Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Conversation with Mystery Author BV Lawson

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with BV Lawson
with BV Lawson

We are delighted to welcome mystery author BV Lawson to Omnimystery News today.

BV's series character Scott Drayco has been featured in a number of short stories, but she has recently given him a full-length novel in which he can practice his craft — Played To Death (Crimetime Press; July 2014 trade paperback and ebook formats).

We recently had the opportunity to talk with her about both the character and the book.

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Omnimystery News: Introduce us to Scott Drayco. What is it about him that appeals to you as a writer?

BV Lawson
Watercolor provided
courtesy of BV Lawson

BV Lawson: Scott Drayco was a promising piano prodigy until a violent brush with crime ended his career and left his right arm scarred. Seeing this as a chance to find justice for other victims, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his formerly-estranged father with a storied career in the FBI, followed by private consulting. But he didn't leave music behind entirely and finds that the complex counterpoint of J.S. Bach helps him puzzle through thorny investigations.

He also has chromesthesia, a form of synesthesia, where he sees all sounds and voices as colors, shapes, and textures. Although he's the first to say this doesn't make him a "Super Detective," his unusual perceptions of the world often work their way into cases. Drayco is a gem to write, not just because of my own musical background, but because his quirkiness and brilliance makes me "up my game" to bring this unusual character to life.

OMN: Scott is familiar to readers of your short stories. How do you see him developing in this series?

BVL: I don't know how long this series will play out, but I have a rough idea of where it's headed. And Drayco will definitely change over time, especially since he's currently in his mid-30s, leaving me quite a bit of room to play with. His relationships with various other characters will also evolve, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes him. For instance, his relationships with women are a bit rocky as he seems to attract married women — despite having a personal ban on getting involved with married women — yet it's two married female characters in the first few books who will be keeping him befuddled and unsure of his footing. We'll also eventually learn more about his father, his AWOL mother, and the real reason Drayco left the Bureau.

OMN: Give us a summary of Played To Death in a tweet.

BVL: A body found in a rundown Opera House with a "G" carved on his chest lures a former FBI agent into a web of music, madness and murder.

OMN: Into which mystery genre would you place this series?

BVL: When I started thinking about the Drayco series, I knew I wanted him to be a private consultant, but not a traditional private eye because I prefer writing in third person. Drayco is a consulting detective who primarily assists law enforcement agencies with his FBI experience and knowledge, so I ended up with a "P.I. procedural" that also combines elements of traditional mysteries and suspense. Unfortunately, agents, publishers, and bookstores tend to like more rigid labels, meaning this series is not easily classifiable. I like the general term "crime fiction" to apply to all forms of the genre, or "detective fiction," often used in the U.K. (Plus, my short stories run the gamut from cozies to noir.) But "mystery novel" also works, which is likely where you'd find the Drayco series shelved in a library.

OMN: How true are you to the settings of your stories?

BVL: Drayco lives in Washington, D.C., but his investigations take him all over the Mid-Atlantic. Some of those settings will be real and others fictional. The small coastal town of Cape Unity is fictional, although it's inspired by an amalgam of different towns on the Eastern Shore of Virginia (the characters are entirely out of my own imagination). I'm sure any readers in that region will be surprised to find there's a Prince of Wales County they've never heard of! I became fascinated with the Eastern Shore after several trips there, particularly how unspoiled it is, although that is rapidly changing with the influx of D.C. weekenders and the growing Wallops Island rocket launch facility. That tension of old versus new makes for some fascinating plot possibilities.

OMN: Tell us a little more about your writing process.

BVL: A perfect day would be to go to the gym and get the blood flowing to those "little gray cells," then sit down in front of my laptop in my quiet little writing cave for the next eight hours meeting my daily word count. Unfortunately, life's little interventions often mean I have to write in fits and starts. This is one reason I'm an avowed outliner, creating fairly detailed plot and scene maps using software like Scrivener and yWriter to lay everything out. That way, it's much easier to hop in and out of the story as time permits. I always keep a notebook handy, even beside my bed, for ideas that pop up unexpectedly — which is often.

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

BVL: Because of my librarian genes, I'm a dedicated researcher. When I found I was going to a lot of the same sites over and over, I decided to create the blog In Reference to Murder and its accompanying site filled with 3,500+ links relating to crime fiction research and writing in general. Due to a limited budget, I can't do a lot of traveling (except for the Eastern Shore as noted above), so I try to find primary, reliable Internet resources to help with details. And I'm really grateful for law enforcement blogs and forums, and especially for Google Earth. Although I do like to haunt local routes and locales mentioned in stories to get the sights, sounds, and logistics just right.

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

BVL: I love hearing from people who have connected with Drayco, because that makes it all worthwhile. One reviewer noted "He is a complex character that leaves you wanting to know more about who he is." It's also gratifying to hear that people enjoyed the setting and getting to know the supporting cast, and are looking forward to reading the next installment. That's all any author could ask.

OMN: Have mystery books always been a part of your life? What kinds of books did you read when you were young?

BVL: My mother, the librarian, was my dealer who fed my book habit. I would read anything she brought home, and indeed she introduced me to a wide variety of literature in almost every genre imaginable. However, her personal favorites were mysteries — Rex Stout, Agatha Christie, Ellery Queen, Dorothy Gilman — so I naturally gravitated toward mysteries, myself.

OMN: What's next for you?

BVL: Book #2 in the Drayco series, Requiem for Innocence, is scheduled for release in late November or early December. The third and fourth books will hopefully be published next year, schedules willing. I also have a second series I'm working on involving a Vermont police detective and his unusual partner, a con woman extraordinaire, that I hope to get published soon, perhaps 2015. Farther out, I have ideas and very rudimentary outlines for an historical crime fiction saga, as well as a potential trilogy that may or may not be young adult-oriented. Plus, I hope to continue writing short stories and poetry.

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BV Lawson's award-winning stories, poems and articles have appeared in dozens of national and regional publications and anthologies. A three-time Derringer Award finalist and 2012 winner for her short fiction, BV was also honored by the American Independent Writers and Maryland Writers Association for her Scott Drayco series. BV currently lives in Virginia with her husband and enjoys flying above the Chesapeake Bay in a little Cessna.

For more information about the author, please visit her website at BVLawson.com and her author page on Goodreads, or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Played To Death by BV Lawson

Played To Death
BV Lawson
A Scott Drayco Mystery

Still suffering nightmares from a case that ended tragically, brilliant freelance crime consultant Scott Drayco considers retiring from crime solving altogether. When a former client bequeaths Drayco a rundown Opera House in a Virginia seaside town, he figures he'll arrange for a quick sale of the place, while nursing his battered soul in a peaceful setting near the shore. What he doesn't count on is finding a dead body on the Opera House stage, a mysterious "G" carved into the man's chest.

With hopes for a quick sale dashed and himself a suspect in the murder, Drayco digs into old secrets buried like shells beneath the sand in order to solve the crime and clear his name. Along the way, Drayco must dodge a wary Sheriff, hostility over coastal development, and the seductive wife of a town councilman — before the tensions explode into more violence and he becomes the next victim.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  iTunes iBook Format  Kobo eBook Format

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting me today, Lance. I appreciate all the good work you do in promoting crime fiction authors and books!

    ReplyDelete

 

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