Friday, April 23, 2010

How To Write a Great First Person, Present, POV Mystery/Suspense/Romance!

Prime Time

Hank Phillippi Ryan, Mira, Copyright 2009 (Original edition July 1, 2009) Mira, 288 pages

This is the first of the Multi-Award Winning Charlotte McNally Novels – A Series which Now Stands at Four Novels: Prime Time, Face Time, Air Time, Drive Time.
Winner of the prestigious AGATHA Award for Best First Novel

RITA Nominee Best First Novel and Best Romantic Suspense

DAPHNE Nominee Best Romantic Suspense

RT Reviewers Choice Award Winner and TOP PICK!

Prime Time is a great read but I actually didn’t read it because of all its awards. I read this book simply because the author said that she came up with the opening line of the book first and liked it so much that she was inspired to write the book. Prime Time is her first book. Since the first line indicated a first person present POV, that is how she wrote it. And since it is a very hard to write a full length, first person POV book, I naturally bought the book. I wanted to know hwo the author did it.

Here’s the opening line:

“Between the hot flashes, the hangover and all the spam on my computer, there’s no way I’ll get anything done before eight o’clock this morning.”
Here’s why I think the POV works in Prime Time.

First the heroine is the story. There is no equal status with any other character. Two, the book is an action mystery with constant tension and frequent danger. Three, the heroine is largely playing herself. The heroine, Charlotte McNally, is a 47 year old TV newsperson with many awards but always worried about being replaced by a younger woman. The author is also in a similar situation. The locations are the same in the book as in real life. Four, the author shares many interesting inside the TV news business tidbits which adds to the reading enjoyment. Fifth, the heroine has a witty personality which makes spending time in her mind an enjoyable experience. Sixth, the heroine is a very sympathetic character who quickly wins the reader over to her side.

After reading Prime Time, I have a better appreciation for what it would take to write an exceptional first person POV novel. I now think it is every more difficult than I originally thought.

From all the great reviews and many awards it is very clear that readers love this book. However, I think it will be even more appreciated by other writers.

I read it with envy and enjoyed every minute. And there are three more books in the series yet to enjoy!



  1. Vince! What an amazingly wonderful blog--You bring tears to my eyes. Thank you so much!
    I do hope you enjoy the other books--AIR TIME was just nominated for this year's Agatha for Best that's very exciting.

    Keep in touch, okay? And I hope our paths cross again soon.

    Let me know how it's going with your book.

    with much affection...Hank

  2. Hi Hank:
    Thanks for coming by. I am going to read all four of your books in the right order. The first person present POV is very intense so I am going to space the books out and read one a month.

    I am doing the first revisions on my book and I am finding revising to be much harder than writing a first draft. But no one said writing was easy. Thanks again.