Please welcome Arlene Kay, author of Intrusion and Die Laughing; her Eja Kane/Deming Swann series is forthcoming.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Finding a great bargain at an upscale store; attending an auction with pals; and lunching at a fine restaurant. Sounds terribly crass but there it is.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
I use fragrance as a signature for me and my protagonists. CREED is a scent that captivates me and in my books both the principal male and female wear some variation of it. Really cool fact: many of their offerings were originally custom creations for famous people like Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Throughout my childhood, we moved so often that books were my only constant. Albert Payson Terfune, Walter Farley and Agatha Christie kept me company. Animal stories make me weep, so I was a morose child.
Do you listen to music when you write?
I write while listening to and often singing (badly) to music. For love scenes, I choose sexy ballads especially those sung by Michael McDonald and Nina Simone. Action segments require sprightly tunes. Favorites include Robin Thicke, Donna Summer, and Stevie Wonder. Lately, anything by Chris Botti intrigues me.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
My latest (Die Laughing), would be a peanut butter cup, irresistible, luscious on the tongue, and deadly to the hips. Not an elite treat but accessible to anyone and fabulous.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
Two items in the New York Times captivated me. One recounted the brutal murder of a small town senior who had no known enemies. The other involved sales of high end comic books for over one million dollars. Put them together, and I asked the writer’s question: what if?
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Triumph of justice; avenging a fallen friend; finding that special someone; reclaiming or discovering one’s purpose in life; using humor to navigate the world and an abiding love for animals.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Nicole Nelson is a focused, ambitious young graduate student and scholarship recipient who is determined to succeed in life. She is a fiercely loyal friend who vows to avenge the woman who befriended her.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Nicole has a touch of Eliza Bennet, the sharp humor of Dorothy Parker, and the steely reserve of Scarlett O’Hara. She’s young and beautiful but nobody’s fool.
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Agatha Christie; Dashiell Hammet; Gore Vidal; Elizabeth Peters; Edgar Allen Poe and Susan Isaacs. It would be quite a gathering!
What’s next for you?
I’m toiling away on my third Eja/Deming mystery which should appear in 2015.
After a stint as a senior executive with one of those unnamed Federal alphabet agencies, Arlene turned to her real love—writing mysteries with a dollop of humor and a side of romance. She quickly discovered that rejection envelops most writers like a noxious fog. Her first romantic suspense series, featuring Grace Quinn/Patrick Fong never found a publishing home, however, two stand alone mysteries, Intrusion and Die Laughing were released in 2011 and 2012, and the Eja Kane/Deming Swann series will appear in 2014. Pluck, perseverance, and discipline finally triumphed over adversity!