You may be surprised to learn that this author not only a writer, but a former teacher, attorney and she even worked for the CIA. What a great background for writing crime mysteries that includes a female sleuth, a touch of romance and a dash of humor.
Alyssa Lyons, like her character Jordan Davis, lives in Lynchburg, Virginia. The South is her playground. Its eccentricities fuel her stories. She specializes in “Solving Crimes Southern Style.” However, unlike Jordan, she is a cat person—rather she is staff to two cats she rescued. Like most cats, they believe they were the ones doing the saving and therefore she owes them. She taught high school American history and government, worked for the CIA, and is a retired attorney. Or, as she is fond of saying, “I am a recovering attorney.”
Tell us about the genre of your work.
I write “chick mystery.” This is similar to cozy mystery except the amateur detective is younger and hipper than the Miss Marple/Jessica Fletcher of the traditional cozy and some violence takes place on the page, not off scene. Jordan Davis is a motorcycle-riding, catsuit-wearing entrepreneur, although she does love chai tea and her Miniature Schnauzer, Muffin. Chick mystery also has a healthy dose of hot sex in the mix. I cannot imagine Miss Marple doing the nasty with Hercule Poirot (shudder!)
Why did you choose this genre?
I started as a romance novelist, but never stopped reading mysteries and thrillers. Not finding a hip, thirty-something, motorcycle-loving heroine solving cases, I was inspired to write the Jordan Davis Mysteries with a strong dose of romance. After the first and substantial reworking, I molded the original into a fast paced, dark and sexier story, but with romance and a lot of tongue-in-cheek humor. Of course, it is easy to write humor when the stories take place in the South.
What are some of your books, stories that have been published?
My first Jordan Davis Mystery, Last Wishes, was released in March 2011.
The second, Clubbed to Death, was released in May 2011. The third, Stabbed and Slabbed, is tentatively scheduled for a mid-summer 2011 release.
Amazon Kindle: http://tiny.cc/8kqdq
My website: http://www.alyssalyons.com/
He was a judge. He did not break the law…at least not until he met her.
Judge Grayson Trent never suspected the woman his Aunt Becca hired to handle her funeral arrangements would be the very same woman who has consumed his fantasies from the moment he saw her standing before him in court. He soon discovers she has not changed her ways. Not only is she still ignoring the rules when it suits her, now she is a target for murderer. Unless, she is the murderer herself.
She was not really breaking the law, just bending it a little…and all for a good cause.
Jordan Davis sees nothing wrong in breaking a silly city ordinance, especially when it interferes with her fulfilling the last wishes of her clients. To her Judge Trent is a narrow-minded, overbearing stick in the mud—a very sexy and hot stick in the mud. Until it seems as if he is responsible for several murders. Maybe the hunk of a judge is not as law abiding as she thought. Or, maybe they are both in danger of being a killer’s next victim.
How do you come up with the names of places and characters in your books?
Jordan Ashley Davis is named after my eldest grandchild. Trent is the last name of a prominent Lynchburg family (there is a road called Trent’s Ferry in the Boonsboro section of town). Libby, Grayson Trent’s mother, is named after my centenarian mother-in-law. The religious wheeler-dealer Reverend Sippard derives from his family’s history as bootleggers. FBI agent Paige Sidney, who appears in Clubbed to Death, is named after my other two granddaughters. Other names were chosen because they sounded right for the characters.
Our stories are set in Lynchburg, which is a real city in Central Virginia. Wherever possible we refer to real places in town, unless using the real name might cause a scandal. After all, the only real sins in the South are being rude and impolite.
How did you develop the character of your protagonist in this book?
What kind of woman would quit medical school to take care of her dying mother? Who would go into the business of granting the last wishes of her clients, even if it means bending a few laws to get the funeral or memorial done right? What kind of woman would install a safety cage on the read of her motorcycle so her miniature schnauzer, in a leather motorcycle jacket and helmet, could go cruising US 460 with her? And who, if she discovered one of her clients was murdered, would move heaven, earth and an immutable, straight-laced judge, to discover who the murder is? Throw in being the love child of her father’s mistress and a Jew in Jerry Falwell country for lagniappe. That is the type of woman Jordan Ashley Davis is; one of a kind!
What about an antagonist…is there a unique “bad guy” or a recurring nemesis of any kind?
I hope to provide new and scary villains in each Jordan Davis mystery. Murderers we know exist and hope we never meet, even in a social setting.
What is your favorite thing about your book?
Definitely Grayson Trent. He is handsome, hot and sexy without being obvious about it. I love how Jordan gets him to loosen up yet he never quiet loses all his starch.
How is writing in the genre you write, different than other genre?
Mysteries take the most careful pre-planning of any genre. You have to keep the reader guessing, the timeline straight, the red herrings convincing and the resolution logical. It would be very difficult for a true “pantser” to write a mystery.
Why and when did you begin writing?
I began to write as a child, beginning with poetry, moving into short stories, plays and screenplays as I got into high school and college. In the 1990’s I began to focus on writing novels, primarily romance because that was what I was reading at the time.
What is your writing schedule?
I have a full time job Monday through Friday, plus I do some free lance editing for other authors. After work during the week, I work on editing jobs, blogging, and other promotional activities. I do the bulk of my work on the Jordan Davis mystery series in long sessions (10am-7pm) Saturday and Sunday.
What projects are you working on now, or plan for the future?
I am currently writing Stabbed and Slabbed. I plan to continue writing Jordan Davis mysteries as long as the readers want to read them. I would also like to rework a medical thriller that is half-finished into a series of medical procedurals with a team of epidemic-solving doctors similar to those who work for the Centers for Disease Control, along with another strong dose of romance mixed in with the thriller aspects. Think, love in the time of E. coli.
What kind of advice or tips to you have for someone who wants to write (especially mystery)?
Mystery takes planning and research. There are several spreadsheets and grids out there for planning action in the plot. Find one that works for you and use it. Read the types of mysteries you want to write and know the market. Make sure your details ring true (you cannot use a silencer on a revolver, no matter how many towels Vito Corleone used in Godfather, Part II), although, a potato and pillow will work. It is the recoil that will get you. Also, whether you submit to a publisher or decide to go indie, treat writing as a business. Be professional and observe the formalities. Proofread and then get another pair of eyes to proofread.
Are there any other comments, advice or tips that you would give to beginning writers?
You have to develop a thick skin. Critiques can seem harsh, editor’s comments can be harsher, and book reviewers can be brutal. Your critique partners and editors have your best interests in mind. You must be willing to accept suggestions. Nobody ever wrote the perfect book, and not your every word is hewn from platinum. And, for goodness sakes, if you get a bad review, do not go on the reviewer’s blog and write a nasty rebuttal. It could easily go viral, and you will do untold damage to your career. Just suck it up and hope you can bury it, quickly, beneath good ones.
What do you do when you are not writing?
Read, eat, and sleep.
What “Made It” moments have you experienced in life?
The day I passed the California Bar, the day I sold my first novel, and since then, there have been too many to count.
To learn more about this author, visit her website at: http://www.alyssalyons.com/