Al Roker and the Case of the Mystery-Writing Weatherman

The Daily Beast runs my profile of Al Roker, the TODAY Show’s weatherman and feature reporter, on the day that his first mystery novel, THE MORNING SHOW MURDERS, is published. Here’s how it opens:

Al Roker is a marvel of time management. He has to be, to keep up the

rising-before-dawn regimen he’s maintained for more years than he can

possibly count, the last 13 as the Today show’s weatherman and feature reporter. Since July, he’s had to roll back the wakeup call even earlier to co-host Wake Up with Al on

The Weather Channel, starting at 6 a.m. Once his smiling face signs off

NBC and its many affiliates by 10, there’s another few hours to put in

at the office of his eponymous production company, responsible for a

range of programming, from edible delicacies to murder and meth

addiction. And that’s not factoring in last-minute travel plans,

speaking engagements, or hosting gigs, like the two years he emceed the

Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Awards.

Now Roker has added another project to his already jam-packed schedule. The Morning Show Murders,

written with award-winning crime writer Dick Lochte, is Roker’s first

foray into fiction, and as the title suggests, it’s a mystery, and a

pretty good one at that. Roker’s been reading the genre since he was 7

years old, he told The Daily Beast in a telephone conversation late

last week. “The Hardy Boys, Edgar Allan Poe, the Nero Wolfe books in

high school,” he said. “I’ve always loved the genre. My mother was an

avid mystery reader, too. For years I told myself, ‘I’d love to write a

mystery,’ but I never really thought I’d do it. Then in the last couple

of years I figured it was as good a time as any to try.”

Eventually we get a bit more into process since much of the credit (right there on the book’s cover, in fact) owes to Dick Lochte, whom I really hope benefits from the attention Roker’s book has already received, including a lengthy piece by Craig Wilson in USA TODAY on Monday and more at Reuters and – of course! – the TODAY Show.

And yes, there are undoubtedly some similarities between real people and fictional characters, but oddly, Ben Lyons wasn’t whom I was thinking of in this context.