I’d like to introduce you to the eighty-eighth 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 little about yourself and about your background as a writer?
Juliet B Madison is actually a pen-name. I come from Reading, United Kingdom and live alone. No kids by choice. I have been writing stories since I was little.
Where did you get the idea for your DI Frank Lyle Mysteries series?
About 8 years ago I had an idea for a paranormal crime thriller where the senior detective on a cold case turned out to be a reincarnation of the original murder victim. However, I decided that was too ambitious what with working out the criminal plot as well. I kept the reincarnation aspect to a degree by introducing a Hindu detective. A year ago I revisited the idea and DI Frank Lyle was born.
Your latest novel, Murder in the Wings is the fourth book in the DI Frank Lyle series, and it was published in June, 2014, by Dragonfly Press. Can you tell us about the book and the series? Where do you anticipate it going?
Murder in the Wings is about the murder of an actor at the local theatre company. David Marlow wasn’t actually a very nice person but DI Lyle and his team are still obligated to find out who killed him. DI Lyle also has issues of a personal nature to contend with in this book with regard to his relationship with his son, James, and his ex wife, Sarah. I wrote a blogpost recently with regard to the future of the series which you can read at http://julietmadisoncrimeauthor.wordpress.com/di-lyles-journey-continues/
Does DI Frank Lyle change much throughout the series?
Yes, Frank does change. He gets older for one thing (He was only 38 in the first book Second Chances) and he learns a lot more about human nature through both the people he loves and works with and the people he has to arrest and question. He learns to come to terms with the murder of his best friend and establishes working relationships with new coppers who pass through Ashbeck CID. The second book Heir to Misfortune deals with a corrupt city councillor who is also a paedophile. Frank’s wife, Jayseera, is pregnant in this book and when she has a baby girl at the end Frank is determined to protect his daughter from evils like those he has been investigating.
How many books do you have planned for the series? Are you working on the next book? If so, how far along are you?
I will continue to write about DI Lyle for as long as people want to read about him. I completed the 5th book Best Served Cold while I struggled with Frankie Fulwood’s cameo in Murder in the Wings and that will be released in November. I am working on the 6th book Dead on Arrival but haven’t got very far yet. It’s about people trafficking and drug smuggling but as well as the investigation we also look at the ongoing background story of Frank’s relationship with his team and his family.
Are you working on another series, or have one planned?
Well, as well as the full length DI Frank Lyle Mystery series novels there is also the DI Frank Lyle’s Casebook series, which are volumes of novellas and there may be another couple of those at some point. Writers really do need 48 hour days.
Would you give us a brief excerpt from one of your books?
This is from chapter 9 of Murder in the Wings narrated from the POV of Detective Constable (DC) Thomas Fox, nephew to Dr Barry Fox the Ashbeck District Coroner.
I wondered if it would be a good time to approach DI Lyle about putting in for my Detective Sergeant interview. I really wanted to get on in CID, as it was the only career I had ever wanted and I wanted to be able to provide for James; although he had a job I wanted to be able to look after him. I decided I would bide my time as I suspected DI Lyle had a lot on his mind and I knew from what James had told me that morning that it was approaching an important anniversary.
DI Lyle and DI Redfern went on ahead of us. DC Delaney and WPC Mahon stopped for a cigarette. I followed the DIs into the building.
Sergeant Timothy Harding didn’t look too well, the last week or so he had complained of intermittent chest pains so I had suggested he see his doctor. He looked pale and drawn and his eyes were smudged with dark rings. He was sweating profusely, but I sensed that it was far more than the heat of the day. The temperature was in the mid-twenties Celsius.
“Are you alright Sarge?” I asked him.
He shook his head, his face contorted by pain as he clutched his left arm. Time went into slow motion as Harding’s knees buckled and he sank to the floor like a stone.
I shouted for help. DI Lyle and DI Redfern ran back into the reception area and DI Lyle’s mouth gaped open in shock. I knew that he had been present when Superintendent Kingsley’s predecessor had had the heart attack that had invalided him out of the force ten years previously.
Although it was hot I covered Sergeant Harding’s body with a jacket I found and called for an ambulance while DI Redfern went to find Sergeant Wicklow. Sergeant Wicklow came at once and looked shocked, as did WPC Mahon and DC Delaney when they came back inside.
Sergeant Wicklow was a First aider and he ordered us all to stand back so that Sergeant Harding had some air. I sent WPC Mahon to inform Kingsley and DS Slade what had happened. Wicklow knelt at Harding’s side and took his pulse.
“His heart rate is very erratic,” he said as he pressed his ear to Harding’s mouth, “But he’s still breathing, at the moment.”
The ambulance came promptly so we let the paramedics do their work. They put Sergeant Harding onto a trolley and pressed an oxygen mask over his nose and mouth.
“Is he going to be alright?” I asked, “He was complaining of chest pains last week so I told him to see his own doctor, but I don’t know if he did or not.”
“He’s been very lucky,” the redheaded lady paramedic said, “It seems to have been a very mild attack, but we won’t know more until we get him to hospital. Is he married?”
“I’ll get our Superintendent to telephone his wife,” DI Lyle said, “She knows what’s happened so I expect she’s doing that already.”
Just then Kingsley came down into Reception. She pressed her hand over Sergeant Harding’s
“You’ll be alright Timothy, do you hear?” she said softly. He made a small noise.
We watched while Sergeant Harding was loaded into the ambulance and it went off, blue lights flashing and blaring sirens rent the air.
“Are you alright, Guv?” I asked DI Lyle. He nodded, but seemed to be far away, lost in a memory.
What do your readers like best about your characters? What do you like best about them? Do you have a favorite character, and why?
I think people like the characters because they are human. DI Lyle is not just a cop, he’s a friend, a father and a husband and people seem to like the fact that I combine his working and private lives.
Do you have a favorite review of your book?
I don’t have many reviews of Murder in the Wings yet but this is my favourite one.
By Amazon Customer
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a well thought out book with all the elements one looks for in a British procedural novel. There were many references to previous titles in the series, but these were placed effectively to aid the reader. All the characters, especially DI Frank Lyle, were sympathetic and complex and you really felt connected to these men and women and their work in Ashbeck. I found the crime was gruesome and appropriate for the sleazy, conceited David Marlow. I especially enjoyed the setting in the small community theater and the interesting characters this introduced. For me, there was too much sex and far more detail about it than I wanted to read, but it was used effectively to develop the complicated relations among all the cast and did not feel gratuitous. Personally, I wondered if the mystery at the heart of the novel would have been better served without it. But I must admit, it was the first gay love scene I’ve ever read and I was surprised at the tenderness between the two men and the depth of their emotional bond. The author is at the top of her game and it is easy to see why the series is so successful. Be prepared to be shocked, entertained, and enlightened.
What books or authors have most influenced you in your own writing?
Agatha Christie is always there in the background as it is not hard to see why she was successful and is still only outsold by the Bible and Complete works of Shakespeare. I read so many crime books by established authors and fellow Indies so it is impossible to pick just a few. But the online Forensic Science theory course I completed in May has also helped me a lot as it has changed the way I think with regard to writing about crime scenes, post-mortems and Scene of Crime investigation.
What advice would you give to new or aspiring authors?
Stick at it. It’s your book, but don’t be scared to ask for ideas or advice as long as you understand that you don’t have to take these suggestions on board. Let your characters tell the story for you. I see myself as the role of chronicler to DI Lyle in the same way Dr Watson was to Sherlock Holmes.
Please list any websites or social media links for yourself or your book. Thanks!
Typing DI Lyle into FB search will give you loads of pages.
You can buy Murder in the Wings at http://bookShow.me/B00KY8RZDS
There are also several blogposts about Murder in the Wings.