Interview: Kendel Lynn

Please welcome Kendel Lynn, author of the Elliott Lisbon mystery series.

What’s your idea of a perfect day?
A day at Disneyland. I love walking beneath the arch with the sign: Here you leave today, and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy. Walk down Main Street USA, visit all my favorite spots, ride the rides, eat churros and frozeboardstiffn bananas, lunch in Frontierland and dinner in the Bayou. Watch the fireworks over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at the end of the day, then dream of going back again.

Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?

I’m awfully fond of In-N-Out burgers and cupcakes. Together in one meal and I get all weak-kneed.

Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Stephen King (nobody writes the way he does), Sue Grafton (all-time favorite series, read each one at least 5 times, A is for Alibi probably 10), Janet Evanovich (One for the Money set the bar for the humorous mystery genre).

Do you listen to music when you write?
Nope. I love the quiet. I barely listen to music when in my car!

If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Godiva dark chocolate heart: fun, romantic, and mysterious.

What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I’d written a middle-grade mystery and wanted to try my hand at an adult amateur sleuth. Once I dreamt up Elliott, I was off. I loved the idea of a formal boardroom set on a casual island filled with eccentric characters.

What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Independence and imperfection. I like strong women characters who can get it done on their own, but who make mistakes along the way.

Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Elliott strives for approval from her surrogate parents, the Ballantynes. She never wants to let them down. From overachieving as the directory of the Ballantyne Foundation, to performing discreet inquiries for board members, Elliott never gives up. Even if she sometimes gets it wrong.

Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.

Part Kinsey Millhone, part Achy McNally, part Monk.

If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich, Marsha Muller, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Charlaine Harris, J.K. Rowling. (All living; it would be weird to have dead people there.) I’d need lots of wine to hold down the nerves, and a fabulous caterer because I don’t cook.

What’s next for you?
Whack Job, the second Elliott Lisbon mystery (January 2014) is underway. I’m excited to be knee deep into her next adventure!


Kendel Lynn is a Southern California native who now parks her flip-flops in Dallas, Texas. She read her first Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators at the age of seven and has loved mysteries ever since. Her debut novel, Board Stiff, won several literary competitions, including the Zola Award for Mystery/Suspense. Along with writing and reading, she spends her time as the managing editor of Henery Press where she acquires, edits, and figures out ways to avoid the gym but still eat cupcakes for dinner.

Twitter: @Kendel_Lynn


10 thoughts on “Interview: Kendel Lynn”

  1. Love this interview, Kendel! I enjoyed BOARD STIFF. Looking forward to WHACK JOB! And I’m glad In-N-Out Burger came to the Dallas area… one of my favorites as well.
    ~ Anna L. Davis, Editorial Intern, Henery Press


  2. Great interview, Kendel! I’m looking forward to reading the series–Board Stiff is on my dresser right now and, as soon as I turn in grades for this semester, I’m starting it. It’s my reward. 🙂

    Congrats on everything.

    ps: Fireworks over the castle would definitely be in my favorite day, too.


  3. Thanks you guys, for all the kind words. I’m such a So Cal girl (INO, Disneyland, Sue G). And yes, DV, you’re welcome to sneak into the dinner party! Very cool to see the Mysteristas growing…


  4. I missed this yesterday, but what a fun interview, ladies!

    Here’s what I learned: Kendel and I feel the same way about Disney. Though I’m on the east coast and we go to Disney World, I’d like to visit Disneyland, and I love, love, love going there on vacation. Probably as much or more than my children do.

    Also, I’m going to have to try one of those burgers. Every friend I have on the west coast raves about them, and I hear they’ve come to Dallas, so I’m adding it to my food list.

    Can’t wait for Elli’s next adventure! Congratulations, Kendel!


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