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00:00:00 - Early life

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Partial Transcript: This is an oral history interview with Lynn Hightower being conducted by Linda Beattie for the Kentucky Writers Oral History Project.

Segment Synopsis: Hightower lists several of her relatives and their occupations, including her grandparents. Hightower also describes her great-grandmother.

Keywords: American authors; Brothers; Business; Cooking; Divorce; Early life; Farms; Grandparents; Great-grandmothers; High schools; Humor; Namesakes; Occupations; Parents; Sisters; Small towns; Stores; Tennessee; Tough

Subjects: Childhood; Employment; Families.; Genealogy

00:04:04 - Childhood

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Partial Transcript: What was your childhood like?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower describes her childhood, including when she began to write and her education.

Keywords: American authors; Atlanta (Ga.); Books; Casting; Directing; Edgar Allen Poe; Elementary schools; Fairy tales; Fathers; Gym; Journalism; Lexington (Ky.); Life; Life insurance; Math; Mothers; Nancy Drew; Novels; Outgoing; Plays; Reading; Reading groups; Richmond (Va.); School; Siblings; Social; Storytelling; Tennessee

Subjects: Childhood; Creative writing; Education; Teachers; Writing

00:10:55 - Junior high school and high school

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Partial Transcript: Um, what was, or what were junior high and high school like for you?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower discusses her junior high school years as well as her high school years, in which she began to send her writing to magazines, with the objective of publishing her work.

Keywords: American authors; Books; Classmates; Editorials; High schools; Jessie Clark Middle School; Junior high schools; Ladies Home Journal; Lexington (Ky.); Math; Public schools; Redbook; Rejection; Richmond (Va.); Short stories; Tates Creek High School; The New Yorker; Writer's Digest

Subjects: Education; Teachers; Writing

00:16:17 - College

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Partial Transcript: And I started out UK as a Theater Arts major.

Segment Synopsis: Hightower reflects upon her time at the University of Kentucky, including some of the notable professors and classes she took. Additionally, the interviewee explains why she changed her major to journalism from theater.

Keywords: Advisors; Assignments; Class; Fantasy novels; Journalism; Majors; Math; Newspapers; Power tools; Professors; Rapport; Reading; Schedule; Stagecraft; Stream of consciousness fiction; University of Kentucky; Wendell Berry; Writers

Subjects: American authors; Education; Journalism; Playwriting; Theater; University of Kentucky; Writing

00:23:00 - Life after college

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Partial Transcript: Were you out for a year working, or--between college and graduate school?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower talks of her life following college, in which she worked for a television station before attending graduate school in pursuit of an MBA.

Keywords: College; Commercials; Copywriters; Graduate schools; Lexington (Ky.); Life; Master of Business Administration (MBA); Mothers; Politics; Secretary; State University of New York (SUNY); Statistics; Summer classes; TV stations; University of Kentucky

Subjects: American authors; Marriage

00:27:07 - Marriage / beginning of professional writing career

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Partial Transcript: When did you got married and who did you marry?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower briefly talks of her marriage, which later ended in divorce. Then, Hightower describes her early professional writing career.

Keywords: Agents; Books; Characters; Children; Consistency; Daughter; Divorce; Editors; Endicott (N.Y.); Fantasy; Freedom; Husband; Mysteries; Publishers; Short stories; Sisters; Syracuse (N.Y.); Typewriters

Subjects: American authors; Families.; Marriage; Writing

00:33:36 - Literary agents

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Partial Transcript: When did you get your agent?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower explains the process through which she got her literary agents.

Keywords: Advances; Agency; Agent; Ballantine Books; Books; C.J. Cherryh; Comments; Curtis Brown Agency; Editorial board; Editorials; Illness; Literary Market Place; Money; Novels; Philadelphia (Pa.); Publishing; Random House; Rejection; Series; Vietnam; William Morris Agency; Writers

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:40:41 - Book series

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Partial Transcript: Um, to date you have published seven books, and I understand an eighth book, "No Good Deed" is due out in 1998...

Segment Synopsis: Several novels and book series that Hightower has written throughout her career are explored.

Keywords: Agents; Careers; Conventions; Divorce; Editors; Flashpoint; Hardcovers; HarperCollins; Jonathan Kellerman; Letters; Manuscripts; Paperbacks; Publishers; Quotes; Re-write; Satan's Lambs

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:45:25 - Genres / editing

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Partial Transcript: Um, what first attracted to you to the genres or categories in which you write?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower considers why she writes mostly in the crime novel genre. Additionally, Hightower talks of the editing process of her novels, and the extensive research she has conducted in order for her stories to be as accurate as possible.

Keywords: Agents; Airplanes; Autopsies; Book; Commonwealth attorneys; Crime novels; Crime solving; Crimes; Critique; Editing; Friends; Ideas; Lunches; Police work; Research

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:49:12 - Character comparison

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Partial Transcript: Um, your police specialist, uh, heroine Sonora Blair reminds me of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone.

Segment Synopsis: Hightower considers the similarities and differences between her character, Sonora Blair, and one of Sue Grafton's called Kinsey Millhone. Subsequently, a comparison is also made between Hightower herself and Sonora Blair as well.

Keywords: Agents; Characters; Children; Comparisons; Friends; Genres; Kentucky; Men; Mysteries; Northern; Ohio; Personality; Policewomen; Satan's Lambs; Society; Southern; Sue Grafton; Women; Writers

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:53:41 - Alien novels / other genres

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Partial Transcript: And we really haven't talked about those alien books very much.

Segment Synopsis: Hightower talks of her alien-themed work. Then, out of all the genres the interviewee has not written, Hightower considers which of these genres she would like to potentially write.

Keywords: Alien Nation; Alien books; Aliens; Books; Children; Earth; Editors; Genres; Humans; Policemen; Short stories; Western; Writers

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:55:43 - Awards

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Partial Transcript: Um, I know that your novel "Satan's Lambs" won a Seamus Award...

Segment Synopsis: Hightower explains what winning literary awards means to her and how it has benefited her career as an author.

Keywords: Awards; Best First Novel; Income; Money; Publishing houses; Quotes; Satan's Lambs; Seamus Award; The Literary Guild; The Private Eye Writers of America

Subjects: American authors; Writing

00:57:40 - Research for writing

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Partial Transcript: We were talking about this a minute ago, but in the acknowledgements to several of your books, you refer to having ridden with police on stakeouts and to witnessing an autopsy all to add accuracy to your work.

Segment Synopsis: The research methods that Hightower used for her novels are examined. Methods include witnessing an autopsy and going on a ride-along with police officers.

Keywords: Autopsy; Books; Bullets; Burglary; Forensics; Gloves; Guns; Homicide specialists; Homicide victims; Lexington (Ky.); Louisville (Ky.); Notes; Police; Police work; Respectful; Ride-alongs; Sleep

Subjects: American authors; Research; Writing

01:03:07 - Sense of place / uniqueness

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Partial Transcript: Many of your books are set in or near Kentucky. What role would you say sense of place plays in your writing?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower emphasizes the importance of place in her writing. Next, the interviewee explains what makes her writing different from other authors in her genre.

Keywords: Books; Cincinnat, (Ohio); Criminals; Genres; Goals; Important; Kentucky; Mysteries; North; Ordinary; Place; Realism; South

Subjects: American authors; Setting (Literature); Writing

01:06:04 - Creativity / reading

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Partial Transcript: I've been asking everybody I interview what you think the nature of creativity itself might be. Do you have any ideas about that?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower considers the source and nature of creativity in people.

Keywords: Alice Walker; Artists; Bob Hill; Books; Characters; Creativity; Encouragement; Entertainment; Friends; Ideas; Imaginary world; Jonathan Kellerman; Kentucky writers; Life; Literary fiction; Mothers; Parents; People; Reading; Real world; Scenes; Stories; Teachers; Wendell Berry; Work

Subjects: American authors; Writing

01:11:32 - Writer's group / writing habits

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Partial Transcript: What, what are your--well I, I wanted to know are you now or have you ever been a member of a writer's group?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower reveals if she has ever been in a writer's group. This is followed by a discussion of the interviewee's writing habits.

Keywords: Aerobics; Chapters; Children; Computers; Deadlines; Editing; Habits; Handwriting; Horse-riding; Horses; Page count; Paper; Porch swings; Quotas; Schedules; Typing; Writer's groups

Subjects: American authors; Writing

01:16:01 - Animals

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Partial Transcript: I, I couldn't leave without asking you about your animals...

Segment Synopsis: Hightower discusses her various animals, with an emphasis upon her horses.

Keywords: Arabian horse; Barns; Boarding; Children; Flashpoint; Horse trainers; Houses; Keeneland; Mare; Palomino; Trust; Writing classes

Subjects: American authors; Animals; Cats; Dogs; Horses

01:21:38 - Teaching creative writing / future book / personality

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Partial Transcript: Have you ever taught creative writing?

Segment Synopsis: Hightower relays what it is like to teach creative writing. Subsequently, Hightower describes her upcoming novel. Then, the interviewee articulates her personality and identity as a writer.

Keywords: Agents; Attorneys; Books; Commercial fiction; Delacorte Press; Editing; Editors; Energy; Entertainment; Fear; Flashpoint; Friends; Fun; Identity; Novel writing; Novels; Passionate; Personality; Polite; Preparation; Published; Publishing; Revision; Seminars; Short stories; Storytelling; Structure; Themes; University of Louisville; Work

Subjects: American authors; Creative writing; Education; Teaching