Kathryn Lively - Author

With a K. And a Y.

Guest Blogger: Renee Pawlish

I am happy to welcome mystery author Renee Pawlish to the blog! Renee is here to promote her book, This Doesn’t Happen in the Movies, and she is giving away a print or eBook copy of her book Nephilim and a $25 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so be sure to leave a comment after the post. To increase your chances of winning, stop by the other blogs on Renee’s tour and comment!

Today, Renee talks about the great suspense movies that have inspired her writing.

Clever Is As Clever Does

I have always been a fan of mysteries, ever since I was a little girl and I got hooked on The Hardy Boys (I was a tomboy, and couldn’t get into Nancy Drew). And I’ve been a voracious reader as long as I can remember, but I also got hooked on great mystery movies. I have to say that I’m partial to Alfred Hitchcock movies because they are so clever, but there are a number of movies that I love and that have influenced my writing in one way or another. So let’s start with…

Rear Window

What a great story, and talk about ingenious. Almost the entire story takes place in one apartment, with a view outside a window, and yet Hitchcock keeps the suspense and romance up for the entire movie. The dialogue is clever, and the use of location is outstanding. This is a great study on how to create suspense out of very little.

Runners up would be Psycho, Rope, Rebecca, and North by Northwest. Hitchcock was a master at using the “MacGuffin”, a plot element meant to catch the viewer’s attention or drive the plot. The MacGuffin can actually decline in importance as the story plays out. Hitchcock was a master storyteller and I love watching his films.


I love this movie and every time I see it, I wish I was clever enough to have penned it. The idea of someone with short-term memory loss trying to figure out what happened to his murdered wife is incredibly original. And the way the movie plays out is phenomenal. Do NOT try and multitask when watching this movie or you’ll likely miss something. I study this film to watch how the plot plays out and to see how the twists and turns propel the story forward, but keep you guessing.

The Sting

Maybe this isn’t “mystery” per se, but this is another movie with an awesome plot and plenty of twists and turns along the way. I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it, but the way the writers interweave various subplots into the story, and then tie everything together at the end is flat-out terrific. I first saw this a long time ago, watching it with my mother, who was an old film buff. Even as a kid, I remember thinking how clever the story was. I went back over the plot to figure out what I’d missed the first time through, marveling at how the tale came together. This is another movie that I see and wish I had thought of the idea.

The Big Sleep

I had to put this movie on the list as it plays a central role in my own novel This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies. The Big Sleep is known for its convoluted plot, but it’s a classic example of film noir. Reed Ferguson, my intrepid hero, loves film noir so I naturally study this genre as I chronicle Reed’s adventures. The Big Sleep can be confusing to watch, but it’s Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall at their best.

I think I must have been born in the wrong era because I tend to love old movies and old mysteries. They tend to have better dialogue and scene structure, and they don’t rely on just action to get from Act One to the end.

About the Author

Renée Pawlish was born in California, but has lived most of her life in Colorado. When she’s not hiking, cycling, or chasing ballplayers for autographs, she is writing mysteries and thrillers that include the Reed Ferguson mysteries, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the first in the Nephilim trilogy, Take Five, a short story collection, and The Sallie House: Exposing the Beast Within, a non-fiction account of a haunted house investigation.
Renée loves to travel and has visited numerous countries around the world. She has also spent many summer days at her parents’ cabin in the hills outside of Boulder, which was the inspiration for the setting of Taylor Crossing in her novel Nephilim: Genesis of Evil.

website: http://www.reneepawlish.com
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/reneepawlish
on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/reneepawlish.author
on her blog: http://tobecomeawriter.wordpress.com/
or Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/reneepawlish

About the Book

A wannabe private eye with a love of film noir and detective fiction.
A rich, attractive femme fatale.
A missing husband.
A rollicking ride to a dark and daring ending.


“I want you to find my dead husband.”

“Excuse me?” That was my first reaction.

“I want you to find my husband. He’s dead, and I need to know where he is.” She spoke in a voice one sexy note below middle C.

“Uh-huh.” That was my second reaction. Really slick.

Moments before, when I saw her standing in the outer room, waiting to come into my office, I had the feeling she’d be trouble. And now, with that intro, I knew it.

“He’s dead, and I need you to find him.” If she wasn’t tired of the repetition, I was, but I couldn’t seem to get my mouth working. She sat in the cushy black leather chair on the other side of my desk, exhaling money with every sultry breath. She had beautiful blond hair with just a hint of darker color at the roots, blue eyes like a cold mountain lake, and a smile that would slay Adonis. I’d like to say that a beautiful woman couldn’t influence me by her beauty alone. I’d like to say it, but I can’t.


  1. We like the same movies…Like I said, those TCM movies: The Big Sleep, Rear Window (Grace Kelly was GORGEOUS in that and Raymond Burr was a menacing brute!), and The Sting (Redford & Newman were SO good looking!). BUT, I’ve never seen Memento. I’ve borrowed it from the library twice and just haven’t gotten around to watching it…too many books to read. Now I’ll have to check it out again over the Christmas break.

    Thanks for the blog hopping tour. It’s been fun.


  2. You’ve listed some great films today. Some I’ve seen, others I haven’t. And even though we were probably all born too late to see these films (most of them anyway) first run in the theater, we can thank Netflix for allowing us access to them all today!

    Also, let me say I have enjoyed following you around on your blog book hop these past few weeks. It’s been a lot of fun meeting you and learning more about your books. Thanks for the good time!

  3. Thanks Catherine for following the blog tour. You’ll have to stop at my blog and tell me what other movies you love (I periodically post on film noir)
    Karen, thank you too for following the blog tour. It’s been nice seeing your comments.

  4. I almost forgot, thanks Kathryn for letting me write a post for your wonderful blog!

  5. I have loved reading your blog. I loved the Nancy Drew books, but also loved the Hardy Boys.

  6. Thanks MomJane, I hope you check out my books.

  7. I LOVE old movies, but I seem to haven’t seen any of these! *Jots down names* 🙂
    I’ve had a blast following you on your tour, Renee! I wish you the best!


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