I’d like to introduce you to the sixty-third interviewee in my ‘Meet the Author’ series. She is Juliet B. Madison.
Hi, Juliet! Welcome to Susan Finlay Writes blog site. Can you tell us a bit about your background as a writer?
Thanks for having me Susan. I have been writing stories since I first learnt to read and write but back in those days it was down on waiting for traditional publishers to take your MS. No one could have envisioned ebooks or book blogs and writing communities back then. When I was in my teens I also wrote poetry.
Your novel, Second Chances, the first in the DI Frank Lyle Mysteries series, was published in June, 2013, by Dragonfly Press. Can you tell us about the book? What inspired your to write it?
A few years ago I had an idea for a cold case crime novel where the detective on the reopened case turned out to be a reincarnation of the original murder victim. Although I believe in reincarnation I thought it might be a bit far-fetched for a novel and I would have enough on my plate working out the plot. I kept the reincarnation aspect by having a Hindu detective Sergeant, Sunil Desai. The book takes place in two time periods–!982 and 1987 because in 1982 they did not have the DNA technology to catch a rapist or murderer as accurately as they can now. In 1987 it was possible but still with a huge margin of error.
You’re currently working on the second book, Heir to Misfortune. Can you tell us anything about that book? How far along are you?
Heir to Misfortune takes place around Christmas 1990 and it’s very cold. The plot involves murder, blackmail and corruption. I don’t want to say too much yet but I’m just over halfway.
How many books do you have planned for the series?
I’m not sure yet to be honest. I have one more planned which I will start in November for my Nanowrimo entry – Unholy Alliance – and possibly a couple more after that. It depends when DI Lyle decides to stop telling me his old case histories. He feels very real to me at the moment so will keep writing while the ideas are there.
What do you like most about the detective, DI Frank Lyle?
DI Frank Lyle manages to be good at his job without continually breaking the rules and getting into trouble with his superiors, unlike other more maverick cops. (Ian Rankin’s DI Rebus being a prime example) DI Lyle cares about the victims of crime and their families. He is also very attractive to women although he isn’t big-headed about it. He’s down to earth and intelligent. Okay so that’s more than one thing but I haven;t found out much I don’t like about him yet.
Would you give us a brief excerpt from one of your books?
This is from the first chapter of Second Chances. The books are told from multiple POVs.
I put down the phone after telling Desai I would be there within the hour. I had a hasty shower and dressed. I downed a cup of lukewarm tea because boiling the kettle was too much of a chore at this ungodly hour. I left the house with my jacket over my arm, running a comb through my blonde hair and nibbling on a shortcake biscuit.
I found Desai standing with two uniformed officers that were guarding the crime scene. In the distance I could see the tent that had been erected to give the victim some belated privacy.
“Is Martin here yet?” I demanded, amazed at my ability to go from sleep to work in less than an hour. It was little after 5 am and already it was getting warm.
“He’s with her now, Boss,”
Dr John Martin was the pathologist we used; a balding man in his early sixties covered in military tattoos but what he did not know about common causes of death and post mortem changes was not worth knowing.
“I think we should go and have a look at her,”
We were on an overgrown canal towpath thick with nettles and weeds. The water was murky; no doubt swimming with rubble, waste, excrement and the odd discarded supermarket trolley. Desai ducked under the scene of crime tape and waited for me. I stalked through the long grass, my six foot three inch frame cutting a fine imposing figure more than head and shoulders above most of the gathered police presence.
“What’s that smell?” I wrinkled my nose.
“She must have shit herself,”” Desai answered.
I pulled back the tent flap and Desai followed me inside.
Dr. Martin was crouched down beside the inert body of a young girl that he had laid on disposable heavy duty plastic sheeting. She might have been pretty when she was alive but in death she was pale and unremarkable. Her dark hair fanned out around her head and her clothes were torn. When you had seen one half naked corpse you had seen them all, was my view but for Martin it was different because the dead relied on him to tell their stories and find out how they died.
“Are there any signs of sexual assault?” I asked.
“She’s been raped Frank; but I will know more when I get her on the slab. His semen is flooding out of her, it was one of the first things I noticed.”
He looked up and I knew he anticipated my next question even before I asked it because it was a question I was obliged to ask at every crime scene where there was a human body involved.
“I know what you’re going to ask Frank. The answer is that she has been dead between four and six hours.” He pinched the skin on the victim’s forearm, “She has a waxy appearance and her skin is cool to the touch,” he indicated her neck, “Early rigor is setting in here, her jaw is beginning to stiffen.”
Is Dragonfly Press your own company?
Yes it is.
Who created your book trailer for Second Chances? Would you share a link to it?
I did it myself on Windows MovieMaker. You can view it at http://youtu.be/xNow7KmrIVE
I haven’t done an Heir to Misfortune one yet.
Do you have a favorite review of your book?
I appreciate anyone who is good enough to take the time to leave a review. I think one short one I got on Amazon.com recently from a Randy B Turner meant the most because he’s a complete stranger who took time to tell me he enjoyed the book.
What books or authors have most influenced you in your own writing?
I believe I have my own unique style. I really try not to write similar to anyone else.
Do you have a writing routine, a special place where you go to do your writing, or a certain time of day? Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind of music?
I live alone so anywhere at home is good because I never have to bow to the demands of kids or pets. My ideal time of writing would be early evening but unfortunately I have a totally mind-numbing office cleaning job during the week which wastes four hours of my time when I could be writing. Also I have found it hard to concentrate in the hot weather. As far as music goes I use Joan Baez’s albums Any Day Now or Diamonds & Rust, DI Lyle likes her and her voice has a soothing effect on us both.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
Authors to Watch blog interview
Facebook DI Frank Lyle pages
You can buy Second Chances here.