Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for May: (5/4) Linda Norlander, (5/11) Connie Berry, (5/18) Mary Keliikoa, (5/22) Annette Dashofy, and (5/25) Rosalie Spielman.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ten Questions for Polly Iyer

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 .


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Loved the interview. Fun to read how other authors do it.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Fascinating interview, Elaine. Welcome to Writers Who Kill, Polly. Your books sound right up my alley. I'll have to get them.

Kathleen Kaska said...

Great interview. I'm printing this one and keeping it. Best of luck with your writing, Polly.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great interview
. Love your answers. I think one reason we all write is because we're fascinated by what makes people tick.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great interview
. Love your answers. I think one reason we all write is because we're fascinated by what makes people tick.

Ellis Vidler said...

Polly and Elaine, Loved the interview. Excellent questions, intriguing answers. Polly's books are terrific, and the characters have fascinating depths. It's really something when the author can make you feel sorry for the villain--wait till you meet the one in Mind Games!

E. B. Davis said...

I think Marilyn Levinson hit on the key to Polly's work--a fascination with what makes people tick. I thought Polly's educational background had to be in psychology because she portrayed the characters' internal landscapes so well. It created a deadly tension. Bravo, Polly!

Polly Iyer said...

Thanks, everyone. Sometimes I get so deep into my characters that it's hard to come back and be me. I understand how some actors get caught up in their characters. If you read the books, I hope you enjoy them.

Maggie Toussaint said...

what a lovely interview. I like your rationale for covers. Fortunately in the indie-pubbed world, it's easy to change covers and go again.

Don't know about anyone else, but I enjoy series, so I hope there's a third Diana book.

Well done, all@

Cheryl said...

Great interview. Good luck to you.

Warren Bull said...

Polly, Thank so much for stopping by and sharing with us. What a great interview!

Gloria Alden said...

Good interview, E.B. and Polly, Your books sound like ones I'd like to read. Are they out in print version yet? If not, will you be doing them in print eventually? I like when the characters are well developed.

I used the Isabelle Stewart Gardener Museum in a middle-grade mystery I wrote. It was one of the stops my protagonist used on her quest to stop two jewel robbers.

LD Masterson said...

Nice interview.

Gloria's comment made me wonder about the printed version (I have a Nook but still prefer hard copies) so I checked B&N, who list the paperback version at 29.90 but admit they're having technical difficulties, and Amazon, who list the paperback version of HOOKED at $13.

Polly Iyer said...

Gloria, all my books are in print. I know some people love the feel of a book in their hands. I made it so there's more spacing between the type so it's easier to read. Not larger type, just more space.

Polly Iyer said...

LD, I don't know how B&N can have my books for that price. All I can think of is that they bought them elsewhere and are reselling them. It certainly doesn't make them look good to sell them more than double than the price on Amazon. When I saw that I was really perplexed.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the interview, Polly, and keep those books coming!

Polly Iyer said...

Thank you, Elaine. I plan to keep them coming. And thanks to everyone who commented. They were fun questions to answer.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Insightful interview. Enjoyed getting into the "mind" of your characterizations.

Georgia Ruth said...

Good interview. I am obsessed with character. Flannery O'Conner called it the "mystery of the personality." So true even today. Responses are not robotic because there are so many variables. Best wishes, Polly.