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My day with the TV crew

Monday was a big day for me. I left my office! Writers spend a lot of time locked up in our home offices, shutting out the rest of the world. But this past Monday, I departed my Houston home mid-morning for a drive to Katy, Texas, the location of the house where David Temple murdered his wife Belinda. The Temple case is the subject of my true crime book SHATTERED. The reason for my drive to Katy? A producer for the ID TV series DEADLY SINS wanted to interview me about the case for an upcoming episode.

What's it like doing television interviews about crime cases? That's what a Facebook friend asked when I mentioned my experience on social media. Well, it's usually pretty interesting. The process actually starts long before the day of the filming, when the producer, in this case a woman named Tania, conducts a pre-interview on the phone, asking questions about the case, the people involved, the trial, and my theories on what happened and why. A week or so later, I received an email setting the date, time, and place, a Hilton Garden Inn on I-10, for the official interview.

At the hotel, I was chaperoned to a conference room that had been converted into a temporary TV studio. There were three in the crew: Tania; the cameraman; and the soundman. One of Belinda's friends had preceded me so the equipment was already set up. The background cloth hanging on a frame behind me, however, clashed with my cranberry sweater, so it was taken down and replaced. Then the checks began. I was instructed to take a seat in a chair, at which point the light was adjusted (I hoped to mask my baggy eyes and many wrinkles) and a microphone was attached to my lapel. Tania and I chatted while the crew balanced the sound and the lighting, adjusted the camera, and then the interview began.

Sitting across from me, Tania asked the questions. She had four pages of notes on the case, a script of sorts she wanted to follow, one that coincided with the way the program would eventually be laid out. We started at the beginning, with what my research had uncovered about Belinda and David growing up, and in the first years of their relationship. From there we moved to their troubled marriage, David's infidelities, and his eventual affair with Heather Scott, the woman he wanted so much he was willing to murder to have her.

The questioning process went on for about two hours, during which I did my best to answer Tania's questions. The lights were hot, but the air conditioning kept the room cold, as I described what the evidence suggested happened on the day Belinda died. At times we backed up and started over, when my words jumbled or I lost my way. I'm far from expert at being on camera, only doing it a few times a year, so I can get rather nervous and distracted. The producers are usually patient, giving ample opportunity to redo when I segue off subject. All went well, and I did my best to give Tania what she needed to piece together the story for her program.

At the end, after I was unhooked from the sound equipment, Tania walked me outside. We talked, and she said what I've heard so often, that it's unbelievable that a man would murder his pregnant wife, just because he was finished with her. "It is," I agreed. "And tragic."
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