Tuesday, June 20, 2017

CHARACTER INTERVIEW WITH WENDY TYSON'S ALLISON CAMPBELL



ABOUT THE BOOK

Allison Campbell accepted a dream assignment: a visit to the Italian Dolomites to help Hollywood socialite Elle Rose reinvent herself. A guest cottage on the grounds of Elle’s historic castle promises to be a much-needed respite from Allison’s harried life on the Philadelphia Main Line, and the picturesque region, with its sharp peaks, rolling pastures, and medieval churches, is the perfect spot from which to plan her upcoming wedding.



Only this idyllic retreat is anything but peaceful. There are the other visitors—an entourage of back-biting expats and Hollywood VIPs. There’s Elle’s famous rock star father, now a shadowy recluse hovering behind the castle’s closed doors. And then there’s Elle’s erratic behavior. Nothing is as it seems. After a guest plummets to her death from a cliff on the castle grounds, Allison’s trip of a lifetime turns nightmarish—but before she can journey home, Allison must catch a killer.




ABOUT ALLISON CAMPBELL

Allison Campbell is Philadelphia’s premier image consultant. A dissertation shy of a PhD in psychology, she spends her days helping others reinvent themselves, but her biggest transformation was her own.

Allison had a troubled childhood. Determined to overcome an abusive family life, she decided to become a psychologist. While in graduate school, she grew close to a teenage patient who ran away and was presumed dead. Allison blamed herself. Eventually Allison moved to the Philadelphia Main Line and reinvented herself as an image consultant. She’s able to use her understanding of human nature and her own experiences as an outsider to assist others (and solve crimes), but no matter how successful she becomes, the mistakes of her past haunt her.


INTERVIEW WITH CHARACTER ALLISON CAMPBELL


Allison, how did you first meet Wendy?
I met Wendy in the late 90s, while she was in law school. She’d just left a job as a therapist in a residential treatment facility where she worked with troubled teens and their families. She wanted to go into law, and she’d moved her family back to the Philadelphia area, where she was from, to attend school on the Main Line. 

The transition was jarring. The kids she’d worked with before were largely poor and many had been abused. She saw their resiliency, though, and a goodness that shined despite their experiences.
Law school had been an emotional break, but law school—and the affluent Main Line suburbs—juxtaposed against her previous career made her think about image and the fact that what appears on the surface does not always match what’s underneath. So when she met me—an image consultant with a troubled past—she knew we’d work well together for this series.

Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

The end is pretty exciting. Storms, that imposing castle, the jagged mountains surrounding us . . . the bucolic Italian setting morphed into something bone-chilling by the end of Fatal Facade. No spoilers, but now that it’s over, I can say it was a night I will never forget.

What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
I work. A lot. I love spending time with Grace and Jason, though. I’ve vowed to make more time for fun.

If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Ha—the plot! I suppose it would have been nice to have gone to Italy, worked with a willing and engaged client, and explored the beautiful area without stress or a murder (or two) hanging over my head. Not quite how things worked out!

Tell the truth. What do you think of your fellow characters?
I love them. Truly. Jason, of course, who is the love of my life. While our relationship hasn’t been the standard love affair, he’s stuck by me through so much, and we’ve seen each other at our worst. I truly believe we can weather any storm that comes our way. Vaughn is a brother I never had growing up—Jamie, too. And Mia has been not only a mentor, but like a mother to me. And now with Grace sharing our home? Well, we may not have a family in the conventional sense, but that’s exactly what we have become. I can’t imagine my life without any one of them.

Do have any secret aspirations that your author doesn’t know about?
I’m a terrible cook, but I’m intrigued by people who can take basic ingredients and create something delicious with them. I’d love to learn to cook. In fact, I’ve always thought it would be fun to take classes from someone who teaches traditional methods of cooking with local ingredients, like the classes you find in Tuscany or the French countryside.

And I really need to take more self-defense classes. And maybe learn to shoot a gun (despite my feelings about weapons).



What impression do you make on people when they first meet you? How about after they've known you for a while?
I think sometimes I come across as reserved, or even intense. As people get to know me, they see my softer side. I can be playful and spontaneous—even silly. But I really have to know you to let my guard down. It’s something I’m working on.



What are you most afraid of?
Making an error in judgment that hurts someone I love. It’s happened before, and I’m terrified it could happen again.

What’s your author’s worst habit?
She can be a little messy and disorganized. She tends to keep a lot of things in her head rather than writing them down or keeping a calendar. I wish she’d accept some advice from me and take the time to arrange her schedule and her surroundings in a more orderly fashion. I think she’d find it time well spent. (Hint, Wendy!)



Describe an average day in your life.
When I’m not embroiled in a mystery? I wake up with Jason, and sometimes we find that Grace and Brutus, my Boxer, have crawled into bed with us. (If you knew me in Killer Image, you understand that this is a big deal—I was terrified of dogs and didn’t want a child in my life back then!) Jason and I make breakfast for the family. My cooking skills are limited, so that usually means toast and fruit, or maybe eggs from Mia’s chickens. Then I work out at the gym and get to work by eight.

From there my typical day consists of a series of client appointments, group sessions (recently divorced, job seekers, weight loss, etc.), speaking engagements, and executive training programs. I also write self-help books. My first one, From the Outside In, was pretty successful, so I’m writing another follow-up now.

Of course, when Vaughn and I get caught up in a mystery, predictability is the first thing to go. Thankfully I have loyal clients!

What makes you stand out from any other characters in your genre?
The role of image consultant is unusual. I don’t know of any other amateur sleuths who do what I do. One reviewer (Examiner.com) likened my series to Jonathan Kellerman’s Dr. Alex Delaware series and I rather liked the comparison. Dr. Delaware has his PhD, though, while I only have a background in psychology and am not a practicing therapist. But the background does come in handy when solving crimes.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Wendy Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again on a micro-farm with her husband, sons and two dogs. Wendy’s short fiction has appeared in literary journals, and she’s a contributing editor and columnist for The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy is the author of the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series.

Connect with Wendy:
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  

Buy the book:
Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  

6 comments:

  1. What a fun way to pique readers' interest! Love Allison and the whole gang at First Impressions.

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  2. Love it when the characters talk!

    Hope all is going well!

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  3. This was an amazing way to gain insight into your main character ter, Wendy. Loved the interview so much.
    So glad that the Allison Campbell series is slated for more books as this one just topped the first three which were amazing, so I just can't imagine how you will keep topping each. Great writing.

    Cynthia B.

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  4. Love this interview and your blog! Thank you so much for having Allison (and me) here yesterday!

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    1. Thank you. Happy to have you here!

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