Polly Iyer is the author of four mysteries. Look for Polly’s books at Amazon.
1. Psychology is an element of all your books. Were you a psychology major? Do you consult psychologists when researching your books?
No, I wasn’t a psychology major; I was an art major. I’ve never talked to a psychologist about my characters while writing, although I did research serial killers for MIND GAMES. I like to know what makes people tick, however. My characters come complete with their own problematic characteristics stemming from their backgrounds. I have a cursory idea what they are, but more develop as the story does.
2. What starts a new book? (Character or plot)
Always the character. Always. In MURDER DÉJÀ VU, Reece Daughtry spent 15 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. How has prison changed him in dealing with the outside world when he’s released on a technicality? Tawny Dell is an ex-call girl in HOOKED. What made her choose that life? Why does she quit? In InSight, Abigael Gallant’s schizophrenic ex-husband kills their daughter and blinds her in his botched attempt to kill her too. How does she continue after that? How could anyone? MIND GAMES is different in that Diana Racine has a psychic gift she never wanted, but she can’t stop the visions from interfering with her life.
What happens to all these characters—the plot—is driven by their situations or their personal baggage, and the story evolves from that.
3. What is the major element in keeping up the suspense?
Putting my characters in situations they least want to be in.
Reece fears being locked up again more than anything in the world. Then he’s accused of another murder that could put him right back in a cell.
Tawny leaves the life, then because of something she did, a cop offers her a deal to avoid prison, but she must go back to being a prostitute to catch a murderer.
Abby goes back to school to become a psychologist and becomes the target of someone for no logical reason. She must fight her way back in the dark.
Diana uses her psychic gifts on stage as an entertainer, until she’s drawn into murders committed by someone who has the same psychic abilities as she.
In this way, I use my characters’ fears and unwanted situations to define the story. I hope that enhances the suspense and that the story makes it work.
4. Is emotion or biology the basis of romance?
Oh, a difficult one. I think it’s a little of both, but I believe in pheromones. That’s biology, but the biology drives the emotions. At least that’s the way I write the romances in my books, and they all have a romance.
5. Do you believe we have a sixth sense?
I do believe there are people who have some kind of telepathic gift or ESP. I have a friend who goes to psychics, and she said they couldn’t have known some of the things they told her. One insisted she had given birth to three children. She only had two, but the woman persisted. My friend had a miscarriage. She was really spooked.
6. Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m a pantser, all the way.
7. How are books priced on Amazon? Is it your choice?
The $2.99 price is my choice. There’s a psychology to pricing. I doubt anyone wants to spend too much money on an unknown, yet too cheap and the reader may think the book isn’t worth it if the author undervalues it. I know a lot of people who’ve had great success at the .99 price, but I’ll keep mine at $2.99.
8. Will you ever write a series?
MIND GAMES has a sequel titled GODDESS OF THE MOON. It’s finished and is in critique. Then it goes to Ellis Vidler for editing. The plot is a little out there, so I hope I can pull it off.
9. You’ve designed most of your covers. What’s the most important element in designing a cover?
I’ve changed two of my covers since I originally put them out. One because it was sexier than the book and gave the wrong impression, the other because it pictured my hero and people didn’t think he looked like what they thought. Most importantly, the cover should hold up as a thumbnail, and the type should be readable. I’m a type person, so I like to play around with lettering. MURDER DÉJÀ VU is a good example of that.
10. What’s the next novel?
GODDESS OF THE MOON will be out in a few months. Diana is not only Goddess of the Hunt in mythology, but she’s Goddess of the Moon, and the moon is featured in this book. There’s a lot of mythology in this one, a lot of really esoteric elements. Then I have a couple of other books that are finished but need some updating. One, CROSS CURRENTS, has to do with the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist. I was always afraid of that one. I figured as soon as I published it, they’d find the paintings in the twenty-two-year-old robbery. Then Whitey Bulger was captured. He’d been implicated, but so far nothing. I might chance it, though. Another is THREADS. That is my very first novel. It needs a lot of work, but I love the story. I have a couple that are half finished too. If Goddess does well, there may be a third Diana Racine novel. So lots of possibilities.
Bonus: Beach or mountains?
Beach. Definitely beach.
You can guess that Polly and I have a great deal in common! Thanks for coming back to WWK and sharing your latest releases, upcoming attractions and writing experience. Polly’s website is http://www.pollyiyer.com .