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The Big Thrill Discusses LIGHTS OUT with Elise Hart Kipness

Book Cover: Lights OutIn this exciting debut novel comes a fast-paced thriller that follows a sports reporter’s journey off the court…and into a world of murder and deception.

Former Olympic athlete and sports reporter Kate Green isn’t sure how much more tumultuous her life can get. She’s been put on temporary leave from her job, then NBA superstar Kurt Robbins is killed and the prime suspect in his murder is none other than his wife…and Kate’s best friend.

Kate knows that Yvette’s marriage wasn’t exactly stable, but her friend is no murderer, and Kate is determined to prove it with her own investigation. While she tries to salvage Yvette’s life, Kate’s own continues to unravel. Her career is in limbo. Gossip columns speculate about her future. Her children are battling their own demons. And her estranged father suddenly reenters her life as a detective assigned to Kurt’s homicide case.

As her worlds collide—exposing secrets, lies, and ulterior motives—Kate may have to choose between the games she can play and the one she might lose.

Elise Hart Kipness

Elise Hart Kipness

Elise Hart Kipness recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her domestic thriller, LIGHTS OUT.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

When my first son was born (21 years ago), I stopped reporting. I no longer wanted to travel. In the past, I’d be on assignments for weeks or a month at a time. About five years later, I desperately missed writing. I wanted to transport myself back to the world of sports, but I enjoyed the idea of doing it from home. Hence—the idea for my book was born.

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

I loved returning to the world of reporting. I liked feeling the buzz of adrenaline and the excitement of interviewing a player. I chose the NBA for the setting of my first book because the first sports story I covered was the NBA lockout. While I covered the story, I got to know a number of the players pretty well.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?

Hmmmm….nothing comes to mind.

When you first created your protagonist for this book, did you see an empty space in crime lit that you wanted to fill? What can you share about the inspiration for that character?

I really drew on my experience as a reporter to create my protagonist, Kate Green. What I found interesting was that the more time I spent with her the more she became her own person and the less she resembled me. Kate Green is definitely way cooler than me. And her demons are far more interesting.

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?

The world of television and sports provides great fodder for drama, jealousy and revenge. I also want to add that I’m excited to see more women writing thrillers that take place in a sports setting, like Allie Reynolds (Shiver & The Swell) and Liane Moriarty’s Apples Never Fall.

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I’m so excited to be working on the second KATE GREEN thriller.


Elise Hart Kipness is a former television sports reporter turned thriller writer. LIGHTS OUT is based on her experience in the high-pressure, adrenaline-pumping world of live TV. Like her protagonist, she chased marquee athletes through the tunnels of Madison Square Garden and stood before glaring lights, reporting to national audiences.

In addition to reporting for Fox Sports Network, Elise was a news reporter at New York’s WNBC-TV, News 12 Long Island, and the Associated Press. She is currently co-president of Sisters in Crime Connecticut, as well as a member of Mystery Writers of America and International Thriller Writers. A graduate of Brown University, Kipness divides her time between Stamford, Connecticut and Key West, Florida.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.

LIGHTS OUT with Elise Hart Kipness

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