Please welcome Lynn Chandler Willis, author of the Gypsy Moran Mystery series and other works.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
Coolish temperatures, crisp blue sky, the smell of a wood-burning fireplace, and the plot coming together so well you can’t type it fast enough. Then taking an hour hike in the woods with the dogs to stretch your legs and mind.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase/expression, or meal?
My signature accessory would probably be my laptop! It goes just about everywhere with me—one of the perks of writing by an outline is you don’t stare at a blank screen as often because you know where the story is going.
Which books/authors inspired or influenced you the most?
The greats—Steinbeck and Hemingway, and more recently Elmore Leonard. I’m also a big fan of Michael Robotham.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Almost always. Before I even begin writing a particular story, I have a personal soundtrack in mind. I’ll create a playlist of tunes I feel captures the mood and atmosphere of what I’m hoping to convey, then the playlist is played on a loop while I’m writing.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
Dark chocolate because it’s not all sweetness and light. It has some darker angles, some stronger features than the happy-go-lucky of some of my previous work.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
I love the whole idea of private investigators and their lone-wolf attitude. They often find the structure of an organized police force too restrictive. If they play by the rules, more often than not, it’s their own set of rules.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Being true to oneself and coming to terms with past decisions, good or bad.
Tell us about your main character.
Michael “Gypsy” Moran is a private investigator who after spending twenty years in Vegas, returns to his tiny hometown of Wink, Texas. Although a native Texan, he is anti-cowboy boots, anti-Stetson, and terrified of horses and cows. But he does like his football. He’s got a smart mouth on him that often lands him in trouble. He can hold his own in any fight but he does walk away bruised and battered. He’s not squeaky clean. And although he’d never admit it (especially to himself) there’s a very soft heart underneath the tough guy persona.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Gerard Butler (cockiness and physical looks), James Bond (tech savvy and ladies man), Tim Riggins (Friday Night Lights bad boy).
If you could host a mystery-author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Michael Robotham, Margaret Maron, Steve Hamilton, John Hart, James Lee Burke, and Alafair Burke. Love, love, love them all and not only do I read them for enjoyment, I study how they do it.
What’s next for you?
Wink and a Nod – the second book in the Gypsy Moran Mystery series
Lynn Chandler Willis was the first woman in a decade to win the St. Martin’s Press/PWA Best 1st P.I. Novel competition with her novel, Wink of an Eye. The novel went on to make the finalist cut for the prestigious Shamus Award. She is the author of two other books—The Rising (Grace Award winner, Pelican Book Group 2013) and the best-selling true crime, Unholy Covenant (Addicus Books, 2000). She was born and raised, and continues to live, in the heart of North Carolina.
Connect with Lynn at: lynnchandlerwillis.com