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‘Monk’ writer Hy Conrad talks about his mystery book ‘The Fixer’s Daughter’

Bestselling author and TV writer Hy Conrad (“Monk”) chatted about his book “The Fixer’s Daughter: A Mystery Novel.”

Hy Conrad
'Monk' writer and bestselling author Hy Conrad. Photo Courtesy of Hy Conrad
'Monk' writer and bestselling author Hy Conrad. Photo Courtesy of Hy Conrad

Bestselling author and TV writer Hy Conrad (“Monk”) chatted about his mystery book “The Fixer’s Daughter: A Mystery Novel.”

Background on Hy Conrad

Conrad is an author that eats, breathes, and sleeps murder and mystery. His list of accolades includes earning a Scribe Award for “Best Novel” and garnering three Edgar nominations from the Mystery Writers of America. He has developed countless popular mystery games and interactive films, and dozens of solvable mystery books.

A seasoned writing for the television world, Conrad spent eight successful seasons as a lead writer and story editor for the ground-breaking series, Monk.

Today, Conrad calls the hills of Vermont and the tropical landscape of Key West home. He lives with his husband, Jeff, and their two miniature schnauzers.

Q & A interview

You’re known as one who has made a career out of murder and mystery. How did you become so absorbed into this world?

Like so many kids, I loved mystery puzzles – from the Encyclopedia Brown series to the old Sherlock Holmes stories. I was already working as a playwright in New York when someone approached me and asked if I had any ideas for a Laserdisc.

That was cutting-edge technology at the time, enabling you to have one video with two soundtracks and be able to instantly skip to any frame in the disc.

I immediately thought that a kind of “Choose-Your-Own Mystery” would work well, where the story would change depending on which path you took through the video clips.

The success of this snowballed, with everyone from the Clue boardgame people at Parker Brothers to book publishers tracking me down for mystery projects. I also happen to love it.

Let’s talk about your mystery novel, ‘The Fixer’s Daughter.’ Even the name gives off goosebumps! What ideas came first for you – the characters or the plot? And do you think you would get along with Callie [main character] in real life?

I was working in the Monk TV show writers’ room when someone brought up dementia. What if a person with a lot of deadly secrets began to develop the disease? At any point, he could blurt out some horrible secret and put others and himself in danger.

We never used this idea, but it stayed with me. A political fixer seemed like a natural way to go. As for his daughter Callie, she has developed in a fascinating way. She always idolized her father, but now, as a reporter, she is finding out more of who he was and what he did.

I enjoy writing about damaged characters with a lot of baggage, but I’m not sure we could ever be friends. She’s a little too impulsive for me.

You’re also quite a successful writer for television, having been a writer for eight seasons for the ground-breaking TV series, ‘Monk.’ Do you employ any different techniques to writing for a television show compared to writing a novel?

A novel is a writer’s medium, and it can be a little lonely, with your only feedback coming from your spouse and your editor. Television is written by committees. Even when writing a TV movie by myself, I am constantly at the whim of producers and executives. “Put a murder in the first two minutes. We need fewer speaking roles.

We need a major event exactly at the halfway point.” And this is before you get the actors and location people involved. It often leads to a good product, but it feels less of an individual, creative thing.

Describe your favorite writing space. Where are you? Who’s with you? Any snacks or drinks nearby?

I can write anywhere with a comfortable chair and a bit of a view. A little spa music keeps me from feeling too isolated. But I can’t eat or drink while working. I find it distracting.

The fans need to know if you have anything in the works for the future. Do you have any projects you’re currently working on that you can release any information on?

Years ago, I did a series of novels called The Amy Travel Mysteries, in which a travel guide takes her clients on exotic trips and always get involved in murder. Hallmark has been interested in it for years, and we’re finally doing the first movie.

The tentative title is “Murder Italiano,” and it should be on the air in early 2024, if all goes well. As with anything in TV, it could be dead by the time you read this.

“The Fixer’s Daughter: A Mystery Novel” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

To learn more about “Monk” writer and bestselling author Hy Conrad, visit his official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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