If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Linda Reilly Interview

Sometimes in this life, you have to fish or cut bait. After walking away from a miserable job and an even worse boyfriend, Talia Marby has no regrets. She’s returned to her hometown and is happy to help her dear friend Bea Lambert by working at Lambert’s Fish & Chips, a cornerstone of a charming shopping plaza designed to resemble an old English village.

But not all the shop owners are charming. Phil Turnbull has been pestering Bea to sign a petition against a new store opening up, and his constant badgering is enough to make her want to boil him in oil. When Talia and Bea stumble upon Turnbull murdered in his shop, the police suspect Bea. Now it’s up to Talia to fish around for clues and hook the real killer before her friend has to trade serving food for serving time . . .

I’m visiting with Linda Reilly today. Linda interviewed with me two years ago after her first book, Some Enchanted Murder was released by Five Star. The book garnered a 2014 Silver Falchion Award nomination.

Berkley Prime Crime published Linda’s new book, Fillet of Murder, the first in the Fresh Fish-Foul Play mystery series. I wanted to catch up with Linda to find out about the new series, how it came about, and where she’s taking it.

Please welcome Linda Reilly back to WWK.           E. B. Davis

First, some background about your main character, Talia Marby. What was Talia’s major in college? Why is she circulating her resume for property management jobs?

Talia majored in business, mainly because she was young and didn’t know what direction she wanted her life to go in. As a business major, she could go in any of several directions. It was generic enough to serve her in a variety of professions. She stumbled on property management quite by accident when an interesting position fell into her lap. After she bailed on her fiancé and the horrible brokering job she’d accepted at his urging, it felt natural to seek another job in the profession she’d actually enjoyed—commercial property management.

Why and when did Bea and her husband come to this country from the UK?

The Lamberts emigrated from the UK in 1989. Like so many before them, they were seeking opportunity and a different (better?) way of life. Yet part of them missed their charming town of Edenbridge, in the county of Kent. When they spied the faux English shopping village in the town of Wrensdale, they knew it was a perfect locale to open a fish and chips shop.

Your setting is the Berkshires? I’m not familiar with them. Is this an area or a mountain range, like the Poconos?

The Berkshires are located in the westernmost part of Massachusetts. They are famed for their gently rolling hills and lush fall foliage, as well as a plethora of cultural sites. The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge is a huge tourist draw, and Tanglewood, home of the Boston Pops, is another. Herman Melville lived in the Berkshires for a number of years, and it’s where he wrote Moby Dick. Many artists and musicians, such as Woody Guthrie, have made their homes in the Berkshires. Summer theatre is also popular. My mom and I were browsing in a tiny bookstore in Lenox last year, and we’re pretty sure we spied Olympia Dukakis poking through the bookshelves.

When Bea is accused of murder, Talia investigates. What makes Talia so protective of Bea?

Bea has always been like a second mother to Talia. Not that Talia’s real mom isn’t wonderful – she is. But Talia’s folks went through a rough patch when she was a teenager, and her part-time job at Lambert’s Fish & Chips gave her the break she desperately needed from the angst going on at home. Bea is childless, and has always thought of Talia as a kind of daughter. They bonded early on, and Talia never forgot Bea’s kindness to her.  She knows in her heart that Bea is not a killer, so she’s determined to clear her name and find the real killer.

Talia is at a pivotal time in her life. What precipitated these changes?

Like many unmarried women in their mid-thirties, Talia started to question where her life was headed. Did she want kids, a family? If so, how much longer could she wait? Technically, she was engaged to Chet . . . and yet they never talked about a wedding.  He’d urged her to apply for a job that turned out to be all wrong for her. When her boss started getting a little too creepy-feely for her, she decided it was time to go. Did Chet support her decision? No, he did not. So she chucked it all and headed back to her hometown, taking up residence in the darling bungalow where her recently deceased Nana had lived.

Talia never gives the reader an answer about why she capitulated to Chet during their relationship. Did she find the answer, or will that be revealed in a later book?

Talia capitulated to Chet because it was her nature to be non-confrontational. “Keep the peace,” was her clichéd motto, and “don’t rock the boat” was another. As an only child, she never learned the art of standing up for herself. She discovers her core strength – and her resourcefulness -- when she has to defend Bea; turns out it was there all along. Chet might pop up in a future book, but that remains to be seen.

Do you have BFF rules?

Nah. Just be the best friend you can be. That’s the only rule.

What is it about parental roles that inhibit adult relationships between their children and parents? When do the roles change? 

Judging by my own upbringing -- my parents are terrific people, but have always been excessively over-protective. My dad, who’s nearing ninety, still goes into panic mode every time I get onto the highway. Talia experienced a similar type of upbringing, which is why she doesn’t tell her folks all the bad stuff that’s happening to her. The roles change when the parents begin to fail, either mentally or physically. I think that’s when the role reversal kicks in.

Is there a supernatural element in the series or is Talia imagining Nana’s presence?

There is a slight supernatural element, but it’s so understated that a reader might wonder if it’s only a figment of Talia’s imagination. The fact is that her Nana is always with her, watching over her. Nana’s powerful presence is so loving that it occasionally seeps through to the earthly realm.

You were published by Five Star with Some Enchanted Murder. Two years later, you have a series with Berkley Prime Crime written under your own name. How did this come about?

In 2011, after Some Enchanted Murder was accepted by Five Star, I thought I’d reached the pinnacle. But I found myself struggling to construct the plot for book two—something I should have been way ahead on at that point. In the summer of 2012, Jen Stanley posted on the Guppies listserv that she occasionally hears of “write for hire” opportunities with Berkley. She asked writers to contact her privately if they were interested in trying out for such a gig. At that point I was toying with the idea of writing a culinary cozy series, so I contacted Jen. She responded immediately and referred me to her agent, Jessica Faust. Jessica asked me for some materials, which I immediately supplied. About two months later Jessica called me, offering representation. That was truly a surreal moment—I never thought I would ever have an agent! We talked about different themes, and we both loved the idea of the deep-fried eatery. I wrote a proposal (which took longer than I’d hoped), and in June 2013 I received the contract offer from Berkley for the Deep Fried Mystery series.

What’s next for Talia and Fry Me A Sliver? 

Talia is going to expand the physical dimensions of the eatery, but she’s also going to develop her relationship with the new guy in her life. Her expanded menu translates to new employees, and the two she hires will be a challenge, for sure. She’s also going to meet her elusive and mysterious landlord. And, of course, she’ll have to solve a few murders.

What is your background, Linda? Did you always write? What brought you into this industry?

I always loved books, and I always loved writing. But I never thought I could actually write something that was publishable. In college I majored in Criminal Justice with the idea of doing crime lab work, but my life actually took a twist when I needed a job and took a position as a paralegal with a small law firm. Real estate became my specialty, and I knew it was right for me. At some point during the 1980s, I discovered Woman’s World magazine. Their weekly mini-mysteries fascinated me, and I daydreamed that one day I might write one and submit it. Fast forward to the mid-1990s. Recently married, I strolled into our new B&N one day and spied a Writer’s Digest magazine with the blaring headline WRITING AFTER 40.  Huh. That was me, for sure. I bought it, and became enthralled with the idea of writing for publication. Within a year, I had my first short mystery accepted by Woman’s World. At that point I figured I could die happy. But once I’d achieved that tiny success, I wanted more. After that first one, I sold a lot more short stories, but knew that a full-length novel was what I truly craved. It took a long, long time to get to where I am now. I guess it’s been a 20-year journey.


Warren Bull said...

Welcome back to WWK. It's fun to revisit writers and see what they've been up to.

E. B. Davis said...

After writing a successful novel for Five Star, it was no surprise to me that Linda obtained a contract with Berkley. It was also no surprise that a Guppy served as the go-between helping Linda get that contract and agent! A happy departure that I hope fulfills Linda's writing goals. Thanks for the interview, Linda.

Linda Reilly said...

Thank you, Warren, for the welcome. And thanks to E.B. for doing such an insightful interview. Some of those questions made me crank up my brain cells!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

What a wonderful interview. I look forward to this entertaining. (I've met Linda so I know it will be entertaining) new series.

Linda Reilly said...

Thanks, Terrie! That's very kind of you. It was fun meeting you at Malice!

Sarah Henning said...

Very nice interview as always, E.B.! Thank so much for coming, Linda! I loved the conversation about single women in their thirties--so true to life. I'm in my thirties, and though I'm not single, I know plenty of women who are and you nailed it on the head!

KM Rockwood said...

Certainly sounds like a book I'm going to have to look into!

Thanks for sharing with us.

Sandy Cody said...

Sounds like a fun read. Good luck with it.

Linda Reilly said...

Sarah, I was in the same position as my character in my thirties -- single, working to pay the bills, not knowing where my life was headed. Didn't get married until I was 42. Thank you for stopping by!

Linda Reilly said...

Thank you for stopping by to visit today, KM!

C. T. Collier said...

So glad to see a series set in the Berkshires! Your characters sounds delightful.

Linda Reilly said...

Sandy, thanks for stopping by for a visit today!

Linda Reilly said...

Kate, I grew up in the Berkshires and that's where my heart is. Thanks for stopping by today!

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, nice to have you here at WWK. I've been through the Berkshires at least half a dozen times. I love it there,
just as I'm sure I'll love your book.

Linda Reilly said...

Thank you, Gloria. It's a pleasure to be here!

Edith Maxwell said...

What a great interview, Linda. I learned so much about your new series, and about you. Hmm. Women's World? I might have to look into that market. Can't wait to read the new book!

Linda Reilly said...

Edith, it's always a pleasure to hear from you. If you have any questions about Woman's World, please be sure to let me know. The format of the mini-mysteries has changed quite a bit over the years from real stories to "brain teasers." Since it's a weekly mag, they need 52 mysteries a year, and that's great for writers!

Shari Randall said...

Sorry I am late to the party, Linda! I, too, love the Berkshires and can't wait to check out your series. (I also like the stories in Woman's World - I'll be watching for yours!)

Linda Reilly said...

Thank you, Shari! I don't have anything coming up in WW in the near future, but after I complete book #3 of Deep Fried I'm hoping to submit something. I'm happy that you stopped by.

Grace Topping said...

I love that each success drove you on to working on something new. Congratulations on all that you've achieved.

Susan Sundwall said...

Linda, I'm 20 minutes from the Berkshires - just lovely. Woman's World has become the challenge of a lifetime for me. =0) Years of trying with the romances and I've recently sent them a mini mystery. Fingers crossed, it's a tough gig. Your book series sounds enchanting. Great interview!

Linda Reilly said...

Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by! Don't give up on WW -- it does take persistence. I always tell people to just keep reading the stories every week to get a feel for what they like. For the mini-mysteries, I've found that the "clues" can be very simplistic. Don't exceed 700 words or it will be too long. I keep my "minis" at about 650 words if possible. I get rejected a lot, too, but once in a while I manage to sell one. If you ever have any questions about them, I would be happy to answer them. You can contact me easily through my web site!

Linda Reilly said...

Grace, first of all I want to say that I was so happy to meet you at Malice! I found that it was hard to really get to talk to all the people I met there. Such a huge conference. Thanks for stopping by today, Grace.

Jenny Kales said...

Great interview! It was fun to learn more about Talia, Bea and of course, Linda, the author! This is a charming book. Congrats on Fillet of Murder and here's to the sequel!