Monday, November 23, 2015

A Conversation with Mystery Author LynDee Walker

Omnimystery News: Author Interview with LynDee Walker

We are delighted to welcome author LynDee Walker to Omnimystery News today, courtesy of Great Escapes Book Tours, which is coordinating her current book tour. We encourage you to visit all of the participating host sites; you can find her schedule here.

LynDee's 5th mystery in her popular Headlines in High Heels series is Cover Shot (Henery Press; November 2015 trade paperback and ebook formats) and we recently had the opportunity to spend some time with her talking about it.

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Omnimystery News: We're familiar with your series lead Nichelle Clark, having read some of the earlier books in the series, but for the benefit of our readers, introduce her to us. What is it about her that appeals to you as a writer?

LynDee Walker
Photo provided courtesy of
LynDee Walker

LynDee Walker: My heroine is a cops and courts reporter with a big heart, a strong sense of justice, and a weakness for great shoes. Nichelle has a whole slew of fun friends, including an editor who's the father she never had, a former hotshot baseball player who keeps the paper afloat with his popular sports column, an ATF agent who's a former flame looking to rekindle their relationship, and a sexy mafia-connected mystery man she can't seem to stay away from.

I love Nichelle and her friends, and I love playing in their world. I spent ten years as a journalist before I was a mom, so the newsroom and the people you find there feel like home to me.

OMN: As you've written the series, have you tried to keep Nichelle the same person who appeared in the first book or have you allowed her to develop and evolve?

LW: Definitely develop. As an author I see the advantage of having things stay the same, but part of the fun of writing for me is catching up with the characters and seeing what they've been up to. And I love seeing them grow. Nichelle is a good person, but she has some issues, and seeing her work on herself, as well as the mystery, is so satisfying for me. And the secondary characters get to grow, too. Grant Parker has gone from Captain Notch-on-the-Bedpost to a committed relationship, Joey cooks, Bob is trying to balance his life — I love seeing how they evolve.

OMN: Into which genre do you place this series?

LW: I categorize the books as traditional mystery, or possibly humorous mystery.

I think the super fun cover art and humor tend to make some folks want to call them cozy, but if your definition of "cozy" is an utter lack of colorful language, sex, and violence, you're not going to think they're cozy.

It's not that those elements are a huge part of any of the stories, but they're there. There's a romance that runs through all the books, murder scenes are often gross, and I'm sorry, y'all, but I covered cops for 10 years, and can safely say that "Gosh darnit, there's a dead body in here," fits in the "said no police officer, ever" folder.

OMN: Give us a summary of Cover Shot as a tweet.

LW: How far would you go for love? For the truth? Nichelle has both on the line this time, plus a killer looking to make this deadline her last.

OMN: You were a reporter before you started this series. How much of your professional experience have you included in the books?

LW: I was a reporter for many years, though I feel like a dinosaur when I think about it too hard — everything was different back then. Cell phones didn't have cameras, there was no Twitter, and Facebook was for kids. Where you see my experience in the books, mostly, is in her interviewing skills — I was good at talking to people, and really good at getting them to talk to me.

But Nichelle isn't me. She's braver and sassier, and she can run in four-inch heels. She's superwoman.

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

LW: The story develops as I write, something a lovely author friend called "emergent writing" once, and I've stolen her term because it sounds so much nicer than "pantsing." It definitely creates more revision work for me, because sometimes I go down paths that lead nowhere. But the fun of writing (just like reading) is seeing what happens next in the story, and my favorite moments are when that perfect twist pops in and I gasp right out loud as I'm typing. That makes the extra revision time worth it.

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

LW: My books are set in my adopted hometown of Richmond, Virginia, and they're true to the city for the most part, though there are places and things I've changed the names of, mostly to avoid business folks getting upset about murders occurring on their premises.

The baseball team's name had nothing to do with murder, though — when I was writing the rough draft of Front Page Fatality (for fun, not because I thought anyone would actually want to read it) Richmond didn't have a baseball team, and I wanted one for my story. So I figured if I was making one up, it might as well be a major league team.

It wasn't until we were in the second round of edits and it dawned on me that we did (by then) have a AA team, that I asked my editor if she wanted me to change it to be correct. She told me to leave the major league Generals, and the team has been important in several of the books in the series.

OMN: If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, to research the setting for a book, where would it be?

LW: Australia. I've always wanted to go there, and I think Nichelle could get up to some interesting hijinks doing a reporting swap with a news outlet covering the outback. Not that I've considered this seriously or anything.

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

LW: I read a little of just about everything growing up, but my favorite books were always mysteries. Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, Jupiter Jones, and just about anything with Betty Wren Wright's name on the spine were my favorites.

It does seem that I write what I've always liked to read: mystery series with fun characters I enjoy spending time with.

OMN: What do you read today for pleasure?

LW: I adore Jaine Austen from Laura Levine's series, and I love Hank Phillipi Ryan's Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan. Jaine is so well-meaning and endearing, and who doesn't love a woman who names her cat Prozac?

Jane Ryland is brilliant and resourceful and tenacious, and Jake is strong and sexy and such a good match for her. I can't wait to see where Hank is going with their story.

OMN: What kinds of films do you enjoy watching?

LW: I like a little of most everything, but my favorite movies combine action with humor and maybe a touch of romance. Ask my favorite Christmas movie and I'll say Die Hard. But I also love Miracle on 34th Street and It's a Wonderful Life.

OMN: What's next for you?

LW: I'm finishing up the new Nichelle book this month, and I have had a blast with this story! For fear of spoilers, I can't say much, but I've gotten to catch up with loads of old imaginary friends in this one, and it's been great fun. Look for Lethal Lifestyles in September 2016!

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LynDee Walker Book Tour

LynDee Walker adores her family, her readers, and enchiladas. She often works out tricky plot points while walking off the enchiladas. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, where she is either playing with her children, working on her next novel, or admiring beautiful shoes she can't wear.

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

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Cover Shot by LynDee Walker

Cover Shot by LynDee Walker

A Nichelle Clark, Headlines in High Heels Mystery

Publisher: Henery Press

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

It's been a slow news month in Richmond, and crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is enjoying the downtime when ominous messages and a dead body kick things into high gear. And that's before the guy with the rifle takes a hospital full of people hostage.

Up to the top of her knee-high Prada boots in leads, Nichelle finds her favorite detectives under pressure to make an arrest, but it doesn't add up — and ignoring the "why" of this story could cost Nichelle the most important person in her life.

With too much to lose, a shot at the story of a lifetime, and a missing bullet that might be the key, landing this headline could save the day, but can Nichelle dig up the truth before the killer buries her with it?

Cover Shot by LynDee Walker

1 comment:

  1. Oh, thank you! SO lovely of you…and back at you! (And in my other series, starting with PRIME TIME, the main character Charlotte named her cat Botox. So there you have it.) xoxoo

    xoxo

    ReplyDelete

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