Monday, March 7, 2011
Inteview with Alyssa Lyons
Alyssa Lyons is an author of Chick Mystery. Her newest work Last Wishes is available from Black Opal Books.
How did you come up with the title of your book?
Our heroine, Jordan Davis, runs a funeral boutique named “Last Wishes: You Wish It—We Guarantee It.” In addition, one of the murder victim’s leaves a last wish for her godson. This wish and the reason behind damages his sense of self and turns the lives of all those around him inside out.
What is Last Wishes about?
It’s a murder mystery and study of life in a small Virginia city. As with most of the South, the town is as much a character as the people in the story. In Last Wishes, Jordan Davis obeys the law when it suits her. Right now isn’t one of those times. She knows someone is killing older women in Lynchburg. What she has to figure is if the killer is the sexy Judge Grayson Trent or if he is her only chance of uncovering the real murderer before she’s his next victim.
What books have most influenced your life?
This is an interesting question. I’m tackling it from what influenced me most as a person. I don’t have any specific titles, but rather genres. My ability to adapt and go with the flow, even in the face of future shock, comes from having read science fiction and fantasy most of my life. For example, I read a story by Arthur C. Clark when I was just eight. It was about a communication satellite and control of the world. When the first one actually went up, Telstar I, I was shocked. I’d thought we’d had them for years. Another genre that has impacted me is mystery. I loved them from Nancy Drew and Perry Mason to now Daniel Silva and Tammy Hoag. These stories taught and remind me how to see beyond the obvious and open new ways of viewing problem solving.
However, if I were to choose two titles that I go back to year after year, they would be Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Cristo. Jane Eyre tells me that true love is not only possible but will win in the end over the most horrible obstacles. Monte Cristo reminds that there is justice in this world. This could explain why I write romance and mysteries.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Ray Bradbury because of his sense of wonder, his embracing of the future, and his delicious sense of irony. He is writes short stories, novels, screenplays, and stage plays. He’s also an excellent writer from a technical standpoint.
What are your current projects?
I have just finished Clubbed to Death and it should be released in late Spring of this year. In this story, Jordan’s half-sister is accused of murdering the president of the Junior League with a golf club. Now a private investigator, Jordan searches for the real murderer, uncovering a plot targeting orphan children that puts her own life at risk. Stabbed and Slabbed will come out a month or two later. In this book, Jordan and Gray, will on a honeymoon cruise from hell, must discover who killed an obnoxious comedian and clear their own names before the ship limps back into port.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Keeping track of the characters and the time line. In Clubbed to Death I was writing along, I just knew who the killer was. After all, I plot everything. Then halfway through, I realized she wasn’t the killer, someone else was. Thank goodness, my subconscious knew before I did, because all the clues were there and I only had to rewrite two sentences.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write. Take workshops and learn your craft, but realize each instructor is only expressing his or her opinion and what works for them. Finish your manuscript. Edit and edit some more. For your final edit, read the book aloud, line by line. You will be shocked at what needs to be fixed.
If you want to be published by an established publisher do your homework: know the market and its requirements. Don’t be discouraged by rejection letters, just keep writing and submitting. If you want to be an Indie, make sure your work is as polished and professional as possible, if necessary hire an editor, and treat it as a business. Because it is.
Blurb: He was a judge. He didn’t break the law…at least not until he met her. Judge Grayson Trent never suspected the woman his Aunt Becca hired to handle her funeral arrangements would be the very same woman who has consumed his fantasies from the moment he saw her standing before him in court. He soon discovers she hasn’t changed her ways. Not only is she still ignoring the rules when it suits her, now she’s a target for murderer. Unless, she is the murderer herself.
She wasn’t really breaking the law, just bending it a little…and all for a good cause. Jordan Davis sees nothing wrong in breaking a silly city ordinance, especially when it interferes with her fulfilling the last wishes of her clients. To her Judge Trent is a narrow-minded, overbearing stick in the mud—a very sexy and hot stick in the mud. Until it seems as if he is responsible for several murders. Maybe the hunk of a judge isn’t as law abiding as she thought. Or maybe they’re both in danger of being a killer’s next victim.
“There she is! That’s Jordan Davis! The woman ruining our lives!”
Judge Grayson Trent winced at his mother’s uncharacteristic outburst. Normally her voice never rose above a genteel drawl, except when yelling at him. As he slanted a glance to his right, the idling engine of the motorcycle beside them drew his attention—a red Triumph Rocket III. The rider wore a one-piece red-leather catsuit that he’d swear was painted on the long-legged figure of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model. A full face red helmet shielded her head from view, except for an enticing curly black ponytail brushing her lower back in the breeze.
Attached to the bike’s back, where the second seat should have been, was a red metal cage with roll bar.
He grinned at the panting black miniature Schnauzer, his front paws on the edge of the cage. He wore a custom-made red crash helmet with faceplate and a small black leather jacket. Emblazoned in red letters across the back was “Born to Ride.”
Gray chuckled. “The pooch looks capable of handling the controls.”
“It’s a trap. That sweet animal is just another one of her weapons.” Libby inched forward until they were even with the driver. “You don’t understand. She’s a charlatan! She draws in unsuspecting old people who have money with promises she’ll make their last wishes come true.”
“And this ruins our lives how.” Unable to stop himself from feasting his eyes on that red catsuit, he stared at the dog’s mistress. “Have you been fighting about Becca?”
“Gracious, no. We don’t even talk.”
“So what’s the problem?”
Then she raised the face shield on her helmet.
Their gazes met.
He groaned. “It’s her.”
She was a she-demon, a succubus. He’d seen her once, three thousand miles from here and been on fire since. He couldn’t go to sleep without seeing her dark blue eyes with touches of purple staring at him, beseeching him. Every night he imagined her splayed in his bed, her long, wavy black hair spread over his pillow filling his dreams with heat.
He hadn’t imagined he’d ever see her again. But he’d hoped he would. If he wanted his life back, he had to exorcise her from his mind, and what better time to start then now, on her home turf. That way when he left to return to California, he’d be free of her.
His eyes widened at of the look surprise on her face. Or was that interest? He hoped the former, yet both dreaded and desired the latter. As a judge and knowing what she was, he should have nothing to do with her. He snorted. Yeah, tell that to the fantasies kept up at night and put her face on every woman he was with.
Narrowing his eyes, he returned her look with his most judicial glare, the one guaranteed to put the fear of God into criminal defendants appearing before him.
Except for her.
Surprise lit her eyes. Then she did the damnedest thing—gave him a slow, sexy smile and winked.
God help him. He thought she’d learned her lesson in San Francisco when he almost tossed her in jail for twenty-four hours for defacing public property. Instead, he’d let her off with a fine and warning. If his mother was right, she hadn’t learned a thing.
The moment the light turned green, she shot him a sassy grin, tapped the shield back into place and peeled off down Boonsboro Road, the schnauzer hanging on for dear life.