Please welcome Wendy Tyson, author of the Allison Campbell mysteries and other works.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Up early to write (undisturbed), followed by a leisurely breakfast with my husband and a day outside with my husband and the kids—at the beach or maybe touring a new city. More (undisturbed) writing time in the late afternoon, followed by dinner and a movie with my family in the evening. My eleven-year-old twins love “family movie night”—and I love that they still love it.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
My husband and I have a huge organic garden—it covers most of our small lot. I suppose I’m known for my cooking, which usually includes vegetables picked from the yard. We live near Philadelphia, and we’ve even begun to grow vegetables in hoop houses over the winter. It was fun to pick fresh spinach and arugula last February when there was a foot of snow on the ground.
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
Linda King and Carol Lizell, two third grade teachers. Both made an indelible impression on me—pretty impressive considering that was 30+ years ago. And my first creative writing instructor in college. In addition to being a great teacher, she sent my short story, which counted as our final exam, to my house after the term was over with a note encouraging me to consider pursuing writing as a career. I was a bit lost in college, and that note (and the A on the story) meant a great deal to me at a time when I needed a boost. I still have that letter.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Absolutely, although the music I listen to while writing changes for each novel (and is different than what I would typically listen to). It’s kind of like pregnancy in that way—the cravings are odd, seemingly random and vary with each “kid.” With KILLER IMAGE, I listened almost exclusively to Vivaldi. With DEADLY ASSETS, it was a combination of Gregorian chant and Celtic music—go figure. And with DYING BRAND, due out in May, it’s been Bach and the Australian singer Sia.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Really good quality dark Italian chocolate. You’ll have to read DEADLY ASSETS to find out why. Trust me, it fits.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I had an idea that I couldn’t shake: What if two of Allison Campbell’s clients disappeared on the same day and there was no obvious connection between them? This concept became the basis for DEADLY ASSETS. When I started writing, I had no idea what the connection would be, which made writing this novel particularly challenging.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
The ability (or inability) people have to change. Image, and what exists under the façade. Family, and how we define that word. Redemption. I had a pretty happy, well-adjusted childhood, but you might not know it from some of the darker themes that exist in my novels.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality. What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today?
Allison Campbell is an image consultant on the Main Line of Philadelphia. She spends her days helping others reinvent themselves, but she’s a product of her own reinvention. A dissertation shy of a PhD in psychology, Allison left graduate school a decade prior after a tragedy with a patient. The tragedy continues to haunt her, as does a troubled childhood. The Allison we meet now is polished and successful, but it’s her experiences as an outsider that allow her to see below the façade and help people find the best in themselves (and solve crimes!).
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Maura Isles, Alex Delaware and Dear Abby (Abigail Van Buren).
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
What fun! I say let’s mix it up—I’d invite Ernest Hemingway, Isaac Asimov, Stephen King, P.D. James, Shakespeare and Toni Morrison.
What’s next for you?
I am about to hand in the third book in the Allison Campbell mystery series, DYING BRAND, which is due out May 26, 2015. I’m working on a few additional projects, including a standalone thriller and a cozy series.
Wendy Tyson is an author, corporate lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy has written three crime novels. Her latest, DEADLY ASSETS, the second Allison Campbell mystery, was released on July 22. The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named one of the ten best mysteries for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy has also authored THE SEDUCTION OF MIRIAM CROSS (under W. A. Tyson). Wendy is a member of International Thriller Writers Debut Authors Committee and a contributing editor to THE BIG THRILL, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs. Visit Wendy at: http://www.watyson.com