Monday, September 10, 2018

New interview with mystery author Wendy Tyson

I’m happy to welcome mystery author Wendy Tyson back to Reviews and Interviews. Today we’re chatting about her new cozy, Rooted in Deceit: A Greenhouse Mystery (#4).

You can check out her November 2017 interview, here, if you like.

Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist who writes the bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series and the Allison Campbell Mystery Series. Her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and in the short story anthologies Betrayed: Powerful Stories of Kick-Ass Crime Survivors and The Night of the Flood, and her novel A Dark Homage was recently accepted for publication in January 2020. Wendy is a contributing editor and columnist for International Thriller Writers’ e-zines The Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins. She and her husband recently moved their micro-farm from Pennsylvania to the Green Mountains of Vermont. For more information about Wendy, visit her at

Welcome back to Reviews and Interviews, Wendy. Please tell us about your newest release.
It’s summertime in Winsome. Washington Acres is abloom, Megan is preparing for the grand opening of ther wood-fired pizza farm, and things with Megan’s beau, handsome Dr. “Denver” Finn, are getting as hot as the August temperatures.

But when Megan’s ne’er-do-well father arrives in Pennsylvania with his high-maintenance Italian wife, Sylvia, and announces they’re staying at the new yoga retreat center a town away, a sweet occasion sours.

Eager to secure pieces for her Milan boutique, Sylvia finagles a meeting with up-and-coming artist Thana Moore, whose work is showing at the retreat center. After their explosive encounter, Thana is murdered and Sylvia becomes the prime suspect. Only Sylvia isn’t the only one with ties to the artist—once upon a time, Thana Moore had been Megan’s best friend.

As Megan delves into Thana’s past, piecing together the years since their falling out, she realizes that something sinister is afoot in Bucks County. Unless Megan can find the killer, this idyllic summer will turn nightmarish. Innocent people may be imprisoned—and even more could die.

What inspired you to write this book?
At its core, Rooted in Deceit is about family and the impact family members and old friends can have on one another. This subject has been top of mind for me. I recently moved from Pennsylvania, where I lived most of my life, to Vermont. It was a big change for my immediate family as well as for the extended family I left behind. I think this move, which we’d been contemplating for some time, caused me to think about the ways people weave in and out of the fabric of our lives. It made me consider the concept of family, of “home,” and the fact that some people can affect the trajectory of our personal journey even if we only knew them for a short period. These themes percolated in the back of my mind, ultimately contributing to the storyline for Rooted.

What’s the next writing project?
I’m working on the fifth Greenhouse mystery now, Ripe for Vengeance, which is scheduled to be released in 2019.

What is your biggest challenge when writing a new book? (or the biggest challenge with this book)
I love writing the first draft. It’s a little like falling in love: everything is new, interesting, and seemingly perfect. And then it’s time to read that first draft—and edit it. The first real round of revisions is always painful. The euphoria has passed and it’s down to the painstaking job of reworking four hundred pages of manuscript. Subsequent revisions get easier, but I don’t know that I will ever enjoy the first round of edits.

If your novels require research – please talk about the process. Do you do the research first and then write, while you’re writing, after the novel is complete and you need to fill in the gaps?
As a rule, I tend to write first and fill in the gaps as I go. I think research can be a real trap for writers, keeping us from the hard work of creating—if we let it. For me, the one exception is if the research might drive the plot or an important element of the story, such as the setting.

For example, Fatal Façade, the fourth book in my Allison Campbell mystery series, takes place in South Tyrol, Italy, in the beautiful and haunting Dolomite Mountains. I wanted the setting—with its dominating peaks and looming castles—to be almost a character in the novel. I found it best to visit South Tyrol and perform research on location before writing the book; I needed the details, some of which drove the plot, to be right.

What’s your writing space like? Do you have a particular spot to write where the muse is more active? Please tell us about it.
I generally write anywhere and anytime, a necessity born of my crazy schedule. I work full-time as an ERISA consultant and have three kids, and since our move my job entails traveling from Vermont to Pennsylvania every few weeks. As a result, I bring my laptop with me and write whenever I have the chance.

All that said, I prefer to write somewhere with a great view. One of my favorite spots to write is in a ski lodge. My husband and kids are avid skiers; I am not. I go with them, though, and find a spot in the midst of the resort activity, preferably near a window (with a view of the mountains) and an outlet. The background noise helps me focus, and the fact that I’m sort of captive keeps me seated and working.

What authors do you enjoy reading within or outside of your genre?
While I’m an eclectic reader, many of my favorite books are mysteries and thrillers. I love the works of Elizabeth George, Tess Gerritsen, and Jonathan Kellerman, just to name a few. I’m also a huge Stephen King fan, and I think I learned a great deal about craft just from reading his novels. Sometimes when I need to clear my mind, I stick to reading nonfiction, especially books about science and ecology/nature.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers today?
If you enjoy my work, I hope you’ll check out my Allison Campbell mysteries (Henery Press) and my short stories in The Night of the Flood (“Anything Worth Saving,” March 2018) and Betrayed (“Soap,” November 2017). The proceeds of Betrayed are donated to an organization that helps crime survivors move on with their lives.

Thank you for coming back to Reviews and Interviews!
Thank you so much for having me! I love your site; it’s an honor to be included.


Rowe said...

Great interview!

Cynthia said...

What a wonderful interview. I began reading Ms.Tyson's Allison Campbell stories and was delighted that she then created the fabulous Greenhouse Mystery series which I find to be amazing. For anyone who has yet to get to read these two series and her other books, I hope that they will take the time to check them out. Hoping that Ms. Tyson can continue her writing despite her extremely hectic schedule and family commitments. I will always be a fan of her writing. Sincerely,
Cynthia B.