I named Wendy Tyson to my list of authors that need a bigger audience. I also named the first book in her Allison Campbell Mystery series, Killer Image, to my list of best mystery for book clubs in 2014.
Wendy wrote The Seduction of Miriam Cross, published by ELit books, which features private investigator Delilah Percy Powers. Tell us a little about the book.
The Seduction of Miriam Cross is about Delilah Percy Powers, a displaced cowgirl and private investigator, who, along with her staff of female detectives—a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress, and a former stripper—set out to discover who killed Miriam Cross. Miriam was an author, feminist, and philanthropist who disappeared from her Philadelphia home a year before. When a lonely recluse named Emily Cray was brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town, authorities realized that Miriam and Emily were one and the same. Why did Miriam disappear—and who killed her while she was in hiding? As Delilah and her detectives delve into Miriam’s life, they become submerged in an underworld of unfathomable cruelty and greed with implications that go far beyond the gruesome death of one woman or the boundaries of one country. Eventually Miriam’s fight for justice becomes Delilah’s own…until Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth proves just as deadly.
Was this intended to be a series? Do you plan to continue it?
This was originally intended to be a series. Unfortunately, the publisher is no longer in existence and the book is not available. I loved this book, though. It deals with some tough issues (like human trafficking) and stars some truly kick-ass women. We’re still deciding what to do with it.
The Allison Campbell Mystery series published by Henery Press features an image consultant. Tell us a little bit about the series and are you continuing it?
The Allison Campbell Mystery Series from Henery Press features Allison Campbell. Allison, Philadelphia’s premier image consultant, is a dissertation shy of a PhD in psychology. While she spends her time helping others reinvent themselves, her biggest reinvention was her own. Allison lost a patient years ago, while a graduate student. The girl, an abused teen whom Allison mentored and counseled, ran away and is presumed dead. Allison blamed herself. With nowhere to turn, she left school, picked herself up, and created a life on the Philadelphia Main Line. But the tragedy continues to haunt and define her.
In the first book, Allison must clear the name of a client—a rather difficult fifteen-year-old daughter of a White House hopeful—when the teen, a self-proclaimed witch, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney. Allison uses her background in psychology and her experiences as an outsider to delve beneath the surface and find the truth.
I’m thrilled to say that the series will continue. The next Allison adventure, Fatal Façade, comes out on June 13, 2017. This time Allison and her friends will solve a murder in a castle in the stunning Italian Dolomites.
I found the occupation of an image consultant, someone that was able to reinvent themselves was fascinating. How did you come up with that character and who would you choose to play her in a movie?
The idea actually came to me while in law school on the Philadelphia Main Line and it grew out of the juxtaposition of two careers. I had just left a counseling job in which I worked with underprivileged and at-risk youth. While counseling, I saw some of the worst that humanity has to offer, but I also glimpsed the resiliency of the human spirit. Many of those kids had been through hell, and while bruised and battered by their experiences, they maintained an incredible capacity for kindness and loyalty. Going from that job to law school on the Main Line was a difficult transition. For those not familiar with the Main Line, it’s a beautiful suburb of Philadelphia—old money, gorgeous estates, upscale shopping, prestigious schools. Many of my fellow students came from privileged backgrounds, and I was living a very different life. The experience—or rather the two experiences back-to-back—triggered musings about image and the fact that what we see is not always what’s underneath. I wanted to capture that in a series. I wanted to play with the themes of reinvention and change. Thus, Allison Campbell was born.
Who would I choose to play Allison?
I’m terrible at those questions because I rarely watch television. Maybe Emily Blunt? Allison is serious…but there is an underlying sense of humor and irony about what she does, and she can be very self-deprecating. An actress would need to be able to capture those qualities.
Your newest series is the Greenhouse Mystery Series, published by Henery Press. Tell us a little bit about it. What inspired you to write it?
The Greenhouse Series introduces Megan Sawyer, an environmental attorney who leaves her Chicago law firm to return to her roots in the fictional small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania. In A Muddied Murder, the first book in the series, Megan, with the help of her spirited and resourceful grandmother, is determined to turn her family’s failing farm and storefront into a thriving organic farm and cafe. But obstacles abound—and most of them come from the town’s overzealous zoning commissioner. When the zoning commissioner is found bludgeoned to death in Megan’s barn, Megan must dig through small-town secrets and local politics to clear her name and find a killer.
This series is a little more “cozy” than the Campbell series or The Seduction of Miriam Cross. My husband and I are avid organic gardeners and we’ve turned our small suburban lot outside of Philly into a micro-farm. We also started an urban farm a few years back, although that was derailed due to local politics. I am passionate about food and sustainable living, and the Greenhouse Series has presented a way to combine two loves—organic gardening and mysteries. It’s also been away to showcase strong women. More and more women are becoming farmers, and it’s been incredible to watch their progress and commitment to regenerative agriculture. Megan and her grandmother are smart, strong, resourceful characters. Each has baggage and vulnerabilities, but they use wit and emotional strength to overcome obstacles—and solve mysteries.
Share a little bit about your background.
As I mentioned above, my background is in psychology and law. I spent the first years out of college in graduate school (for counseling psychology) working with at-risk teens at a treatment facility. I left that job to go to law school. I’m an ERISA attorney (points for anyone who knows what that is!) and now work full-time at a mutual fund company and write. In my way-back, I was a veterinary assistant, an experience that comes in handy with the Greenhouse Series.
When did you decide to become a writer and when did you start writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a young girl. I wrote my first short story when I was eight. It was about a ghost dog, and I proudly typed it on my little red typewriter. Since then, I’ve always had a pen in hand and a notebook in my bag. I started with short stories and tackled my first novel in my thirties.
Which writers inspire you?
I have been inspired by so many writers across an array of genres, so it’s hard to name just a few. Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth George…these are a few of my favorites and authors I turn to again and again.
What is your favorite book and why?
Probably The Stand by Stephen King. I think I learned to be an author by reading that book so many times. King tackles the universal theme of good versus evil, but it’s the richness of the world he builds and his incredible characters that make the story come alive. Genius.
What book/s are you reading at present?
I am finishing up Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs and reading A Woman’s Shed by Gill Heriz. A Woman’s Shed is not a novel. It’s a collection of photographs and essays about the spaces women create to work, write, build, grow, and escape. I’m fascinated by spaces, and this book has inspired me to think more about place and the settings in which we do our best work.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
First and foremost, read. I am always shocked when aspiring authors tell me they have no time to read. Make time—and read like a writer, not for entertainment. My second piece of advice—and this may sound harsh—is to bag the excuses. If you want to write, make it a priority. Write every day. You may have to sacrifice other things (like television or internet surfing), but if you set time aside to write, you will be surprised at how much you can accomplish. I have three kids, a husband, three dogs, and I work full-time. It’s possible—you just have to want it more than you want other things.
Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?
I love your site, Lynn, and I am thrilled to be here today. I’d like to mention that I have three books coming out in 2017: Bitter Harvest (Greenhouse mystery no. 2, March 7), Fatal Façade (Campbell mystery no. 4, June 13), and Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse mystery no. 3, November). It will be a busy year.
What is your favorite social media site?
It’s a tie between Facebook and Twitter. I feel like Facebook is a great way to get to know readers and other authors. I’ve met quite a few people through Facebook, and some of those “Facebook relationships” have developed into friendships. I love Twitter because of the sheer impact and reach. I am very involved in the sustainable food movement, and I have seen the impact grass roots organizations can have using Twitter.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Wendy-Tyson/e/B00DDTOEFW
Book Links: (* American, UK, etc.)
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Thank you again for having me here today!