We asked Randy (via e-mail) to answer a few questions about the genesis and writing of A Child is Killed. Here's his reply:
1. How did you choose/find this story?
The idea of looking more closely at farm deaths came from two editors and myself. I give the editors most of the credit. Greg Van Moorsel and Chris Nixon kept hounding me to do something on it because they were tired of seeing the police reports come over the desk and inspiring no more than briefs. As for meeting Tracey Cross, that came just from hanging around a few farm safety events. I heard about her at one event then found her at another. She gave small speeches about the death but few details.
2. How long did you spend interviewing?
I spent about four or five sessions with Tracey over the course of the spring and summer. A few in her house, then two in the field, and one with her father. The interview with her ex-husband was done separately of course. The main interviews with Tracey took about three, four hours each. All told, about 20 hours maybe.
3. How did you write the story? i.e. Did it come together quickly, multiple drafts, with a copy editor...