The author for this Saturday Spotlight is the master of mystery in this genre. Josh Lanyon has written a ton of books that have curled our toes, had us gasping for air, and simply given us major book hangovers. Such books as the Adrien English Mystery Series, Holmes & Moriarity, The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks, and much more. Today we get to sit down with Josh and have a chit chat. We will look at this author's books, and end it with a wonderful giveaway. Please have a seat and have fun.
One sunny morning Los Angeles bookseller and aspiring mystery author Adrien English opens his front door to murder. His old high school buddy (and employee) has been found stabbed to death in a back alley following a loud and very public argument with Adrien the previous evening. Naturally the cops want to ask Adrien a few questions; they are none too impressed with his answers, and when a few hours later someone breaks into Adrien's shop and ransacks it, the law is inclined to think Adrien is trying to divert suspicion from himself. Adrien knows better. Adrien knows he is next on the killer's list.
For sixteen years reclusive mystery writer Christopher (Kit) Holmes enjoyed a very successful career, thanks to the popularity of elderly spinster sleuth, Miss Butterwith, and her ingenious cat, Mr. Pinkerton. But sales are down in everything but chick lit, and Christopher’s new editor doesn’t like geriatric gumshoes. It’s a pink, pink world for Mr. Holmes.
At the urging of his agent, Christopher reluctantly agrees to attend a mystery writers’ conference at a remote Northern California winery. But no sooner does he arrive than he discovers the pajama-clad body of a woman in the woods. If nearly two decades of mystery-writing are anything to go by, the woman doesn’t appear to have died a natural death.
With a storm in full force and a washed-out bridge making it impossible for law enforcement to come to the rescue, it’s practically like all those classic murder mysteries in isolated country manors that Christopher has been penning for sixteen years! If only Miss Butterwith was on hand. Or even Mr. Pinkerton…
Special Agents for the Department of Diplomatic Security, Taylor MacAllister and Will Brandt have been partners and best friends for three years, but everything changed the night Taylor admitted the truth about his feelings for Will. But it's complicated...
Taylor agreed to a camping trip in the High Sierras -- despite the fact that he hates camping -- because Will wants a chance to save their partnership. But the trip is a disaster from the first, and things rapidly go from bad to worse when they find a crashed plane and a couple of million dollars in stolen money.
With a trio of murderous robbers trailing them, Will and Taylor are on dangerous ground, fighting for their partnership, their passion...and their lives.
Followed by Old Poison.
Special Agent Jason West is seconded from the FBI Art Crime Team to temporarily partner with disgraced, legendary “manhunter” Sam Kennedy when it appears that Kennedy’s most famous case, the capture and conviction of a serial killer known as The Huntsman, may actually have been a disastrous failure.
For The Huntsman is still out there… and the killing has begun again
Thank you, Josh, for being here today as our spotlight author. It’s quite incredible! You are a phenomenal author and have become a pillar to this community. Hopefully my questions are the right ones. I admit I crossed a bunch out and rewrote others in their place. In the end I’m not sure what I’m asking of you. So, good luck!
Thanks for having me! I’ll answer to the best of my ability. ;-D
People say you’re one of if not the best mystery writer in the genre. What has been your inspiration and love for mystery writing?
Well, I got my love of mystery—and romance as well, frankly—from my mother. She was (and is) an avid reader and when I was quite young she started handing over her Mary Stewart, Phyllis A. Whitney, Dorothy Eden, and Georgette Heyer to me. She particularly loved romantic-suspense and I learned to love it too, though my own preferences rapidly moved toward more traditional (less romantic) mysteries like Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and other Golden Age authors. By college I was voraciously vacuuming up entire backlists from authors like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald.
As far as what inspired me to begin writing mystery…my mother and I were both reading a book we loved but which turned out to have a disappointing ending, and I decided to write an epilogue which explained everything in detail and gave the hero and heroine a more hopeful-sounding future. :-D My mother loved it. I don’t even remember the book now!
What are the key points in making a mystery successful?
Pacing is particularly important in the mystery novel—and even more so if it’s a mystery-romance. Neither plot line should overwhelm the other. The action has to be brisk and snappy—something interesting should be happening all the time--and it is vital that the author avoid those additional arenas of info dumps that the crime novel, by default, provides.
In addition to the usual elements of good fiction, you’ve got to have some actual detection and analysis taking place. You’d think that would be obvious, but this is generally where aspiring mystery authors fall flat. They don’t bother to take the reader on that journey. It’s not enough to have your protagonist talk to a few suspicious characters and then have a flash of revelation.
And finally, the crime has to make sense. The villain has to have a credible motive. Motive is the single most important element in the modern crime novel, because the modern crime novel is all about character and psychology. Mystery fans like to spend a portion of the novel guessing, but the puzzle doesn’t play the role it once did—partly because the contemporary mystery fan is pretty much impossible to fool for very long. They’ve simply read and watched too much by now. The know every conceivable variation on the pattern. So while we all resort to the serial killer and terror plot, the true mystery writer is aiming higher.
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? What were your dreams?
Writer. I always wanted to be a writer. I always knew—and this belief was fostered by my teachers—that I was a writer and would ultimately earn my living writing. I did quit writing professionally in my late twenties for a while in order to try to earn a living in folk music. :-D But even when I supposedly wasn’t writing…I was. It was just for my own pleasure.
What was the very first award you ever won for your writing?
That would have been something in college. I remember one year I won the first and second place awards—as well as three honorable mentions--for my poetry!
Is there a subject/topic you’d never write about, if so what?
I’m really uncomfortable writing about rape or incest or sexual abuse. Torture…I’m way too squeamish. I can’t read, let alone write, stories where dreadful things happen to children. I’m just not cut out for that.
What would you say is a common misconception about yourself that people make?
Ha! Now that’s just too easy. ;-) You know, I’ve heard some fairly bizarre—and hurtful—comments. The only one I feel obliged to correct is the notion that I turned to writing M/M because my mainstream career had faltered. Because I believed gay fiction was the only way to earn money writing. That’s actually funny given that NO ONE made money writing gay fiction when I started. Also funny because at the time I decided to focus on M/M, my mainstream career was hitting its peak. I’d just signed a three-book contract for one series, I was getting publisher and bookstore support…I was on the verge of the breakthrough I had been working so hard for. So the idea that I turned to M/M because it was my only option or because I believed it was a surefire money maker is incorrect and unfair.
What was the very first M/M book you ever read?
I think it was called something like Achilles Other Heel by somebody Brown? No! Actually, it would have been one of Mel Keegan’s books. I was a huge fan of Mel Keegan’s space operas.
Being a biggun in this community what advice would you give people just starting out?
Calm the hell down.
The audience is not going anywhere. The book biz is not going to dry up and blow away. Quit rushing to publish before you’ve actually taken the time to learn your craft. Take the time to get your stories edited and formatted. If you don’t have money for those two things—and no publisher is willing to front you--you’re not ready for prime time.
And quit jumping into the middle of every uproar and drama du jour before you understand both sides of the situation. Readers often make the decision to try a book based on how an author conducts herself in social media. Courtesy and kindness sell more books than all the righteous indignation and anger in the world. Of course what REALLY sells books is being able to write an engaging story peopled with characters readers can identify with. And by “identify with,” I don’t mean characters who are necessarily like them. I mean characters who are interesting and sympathetic and the reader cares about.
Where would you like to see this genre go within the next five years and do you think it will get there?
To start, I’d like to see the genre stop struggling to be all things to all people. I’d like to see female writers stop apologizing for being female and for having the imagination and boldness to write what’s in their hearts without needing the approval of mainstream or male peers.
I’d love to see more Diversity, particularly regarding disabled and chronically ill characters.
Will we get to a point of real acceptance and tolerance within our own genre within five years? It’s hard to say. Within five years, over half the writers working now will have moved on. How do I know that? By simply glancing at my kindle and the books I first loaded into it. Here’s the funny thing. I doesn’t matter what I think. Writers always believe they determine the evolution of a genre, but, in fact, it is the paying customer who decides what stays and what goes in any field of artistic endeavor. The book buying public will determine our ultimate fate.
Do you have any guilty pleasures? Spill!
The Professionals fan fiction. Tab diet soda. Buttercream frosting.
Can you tell us what you’re currently working on or can you tell us what future works we can look forward to?
I’m currently working on Fair Chance, the final book in the All’s Fair trilogy, but that’s not due out until next year. I plan to spend the remainder of this year and much of 2017 catching up all the titles I’ve been promising for a while. This year readers can look forward to Murder Between the Pages, which is a quirky post World War 2 mystery about two rival mystery writers trying to solve a murder they’re both suspected of committing; a mystery-horror-romance literary mash-up called The Curse of the Blue Scarab; and finally So This is Christmas, the long promised, often postponed Adrien English holiday story.
How can your fans follow your career? FB, Twitter, website?
On tippy-toes? Coz if I spot them—no, seriously.
FAST FIRE QUESTIONS
Best book you read this year?
Dal MacLean’s Bitter Legacy. I can’t believe every reviewer in this genre isn’t rushing Blind Eye Books to be first to review it.
Best movie you’ve seen this year?
Tarzan in 3D. DON’T JUDGE ME!!! Seriously, best Tarzan ever – they even managed to have sexual chemistry between Tarzan and Jane. NO little feat.
Success! Kidding. Frying bacon and onions
Chocolate or vanilla?
Coffee or tea?
Coffee (with a splash of Irish)
At the moment, “Counting Stars” by OneRepublic
Okay, Josh, thank you so very much!!!
Thank you, Mere. Such a pleasure to answer a variety of interesting questions!
Josh Lanyon will gift 4 people with audio books!
All you have to do is comment on the interview above and click the rafflecopter that you
did it and 4 winners will be selected at random.
Contest will end on September 23rd!
Good luck and thank you to Josh for being amazing!
a Rafflecopter giveaway