Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Featured Author: Wendy Tyson

CLP Blog Tours brings Wendy Tyson here today to talk about the second book in her Campbell Mystery series, Deadly Assets.

About the book:

An eccentric Italian heiress from the Finger Lakes. An eighteen-year-old pop star from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Allison Campbell’s latest clients seem worlds apart in every respect, except one: Both women disappear on the same day. And Allison’s colleague Vaughn is the last to have seen each.

Allison’s search for a connection uncovers an intricate web of family secrets, corporate transgressions and an age-old rivalry that crosses continents. The closer Allison gets to the truth, the deadlier her quest becomes. All paths lead back to a sinister Finger Lakes estate and the suicide of a woman thirty years earlier. Allison soon realizes the lives of her clients and the safety of those closest to her aren’t the only things at stake.

Interview with Wendy Tyson

Wendy, what’s the story behind the title of your book? 

A great deal of thought went into choosing the title for Deadly Assets. It was originally called Murderous Looks, but after the book was finished, my editor at Henery Press and I decided we needed a new title. We wanted something that reflected the overall story, the main character’s occupation (image consultant) and that also worked with the cover image.  After brainstorming dozens of potential titles, we both felt Deadly Assets nailed it.

Do you have another job outside of writing? 

I do! I’m an ERISA attorney, which, in my case, means I work on retirement plans. Before that, I practiced corporate and securities law, and before law school I was a therapist in a residential treatment program. Working full-time while writing has its challenges, but my experiences have definitely influenced my ideas. A background in law and psychology can come in handy when you’re plotting murders!

I can see that. How do you get to know your characters? 

I live with them for a long time before I start writing. I think about them while I’m driving, cleaning, exercising and cooking. I do free-writing in spiral notebooks to flesh out their likes, dislikes, histories and motivations. I try to capture the way they look in my mind. Sometimes I’ll live with a character this way for months, or even years. Even after I’ve written a first draft, I’ll go back and free-write about a particular character, especially if I feel like he or she is flat, or if I’m having trouble identifying their motivations or subsequent actions. I think for many authors, characters become like real people. Eventually, I’ll get to a point where my characters enter my dreams — or I’ll see something and find myself thinking “Oh, Allison would like that!”

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

I enjoy writing all of them, but I really like writing Mia. Whereas most of the characters in the Campbell series have reinvented themselves to be more successful, Mia has done the opposite.  At one point, she had it all: the big house on the Philadelphia Main Line, a successful career as an image consultant, a family. After losing her adult daughter in a tragic accident, she gave it all up and moved to a house in the country—alone. When we meet her in Killer Image, she’s still battling the demons of her recent past, but by Deadly Assets, she’s re-discovering a Mia who is completely different from the woman she once was. Mia’s brave and smart and doesn’t care what people think about her or her choices. I have a blast with her.

What would your main character say about you?

Oh, wow — she’d say, “Sweetheart, you could use a few sessions with an image consultant.  Call Vaughn and make an appointment!”

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

Helen Mirren. Probably a little below her pay grade, but I love her voice.

Why dream if you aren't going to dream big? What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)? 

Ann Rice’s Queen of the Damned. It’s a signed paperback copy. I saw Ann Rice speak recently at ThrillerFest and then had the opportunity to attend her book signing. I’ve read many of her novels already, but was inspired to re-read this one after meeting her.  She’s lovely!

What’s your favorite candy bar?

Almond Joy!  While growing up, I detested coconut, but now I love it.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? 

The French Alps. We spent a few weeks in Chamonix, France two summers ago and we loved it. The views, the food, the ready access to Italy, Switzerland, and other parts of France, and the numerous outdoor activities ... very beautiful and peaceful. 

And finally - what are you working on now?  

Several projects! I’m currently writing the third Campbell novel, Dying Brand—look for it in May 2015. I’m also writing a second mystery series — the Delilah Percy Powers series — which features a team of four female private investigators: a displaced cowgirl, a former nun, a militant homemaker, and an ex-stripper. The first novel in that series, The Seduction of Miriam Cross (E-Lit Books), came out last fall, and I’m now writing the second book in the series, The Initiation of Carolyn Wu. And finally, I’m working on a standalone thriller set on the island of Corfu, Greece.

Excerpt from Deadly Assets

The hawk fell from the sky like a bomb, its body graceless in death.  It plummeted through a canopy of oaks, their foliage laced with the vestiges of afternoon sun, and landed just feet from Allison’s bumper in a limp, twisted heap. Heart racing, Allison slammed on the brakes.  She bolted out of the car in time to see a young woman emerge from the forest.  The woman wore a rifle slung over one shoulder, a rucksack across the other. A wild mane of black hair flew behind her like a cape.

“That one's mine,” the woman shouted. “Don't touch it!”

Allison glanced down at the dead hawk with equal parts sympathy and disgust. She certainly had no intention of touching it. 

“Bastard's murdered a dozen chickens in two weeks.  Damn thing had it coming.” The woman leaned down, grabbed the bird by the throat and shoved it into the canvas satchel. Finished, she looked up at Allison as though registering for the first time the presence of a stranger on her property. “Who are you?”

“Allison Campbell.  The image consultant.”  Allison started to hold out her hand, but with a second look at the rifle, opted instead for a friendly nod.

The woman harrumphed a hello, wiped her hands on her jeans, and gestured toward the house behind them. “I suppose you're here for Francesca.”

“Is she ready for me?”

The woman shrugged. She was in her late twenties, lean and muscular, and now that she was closer, Allison could see the face beneath the hair. Beautiful features–dark almond-shaped eyes, a regal nose, full lips, and high, defined cheekbones–clashed with an almost savage indifference. 

Allison tore her gaze from the woman with the gun and looked around at her surroundings, too startled by the bird to have taken in the Benini estate–the home of her potential client, Francesca Benini–before now.  The house lay sprawled across a hilltop, fronted by woodland that sloped down to the angry edge of Cayuga Lake. A winding driveway meandered its way up the hill, ending in a semi-circle in front of the house. The town of Ithaca was visible in the distance, an urban island in a sea of forest and farmland.

The house itself stood as testament to Benini Enterprises’ dwindling finances. A dilapidated three-winged monstrosity with a triple gabled front, a look-out tower and multiple entries, its wood trim was in desperate need of paint. Small patches of stucco had disappeared off the fascia, leaving scars like pockmarks across the broad facade. The building’s height blocked out the sun and shadows slashed across a yard that was unkempt around the edges.
It was a warm August day. Storm clouds bruised the distant skies, and a sticky breeze offered no relief from the heat.  Allison wiped the sweat beading along her brow.  Her attention now back on the young woman, she asked, “And you are?” 

But before the woman could respond, the front door flung open and a tall, athletic-looking man in his early forties came down the steps toward them. He was slim, with broad shoulders and narrow hips, and his movements were quick and elegant, especially for a man of his height. A day or two’s worth of stubble gave a rakish air to a strong nose, sharp cheekbones and smooth olive skin. And, most noticeable of all, were his cerulean-colored eyes, which pierced Allison's own with a knife-like gaze.

He flashed Allison an apologetic smile. “Please ignore my sister, Maria. I’m Alessandro Benini. Most people call me Alex.” He held out his hand. “You must be here for my aunt.  Let’s get you inside where it’s cool.” To Maria, he said, “Don't just stand there gawking. Do something with that bird.”

About the author:

Wendy Tyson is a corporate lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers.  She’s the author of 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 by Examiner.com as one of the ten best mysteries for book clubs in 2014. She’s also written The Seduction of Miriam Cross. Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons, and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.

Connect with Wendy:

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo  

Books by Wendy Tyson:

Killer Image (Campbell Mystery No. 1) |
Deadly Assets (Campbell Mystery No. 2)
The Seduction of Miriam Cross