This is a tough blog to write because I’m a freelance television producer, so there is no such thing as a day in the life. No day is like the other, which is good and sometimes maddeningly annoying. I often envy folks who go to the same job every day, hang out at the water cooler, know which places to grab lunch, and never, ever find themselves looking through graphic crime scene photos at three in the morning. But sometimes that’s exactly what I’m doing in the middle of the night, while I’m struggling to finish a script for some sensational true crime show.
My day is usually a complete unknown. Sometimes, I’m sitting around, unemployed and worried, waiting for the phone to ring. And other times I’m getting yelled at by some angry mother of a murder victim because I manipulated her into an interview and – on camera – asked her if her daughter was sleeping around. To be honest, I prefer the latter type of days. I don’t like being yelled at, but at least I can bill someone for the hours.
On a working day, I usually meet up with my crew; Andres Pena and Victor Pilot. Both good guys, both friends of mine – and usually we spend the early part of the day setting up for an interview and catching up if it’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. My personal life has been ridiculously dull since my estranged husband, Frank, died (in truth it was even more dull before). Andres is a married father of three and captain of his bowling team, so his life is almost as tame as mine. But Victor, a musician, soundman and self-described “punk anarchist” manages to keep us entertained with what I assume are fictional stories of his exploits with women.
My job is to ask questions and get a story that will entertain basic cable watchers. Since we’re dealing with real people and real events you would think that the show would focus on getting to the truth. You would be wrong. The main objective in most true crime TV is to push it as far as we can go, without going over the line. Or as one Executive Producer told me, “I don’t care if it’s all a pack of lies, just don’t get me sued.”
Vera, my late husband’s mistress (yes, that’s right), thinks that what I do is cool, even noble, because I let people have a chance to tell their stories. Vera will find the best in a situation even if she has to twist herself in knots to do it. Case in point, she found the best in Frank long after I’d found the worst. And she found a way to become friends with a woman (me) who hated her. And she somehow made me remember what it was that I loved about Frank in the first place. A pretty startling achievement. But that’s a story for another day… in the life of Kate Conway.
Meet the author
Clare O’Donohue is the author of four Someday Quilts Mysteries, as well as Missing Persons; the first in the Kate Conway series. She is also a freelance television producer, and has worked on shows for The History Channel, Food Network, truTV and more. She lives near Chicago, IL. Visit Clare at http://clareodonohue.com
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.