Saturday, August 03, 2013

A Conversation with Suspense Novelist Lydia Crichton

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with Lydia Crichton
with Lydia Crichton

We are delighted to welcome novelist Lydia Crichton to Omnimystery News today.

Lydia begins a new series with the novel of suspense Grains of Truth (Barringer Publishing; February 2013 trade paperback and ebook formats).

We recently had a chance to talk to Lydia about her book.

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Omnimystery News: What factors contributed to your decision to write Grains of Trust as the first in a series?

Lydia Crichton
Photo provided courtesy of
Lydia Crichton

Lydia Crichton: In addition to the satisfaction of allowing recurring characters the opportunity to grow over time, they have a better chance of becoming the readers' friends. I love reading a good series, feeling as if I'm catching up with people I know, and look forward with great anticipation to the next installment.

OMN: Into what genre would you place your books?

LC: The books in my Julia Grant series are best categorized as Novels of Suspense. From a marketing perspective, they can also be called Up-market Commercial Fiction. Actually, my work contains elements from a few genres including Thriller and Women's fiction. Some writers get a little cranky about having their work defined by genre. Although I agree that being "categorized" can be a disadvantage, I also understand the booksellers' need to know where to put things on the shelf.

OMN: Tell us something about the book that isn't mentioned in the publisher's synopsis.

LC: Grains of Truth is prophetic in some ways. It foreshadows — if not downright predicts — two major stories in current headline news: The "subversive" surveillance activities of the U.S. government as revealed by "whistleblower" Edward Snowden; and the upheaval and complexities of the Egyptian revolution. But, at its core, this is the story of a woman: a woman who wants to do what's right, struggles with her inner demons to figure out what is right, and a very human woman who falls in love.

OMN: What is the best advice — and harshest criticism — you've received as an author? And what would you advise new writers?

LC: Best advice: Write because you love to write. I've learned that the rest will either come or it won't, but the love must be there for anything good to happen.

Harshest criticism: Early on, an agent denounced my style of writing as "too naïve and simplistic", declaring that the public was no longer interested in this kind of work. Even then I knew that I must be true to myself and continue to write in my own way, not to market trends or public opinion.

My advice: Write things you will always be proud of.

OMN: How do you go about researching the plot points of your story?

LC: Naturally, I do a lot of internet research … it's such a goldmine. I also love to spend time poking around the library, looking for long-forgotten works that view subjects from aspects that I may not have considered. My books also include a lot of first-hand experience, especially the first, Grains of Truth. The considerable amount of time I spent in Egypt, and subsequent research on the Middle East conflict, definitely qualify as both the most challenging and the most exciting.

OMN: Suppose Grains of Truth is optioned for film. Who do you see playing the key roles?

LC: Even before she won an Academy Award, Sandra Bullock had my vote for playing the lead role as protagonist Julia Grant. She has just the right combination of natural beauty, joie de vivre and, of course, talent to be the perfect Julia. Several actors come to mind to play Alexander Bryant, but in my mind's eye I'm stuck on one that can never be: a fifty-something year old Gregory Peck is my dream Alex.

OMN: What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

LC: With chagrin, I must admit that childhood itself is but a distant memory. The only books I specifically remember are those in the Nancy Drew series. No doubt they influenced my tastes in reading as well as writing, even if in a subliminal way: A strong female protagonist in the days of "women's lib"? You bet.

OMN: And what books do you read now for pleasure?

LC: When I manage to find a stolen moment to read a book these days, it's either nonfiction on a subject or person that intrigues me (possibly fodder for my next book), or fiction that takes me to another place. My tastes in fiction run widely, but it's always about the story. The story itself must be a good one. I don't read, watch or listen to anything with graphic violence or graphic sex. In addition to finding it offensive, it strikes me as rather unimaginative. Besides, there's already plenty of that in the daily news.

OMN: What are some of your outside interests? And do any of these find their way into your books?

LC: For the past several years, writing has been the most time-consuming and expensive hobby I've ever had. In the olden days, I loved to cook, garden, snow ski, scuba dive and, of course, travel. To date, the travel has provided bountiful riches for my books.

OMN: What kinds of feedback have your received from readers?

LC: I love it when readers ask about my travels and experiences in Egypt, especially now, as those memories are so bittersweet. I least enjoy questions and feedback about details that I consider irrelevant to the story, some aspect that I have not addressed. Outside of biography, it simply isn't possible to reveal the complete backgrounds of every character. And, after all, this is a series. Maybe their question will be answered in the next book!

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A native Texan, Lydia Crichton has traveled all over the world in her twenty-plus year career as a marketing and fundraising expert for nonprofit organizations. A trip to Egypt in 2002 turned into a life-changing odyssey, which led her to discover a passion for telling stories that entertain as they explore complex and controversial social and political issues. She currently lives in California's Napa Valley — the inspiration for a second book in the Julia Grant Series, woven around the shambles of illegal immigration in the U.S.

For more information about the author and her work, please visit her website at LydiaCrichton.com or find her on Facebook.

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Grains of Truth by Lydia Crichton

Grains of Truth
Lydia Crichton
A Julia Grant Novel of Suspense

Watch a trailer for the book, below.

While sitting alone along San Francisco's fabled waterfront, pacifist Julia Grant is startled by the greeting of a well-dressed stranger. Instantly her world is forever changed: Not only does he know her name, he knows where she's been.

From the quagmire of the Middle East conflict, an operative planted within the Muslim Brotherhood has led U.S. Intelligence to suspect a new terrorist plot. Enabled by The Patriot Act, federal agents exploit Julia's ill-fated relationship with a married Egyptologist to manipulate her into undertaking a "simple mission" to Cairo. Her misgivings about serving a government she fears are quickly justified when her contacts along the Nile are killed.

As her involvement in clandestine affairs grows ever deeper, so does her confusion about the direction her life should take … if she survives this increasingly perilous "simple mission".

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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