Please give a warm welcome to my special guest Alyssa Lyons.
Alyssa Lyons, like her character Jordan Davis, lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. The South is her playground. Its eccentricities fuel her stories. She specializes in “Solving Crimes Southern Style.” However, unlike Jordan, she is a cat person—rather she is staff to two cats she rescued. Like most cats, they believe they were the ones doing the saving and therefore she owes them. She taught high school American history and government, worked for the CIA and is a retired attorney. Or as she is fond of saying, “I am a recovering attorney.” How did you start your writing career? After years of reading books in my favorite genres, it occurred to me I could do better, so I wrote a romance novel. Then lined the litter box that first copy and started rewriting, and rewriting and writing. Once they no longer were kitty litter liners, I bought a book on how to get a romance novel published, began to gather submission guidelines, submit over the transom, and collect rejection letters. Finally, I submitted to small press which is a better fit for my outside-the-box stories. Does travel play in the writing of your books? Not in the first two books of the Jordan Davis Mystery series. Last Wishes, which is available now, and Clubbed to Death, released in May 2011, take place in and around Lynchburg, Virginia. But the third book in the series, Stabbed and Slabbed, which will be released mid-summer 2011, takes place on a honeymoon cruise from hell. Tell us about your current release. Last Wishes: Jordan Davis Mysteries Book 1, published by Black Opal Books. Jordan Davis obeys the law when it suits her. Right now isn’t one of those times. She knows someone is out to kill women in her hometown. Could the killer be sexy Judge Grayson Trent? Or is he Jordan’s only chance of uncovering the real murderer. Tell us about your next release. Clubbed to Death: Jordan Davis Mysteries Book 2, released mid May 2011. Newly minted private detective Jordan Davis, and her new partner, her lover Gray's mother, take on a murder case—proving Jordan’s half-sister innocent of killing the President of the Junior League. As Jordan gets closer to discovering the truth, the killer is determined to see her dead and recover those three kids she and Gray are hiding. Where do you research for your books? No surprise, the Internet is a great source of factoids and details that add color, but I also travel around Lynchburg, taking photos and collecting brochures. Then too, my husband is a Lynchburg native, and his 100-year-old mother lives with us and knows where all the bodies are buried, because she’s been to all the funerals. And trust me, she loves to talk. At her age, secrets are no longer secret. Who are your books published with? The Jordan Davis Mystery series is published by Black Opal Books. They’re wonderful to work with and have great editors. And believe me when I say you are edited—three times. Their website is: http://www.blackopalbooks.com/ Do you use a pen name? If so, how did you come up with it? Yes, Alyssa Lyons is a pen name. Since I write so close to home, I prefer to keep my identity private rather than risk being ridden out of town on a rail. And if you know anything about Lynchburg, you’ll realize this is the truth, especially given I skewer all the sacred cows. What are your favorite TV shows? I like police procedurals such as The Closer, CSI, Bones, Law & Order, Criminal Minds, and Forensic Files. I also like The Big Bang Theory because it has some of the best writing on TV. I also love White Collar, Leverage, and Burn Notice. Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they? Study the market. Read extensively in the genre you want to write. I can’t tell you how many aspiring writers I’ve met who thinks they can write and sell in a genre they don’t ever read. And write. Get your manuscript finished. Unless you’re writing non-fiction, you’ll have trouble marketing an unfinished manuscript. And polish your basic grammar and spelling skills. I have worked as an editor and it shocks me how many writers have no idea about proper punctuation—particularly the use of commas—the use ellipses in lieu of commas, and the use of a homophone or malaprop instead of the word intended. Tell us about your favorite fan letter you have received. I have two. I got a letter once from a fan who chastised me because she started reading one of my books at 10pm to help her sleep and was still up reading it at 4am because it kept her so involved. My second one came from a man. He said I was one of the few female writers who really knew how to write me. Alyssa’s Blog & website: http://www.alyssalyons.com/ Read an excerpt from Last Wishes: http://www.alyssalyons.com/?page_id=32