Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Interview with Wendy Tyson, Author of Killer Image

Wendy Tyson's background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Killer Image, published by Henery Press in October 2013, is the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series. She has also authored The Seduction of Miriam Cross, published by E-Lit Books, the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series.

Find Wendy at www.WATyson.com.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Oh wow, such a straightforward but open-ended question! I’m a mother (3 boys), writer, wife and lawyer. I’m also a passionate organic gardener, an avid reader, a vegetarian, a messy housekeeper, a fierce animal lover and an advocate for fighting for the things you believe in. Oh, and I love chocolate, Indian food and traveling. I really love to travel!

When did you begin writing?

I started writing in earnest at age eight. My first book was about a ghost dog and I tapped it out on an old children’s typewriter. My parents, of course, thought it was brilliant, despite the muddled plot and numerous typos. I never really stopped writing, although it took me another twenty years to start publishing short stories. I wrote my first full-length novel about a decade ago. My agent at the time called it my training bra novel. She was right! It’s sitting on my shelf as a reminder that writing is a craft. It takes time to develop.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

I try to write every morning, before work. When I wrote my first novel, I’d get up at 4:30 am to do it, but now it’s closer to 5:30 (sleeping in!). I think the discipline of having a set time helps me to make sure writing occurs, because once my day starts (I work full-time), it’s crazy. Plus, by evening my brain is worthless when it comes to anything creative. Sometimes I’ll write at lunchtime, too – if I get a break during the day. But I can’t count on that.

What is this book about?

KILLER IMAGE is the first in a mystery series featuring Allison Campbell.

As Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own. Ten years ago, Allison’s budding career as a psychologist crumbled when she let maternal feelings for an abused teenager cloud her judgment. Allison left her practice and the ensuing scandal behind and vowed never to let her feelings interfere again. Today, a well-heeled and polished Allison moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics.

When Allison’s latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client’s innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from the past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what’s real from the facade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.

What inspired you to write it?

KILLER IMAGE was inspired by my background in psychology and law, and the transition from one career to the other.

While in graduate school for counseling, I worked in the social services field as a caseworker, a group home counselor and, later, as a therapist in a residential setting. I was in my twenties at the time, and the populations I worked with – mostly at-risk teens – made a strong impression on me. I left with two primary emotions: anger at the injustices of the world and awe at the resiliency of the human spirit.

I traded the psych world for law school in Villanova, PA (part of the Philadelphia Main Line) in the late 90s. My experience in the counseling field juxtaposed against law school on the Main Line–and my work at a big Philly law firm–triggered the idea behind Allison. I wanted to capture that feeling of being an outsider in a place of insiders. Allison is a successful image consultant because she never really fits in, and that, coupled with a tragedy in her own past and her background in psychology, helps her see beneath the veneer to the true beauty in people. Plus, the Philadelphia Main Line – with its wealthy, beautiful estates, private schools and upscale shopping – was a perfect setting for exploring the theme of image versus reality. It seemed a great place to stage a murder!

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Anywhere books are sold. KILLER IMAGE is available on Amazon, B&N, Kobo, etc. Many bookstores have it as well – and, if not, they can order it.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

Keep going! Truly, if I’ve learned anything it’s that writing is a journey. Sure, there are instant success stories, but for many of us it’s one step forward and five steps backwards. I think if you really, really want to write – if you have something you want to share with the world – then you owe it to yourself to keep plodding along despite the inevitable lulls, frustrations and rejection. We all experience these things. They’re part of the journey. Just keep moving.

What is up next for you?

The second book in the Allison Campbell series will be out on July 22, 2014. The book is called MURDEROUS LOOKS. In MURDEROUS LOOKS, two of Allison’s clients – a reclusive Italian heiress and a young pop star – disappear on the same day, and Allison’s colleague Vaughn is the last to have seen both. It’s up to Allison to figure out the connection between the disappearances and find her clients before it’s too late.

I’ve also written THE SEDUCTION OF MIRIAM CROSS (E-Lit Books, November 2013), the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series. I’m working on the second book in that series, THE INITIATION OF CAROLYN WU, which should be out in late 2014 or early 2015.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today!

Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

1 comment:

Rowena said...

Thanks for the interview! Love seeing "behind the scenes."