has made me a better writer in both genres. I am grateful for the opportunity to share my dreams and hopes with others while I’m entertaining them.
What are you working on now?
Writing the sequel. It’s both easier and more difficult.
Words of Wisdom for Aspiring Writers:
Don’t let anything or anyone stop you, including yourself.
Author Pet Corner!
I rescued Sasha in 2015 to keep my old cat Tommy company. He was 12 and she was a baby and fell in love with him. They were together until he died in 2020 and I don’t think she’s ever gotten over it. She’s still extremely playful and loving. And demanding. She loves me and tolerates her brother of three years, Herbie.
I rescued Herbie just at the beginning of the pandemic, right after Tommy died. He was two and had come out of a bad hoarding situation, was semi-feral and completely shaved. He fell in love with Sasha, who almost tolerates him. He hates being brushed. He loves and cuddles with me, except when he’s scarring me forever for whatever unknown sins I commit.
Hannah Louise Shearer, Author of Fortune’s Son
Writer. Producer. Seeker.
Hannah Louise Shearer is well known as a writer in a variety of genres, with the unifying theme of exploring how people react under the pressure of challenging circumstances, and how that shapes their lives and their identity. She gives her characters the opportunity to become more emotionally conscious about themselves, the people they relate to, and the world around them. During her time as Executive Story Editor for Star Trek, the Next Generation, she was recognized for her ability to evoke emotion and humanize outer space, and several of her lines of dialogue have become famous quotes.
She wrote and produced the television series Emergency!, Knight Rider and Quincy and wrote for Cagney and Lacey, Pacific Blue, Island Sun and VIP. She was also a staff writer for daytime dramas, including General Hospital; Port Charles; Days of Our Lives; and The Bold and the Beautiful. She produced many television shows and movies of the week, including: the mini-series The Rebels, The Seekers, The Immigrants, and Condominium, as well as numerous pilots, including Nashville Beat, a two-hour television movie/pilot that she created, wrote and produced. She started her career as a researcher on the police drama Adam-12, and later became the first female television line producer at Universal Studios.
Hannah has been a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, West since 1977. She was first published at the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Journalism and wrote for the Daily Californian. She continued with prose at Written By, the former Maggie-award-winning Journal of the Writers’ Guild, where she created Muse-ings, a wide-ranging column about the writing life. A native Californian, Shearer lives in Los Angeles, where she is working on her second novel.
Elena Taylor/Elena Hartwell
All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio.
Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator
Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery