Sunday, November 3, 2013

Featured Author: W.A. Tyson

W.A. Tyson is the author of the mystery/thriller The Seduction of Miriam Cross, published by E-Lit Books, and she's on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Don't miss the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post for a chance to win a $25 gift card and an ARC.

About the book:

A sordid sex tape.

A venture capital firm.

A secret society of women.

A Catholic nun.

Can Delilah figure out who killed Miriam Cross . . . . before she becomes the killer’s next target?

Miriam Cross, author, feminist and philanthropist, disappears from her Philadelphia home.  A year later, a lonely recluse named Emily Cray is brutally murdered in her bed in a small Pennsylvania town.  Miriam and Emily are one and the same.

As Delilah and her staff of female detectives – a militant homemaker, an ex-headmistress and a former stripper – 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 …. and Delilah’s obsession with finding the truth may prove just as deadly.

Interview with W.A. Tyson

How long have you been writing, and how did you start? 

I wrote my first short story on a child-size typewriter when I was eight years old. The story was about a ghost dog, and my mother probably still has it stuffed in a drawer somewhere, along with my crayon drawings and ceramic handprints. After that, I just never stopped writing. Other than during my short stint as a family reporter (I created a Tyson-family newspaper and used to snoop around the house looking for stories), my parents were very supportive of my habit. Reading and writing were two of my favorite pastimes as a kid.

Since then, I’ve had a number of short stories published in literary journals, and while I have the utmost respect for short fiction, the novel is my favorite type of narrative. The Seduction of Miriam Cross was my third novel. My second novel, Killer Image, was published by Henery Press on October 1 of this year. My first novel sits on a shelf, where it will likely remain. A former writing mentor called it my training bra novel, and I think that was an apt description.

What’s the story behind the title of your book?  The title came to me about six years ago while I was writing an unrelated short story.  I didn’t know what to do with it at the time, and although I had a clear picture of who Miriam Cross was, I didn’t have a story to go with the title or the character, so I tucked Miriam and the title away in my idea folder on my computer and left them there.  About three years ago, while on a family vacation in Driggs, Idaho, I had the idea to create an all-women detective agency.  As soon as Delilah came alive on paper, I knew she needed to delve into something meaty – and I knew that Miriam Cross was going to be the victim in Delilah’s story.  After that, the title helped influence the storyline.  I considered what a strong, independent, disciplined woman like Miriam Cross might be seduced by – a cause?  a set of ideals? a man?  – and used that to develop the plot.

Do you have another job outside of writing? 

I’m an ERISA attorney, which means I help companies understand the laws affecting their employee benefit plans. Right now, I work full-time as an ERISA consultant for a mutual fund company. 

What’s your favorite line from a book?

One of my favorite lines is from Lewis Carroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland:
"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the riverbank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, 'and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversation?"

My son loves that book, and every time I read it, I’m transported back to childhood, to the feelings of impatience and restlessness that stem from wanting to do something more interesting than whatever you’re supposed to be doing at the time. When you read that first line, you just know Alice is going to get herself into mischief. And what’s childhood without curiosity and mischief?

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

The Seduction of Miriam Cross was so much fun to write, in part because I love all of the characters and I think they play off each other quite well. Delilah was a joy to write because I connected with her passion for animals and the outdoors, but I enjoyed writing Natasha’s character the most. I am, by nature, pretty easy going and a people pleaser. It was a blast to create a character who feels no real need to follow the rules or please anyone. The things Natasha does, she does because she wants to do them or because of deep love (her son) or loyalty (Delilah). Writing Natasha’s character allowed me to see the world through that lens for a little while.

Are any of your characters inspired by real people? 

Yes! Barb is very loosely based on a few women I know. Unlike me, these women are all organized, incredibly neat and very no-nonsense - the type of people who don’t dwell on sentiment, but, rather, act efficiently and decisively to get things done. These are traits I admire (but don’t possess), and I just knew when I was creating Delilah’s investigative team that one of her staff had to be inspired by these ladies.

With which of your characters would you most like to be stuck in a bookstore? 

Margot. She’s in her seventies and a former nun and headmistress. I used to work for an order of nuns, and I was impressed by the level of education and worldly knowledge the women had. Margot has seen and done more in her lifetime than all of the other women at Percy Powers, Inc. put together, and I would love to sit with Margot over coffee, discussing books and favorite authors and listening to her perspective on life.

You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose? 

Helen Mirren!

Good choice! What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?

Louise Penny’s novel The Beautiful Mystery – in hardcover.

Do you have a routine for writing? 

Because I work full-time, I have to be disciplined about my writing and very protective of my writing time. To maintain routine, I write early in the morning. I get up about 5 a.m. and write until it’s time to get my twins up for school (about 7). On weekends and during vacations, I write for longer stretches, but even then it’s usually in the morning. Later in the day, when I’m not as fresh and when my inner critic is fully awake and functional, I edit the morning’s work or log on to social media. 

You’re leaving your country for a year. What’s the last meal (or food) you would want to have before leaving?

I guess it depends on where I’m going and what type of food my new home offers. Without knowing that, I’d say it’s a toss-up between my mother’s eggplant parmesan and Paneer Tikka Masala from our neighborhood Indian restaurant. They are my two favorite dishes. 

What would your dream office look like? 

A few years ago, we stayed on the North Shore of Oahu for two weeks. We rented a house on Ke Iki Beach, near Shark’s Cove. The view from the back deck overlooking the water was breathtaking. My dream office would have a dream location – right there, on that Hawaiian beach, overlooking the water. It would have windows facing the ocean, and my desk would be aligned so that the top of the desk would meet the bottom of the windows. How wonderful would it be to look up from a computer and gaze out at that view every day?  Very inspiring.

Oh, and my husband says my dream office needs to come with a dream personal assistant.  Someone who organizes my clutter and takes care of the filing! I guess he’s tired of looking at the mess (we share an office).

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? 

I enjoy spending time with my husband, three sons and two dogs. We like hiking, swimming, going to the beach – and traveling almost anywhere. My husband and I are also passionate organic gardeners and we’ve turned our small suburban lot near Philadelphia into a micro farm. This past summer we managed to grow almost all of our own vegetables (and still had plenty to share with the neighbors and our resident squirrels and rabbits).

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up the next book in the Allison Campbell mystery series, Murderous Looks.  It will be published next summer by Henery Press. Once that’s completed, I will turn to book number two in the Delilah series, The Initiation Of Carolyn Wu, and the third book in the Allison series, Dying Brand.

Sounds exciting! Can't wait to hear more about them.

About the author

W. A. Tyson’s background in law and psychology has provided inspiration for her mysteries and thrillers. The Seduction of Miriam Cross, to be published by E-Lit Books in November 2013, is the first in the Delilah Percy Powers mystery series. She has also authored Killer Image (Henery Press, October 2013), the first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series.

Connect with the author:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo