They say a picture is worth a thousand words. For Lis
Wiehl a snapshot captured in 1965 in Ft. Worth, Texas, turned out to be worth a
novel! Although most people probably know her as a legal analyst for Fox News,
Lis has written over a dozen books, fiction and nonfiction. Her first novel was
published in 2009 and started her career as a suspense writer. Since then, she
has written nine—the newest of which is Snapshot
(Thomas Nelson)—an edge of the seat mystery involving historical events.
Two years ago, on Easter, Lis’s father showed her a photo. The black
and white snapshot depicts a little African American girl and a little
Caucasian girl sitting next to each other. The background is littered with
people watching a civil rights march. Instantly, Lis said she knew there was a
story “that needed to be told.” The little girl was in fact, Lis, who confesses
that writing this novel was incredibly personal. “I had to ask a lot of
questions of myself and my father. And, in so doing, we’ve become closer than
The relationship between Lis and her father is truly the spark
behind the novel’s inception. “My father began this story all those years ago.
And then he brought the story alive two Easters ago when he brought me the
snapshot. Why this photo, out of all the photos he could have given me? And
why, as an FBI agent on duty, did he take me to that march that day?”
Lis’s father also helped enrich the story by providing her with
a perfect character very similar to him, FBI agent James Waldren. The novel
opens up with James present at a civil rights march with his little girl, Lisa,
when two shots ring out in the crowd. A leader of the civil rights movement has
been killed in front of everyone. Fast forward years later, the man convicted
of killing that civil rights leader is on death row, but James knows he isn’t
guilty. Someone else killed that leader that day and James reaches out to the
only person he believes can help him—his federal prosecutor daughter, Lisa.
The mystery deepens as Lisa begins to search for the little
girl pictured with her in the grainy black and white photo her dad took that
day. Who was she and how can she help them solve this mystery?
Lis says she her motivation in writing Snapshot was to craft a
good suspenseful page turners that readers won’t want to put down. “When I
write, I think about the reader in his or her home curling up with Snapshot and
not wanting to budge until they’ve finished the book.”
Much like Lisa in her novel, Lis’s alternate motivation was to
find the girl pictured with her so many years ago. When asked if she has had
any luck in her search, Lis responded, “Not yet. But it would be a wonderful
thing if Snapshot could bring us together again. Where is that little girl now?
Does she remember that day in Texas? How has her life unfolded?”