A Day In The Life Of…Lilly Hawkins by Nora McFarland

My name’s Lilly Hawkins. I’m a shooter—slang for a TV news photographer—at KJAY in Bakersfield, Calif. When I started in this job a lot of people thought I wasn’t up to it. I’m short—petite, if you want to make it sound nice—with big green eyes and long curly hair. That’s not a description of a typical shooter. It’s a physically demanding job traditionally done by men. In recent years, equipment has gotten lighter, but even before that, I more than held my own with the boys. The best way to silence naysayers is to roll up your sleeves and outdo them.

Most people think working in TV is glamorous, and maybe it is in big television markets, but I work at a small station in a small town. Bakersfield is surrounded on all sides by farmland and oil fields, and although we’ve got plenty of colorful characters and fine country music, we’re a little bit short on glamour.

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve probably heard about a few of my so-called adventures, but they’re all exaggerations. Yes, I’ve been kidnapped, almost drowned, shot at, wanted for murder—I was totally cleared, by the way—and almost burnt alive, but these were all isolated incidents. And even if they weren’t, even if I was some kind of determined newshound who chased after stories and brought killers to justice, it still wouldn’t be glamorous. Most of the incidents I just listed involved sleep deprivation, hunger pains, and questionable odors.

The video I shoot on a normal day is a mix of crime, traffic accidents, local politics, and sweet human interest stuff. A dream story would be a spelling-bee champ who got robbed after being in a car accident with the mayor. I frequently work without a reporter when we’re short staffed—which is always—and then bring my material back to the station for better dressed reporters and anchors to front on TV. That’s how I like it. You’ll never get me in front of a camera. I know everything there is to know about composing a shot, but eye shadow is a mystery to me.
You can read more about Lilly in Hot, Shot, and Bothered, the second book in the “Lilly Hawkins” mystery series.

The life and times of Lilly Hawkins is written by Nora McFarland who has worked for CNN and is a former community relations manager for Barnes & Noble. She has an MFA from the University of Southern California’s school of cinema and television. Nora lives in Macon, Georgia.

Visit Nora’s website at http://www.noramcfarland.com

Nora has generously offered to giveaway two copies of her first book in the “Lilly Hawkins” series, A Bad Day’s Work. To enter, please leave a comment with your email address so that we may contact you.  One entry per person and the giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.  Contest ends August 14, 2011 at midnight EST.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

18 responses to “A Day In The Life Of…Lilly Hawkins by Nora McFarland

  1. I “discovered” Nora at Malice Domestic this year. I enjoyed the 2nd book in the series (ok, so I’m doing this backwards 🙂 and am looking forward to reading book 1.

  2. I used to own a photo studio back when I was young and hungry. I did the whole wedding, bar/bat mitzva thing and also baby photos. I’d love to win a copy of “A Bad Day’s Work”.

    NoraAdrienne (at) gmail (dot) com

  3. Looks great. Love the title.

  4. Dru Ann, what a fun new feature! I love hearing behind the scenes info. And these sound like fun books!

  5. Love the feature!! 🙂

    Did you see the Jeter documentary on HBO? 🙂

  6. The series does sound like a lot of fun. I was a print photojournalist–and “back in the day” I hauled at least 40 pounds of equipment with the flash units, battery packs, cameras, and lenses. I’d love to win a copy.

  7. I can’t wait to meet Lilly. She’s sounds just like my kind of woman. LOL

  8. Dru! This is fantastic new feature on your book blog! WTG!

  9. Kellie M. RIx

    I can’t wait to read this series. This is a great new feature, Dru! Thank you for adding it.

  10. Sounds like a fun character. As a former print journalist, married to a TV reporter, I loved this line:
    I know everything there is to know about composing a shot, but eye shadow is a mystery to me.
    Lilly sounds like my kind of woman!
    Nice post, and congrats on the new feature, Dru.

  11. LOL on the questionable odors. And I love the latest title. Will definitely check it out.

  12. Thank you to everyone for their wonderful comments! I appreciate all the support, especially from more established writers with successful series of their own. And thanks to Dru for hosting me. You’re the best!!!!

  13. Well here is another author for me to read. Sounds like a great series.

    Nancy B

  14. Thanks Nora for telling us about Lilly’s day.

  15. Winners of A Bad Day’s Work were Nancy Hill Bradford and Heather Webber