Please contact E. B. Davis at for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

An Interview with Agatha Winner Kellye Garrett by E. B. Davis

“Forgive me, Ms. Anderson, but I find it had to believe that alleged lip syncing
is strong enough motive for a murder.”
“That’s ‘cause you’re looking at it from the point of view of a regular person. Being a celebrity is as much a brand as Coke or Pepsi. It’s a legitimate multi-million-dollar enterprise.”
Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Ending (Loc. 1462)

Tinseltown's awards season is in full swing, and everyone is obsessed with dressing up, scoring free swag, and getting invited to the biggest awards shows of the year. But when popular Silver Sphere Awards publicist Lyla Davis is killed during a botched ATM robbery, the celebratory mood comes to an abrupt halt.

Dayna Anderson—an actress turned apprentice private investigator—uncovers the killer almost immediately. Unfortunately, what starts as an open-and-shut case turns out to be anything but. Lyla's murder was no robbery-gone-wrong. Someone hired the gunman to kill her. Diving back into the investigation, Dayna gets a backstage look at the worlds of gossip blogging, Hollywood royalty, and one of entertainment's most respected awards shows—all while trying to avoid her own Hollywood ending.

Reading Kellye Garrett’s A Detective By Day mystery series makes me aware that there is a fine line between fiction and promotion. One of Kellye’s characters in Hollywood Ending (Kitt) alludes to the fact that no one really cares for the truth—more important is the weaving of the good tale. And that’s what Kellye has done in this series.

In the first book, Hollywood Homicide, Kellye introduced main character, Dayna Anderson, and her best friends Sienna and Emme. The book won an Agatha Award for Best First. I interviewed Kellye on that book here. But I cast a critical eye on the second in the series to judge the strength of a writer.

Hollywood Ending combines fast-paced action with an intricate plot. Through Dayna’s eyes, readers get ring-side seats for the Hollywood show with commentary by an insider.

But Kellye also introduces a new character, who may turn into a client, but then again, he may give Omari, Dayna’s boyfriend, competition. Just guessing here, but then, I think that’s just what Kellye had in mind. I’ll definitely read the third book a soon as it is released!

Please welcome Kellye Garrett back to WWK.                                                                  E. B. Davis
How did Dayna meet her best buds, Sienna and Emme?
Sienna and Day met in the bathroom at a club when Sienna told her that she was her biggest fan. They later bonded over a mutual shoe size and the constant need to always go to the bathroom.

I’m honestly not sure how Emme and Day met though I’ve been thinking about it a lot since I’m focusing on Emme in the third book. Let me know if you have any suggestions in comments.

Is Dayna jaded after her two-year notoriety promoting Chubby’s Chicken?

Definitely! She expected it to be a stepping stone to becoming this big time actress but that didn’t quite work out how she expected. She essentially got “ghosted” as the cool kids say by her manager and agent after Chubby’s dropped her contract.

Why does Dayna like being a PI?

She likes that she’s helping people and she’s good at it—in her own way.

Sienna has almost twenty-five thousand Instagram followers. Does exposure in the social media really help artists secure stature in business? 

There’s a phrase called “Instagram famous” because there are literally people whose job it is to post on Instagram. They’ve amassed millions of followers because of content that can range from sexy photos to funny memes. A perfect example of someone using Instagram to secure stature in business is Cardi B. She started off just posting on Instagram, which led to her being cast on a reality show, which led to her being one of the biggest hip hop artists out right now. She was supposed to go on tour with Bruno Mars! Denzel Washington knows who she is.

Aubrey S. Adams-Parker, Dayna’s PI mentor, interacts strangely with Dayna. Is it Dayna or is it him? Is he autistic?

It’s him. Someone actually asked me in another interview if Aubrey was on the autism spectrum. I’ll admit that I didn’t set out to write a character with autism spectrum disorder. I just wanted someone who would be a foil for Dayna because she is very self-deprecating and never serious. So Aubrey was created to be the guy who doesn’t laugh at her jokes or find her charming. Their relationship is definitely explored more in Hollywood Ending. You learn more about his backstory, which I wanted to share in the first book but didn’t have room.

Although Aubrey is a fourth-generation Angeleno, he seems out of the Hollywood loop. Are there a few people in LA who don’t get involved in the Hollywood thing?

Yep. There are more than a few L.A. residents who aren’t involved in Hollywood at all. You just don’t think they exist because they’re busy minding their business. Their only brush with fame is standing behind a celeb at Whole Foods. Entertainment is just one industry out there. There’s also aerospace, tech, health care, etc.

Are the Academy Awards the only genuine, merit-based contest for actors? Are there awards celebrities can buy?

The Academy Awards and the Emmy’s are probably by far the most respected awards for actors. You can’t buy them but you definitely can campaign for them. If you open up Variety or the Hollywood Reporter, you’ll see full-page “for your consideration” ads for actors, directors, writers, and films. Actors will also hit up a lot of events to smooze with those in the Academy.
 Although Dayna seems down-to-earth, she classifies people by the roles she’d cast them in. Does she come by this perspective as a former actress, and does this help her solve cases?

When it comes to casting, all actors have a “type.” Girl next door. Tough jock. Nerd. Stoner. You’ll see it listed in what they call casting breakdowns, which list all the different roles in an upcoming production. In Hollywood Ending, I have her describe every character based on how they’d be cast in a movie. I figured it’d be a fun way to bring in the Hollywood theme while also describing what someone looked like. Plus it helped me describe the different characters as well because I suck at writing character description!

Murder is scary. But in a way, Dayna seems more terrified of being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Why?
I actually think her fear of being at the wrong place at the wrong time is related to being murdered. Here’s how she explains it in the book: Just the idea that you’d done your best in life to avoid marrying any sociopaths, accidentally dropping a radio in the tub, or crossing the street without looking in both directions, and then you happen to head to an ATM at the exact same time as a money-hungry psycho with a gun.


App that lets you instantly pay or request money from your friends. It’s similar to PayPal but not business-focused.

I have no idea! I only namedropped it in the book because I wanted a throwaway line about Day eavesdropping on a convo.

A Blind?

A blind item is a piece of gossip so juicy that the blogger can’t say who it is because they don’t want to get sued. I’m obsessed with them. It’s not a coincidence they play a big role in Hollywood Ending.

Swag Bag?
Think I describe it best in the book: To call it a gift bag would be an insult. Gift bags held sweet tarts and lollipop rings that kids took when they left and begged their parents to eat in the car. This was a gift bag on steroids and it was definitely not for children. In yet another attempt to make everything sound cooler than what it is, Hollywood had even given the bag its own name: Swag Bag, aka Stuff We All Get. It held products companies donated in hopes celebs would take them home and love them so much they’d not only use them all the time, but be photographed doing so. In Hollywood, even the gift bags had ulterior motives.
Crack Pie?

A place called Momofuku Milk Bar in Manhattan sells them. Very buttery. Very dense. Very, very, very good! I’m assuming it got its name because one bite and you’re hooked. If you aren’t near a Milk Bar, you can get the recipe here: (Just don’t forget to send me a piece!)

Twitter Impression?

Something else I don’t understand myself. I just know that Twitter is kind enough to share my impressions whenever I log into my account. Here’s what Quora says:  Impression is the total number of times tweets about the search term were delivered to Twitter streams, or the number of overall potential impressions generated. When we say "impression", we mean that a tweet has been delivered to the Twitter stream of a particular account.

Silk Press?

A silk press is a black girl term for straightening our naturally kinky hair. Normally, you start with a blow dryer then finish it up with either a hot comb or a ceramic flat iron. Don’t forget to use the heat protectant, ladies!

Here’s me with my hair pressed at Left Coast Crime:

 Why does Dayna think that fame is “more a Sugar Daddy than a Soulmate?” (Loc. 550)

A Sugar Daddy is someone who buys you things to make you feel good and usually is only with you because of your looks. You’re both getting something from each other. It can be fun but you know it’s not going to last. Soulmate on the other hand is the person you’re supposed to have your happily ever after with…

When Dayna feels guilty, she eats Snickers and marshmallows. What does she eat when she’s depressed?

Snickers and marshmallows! Those are good for any occasion. At least they are for me.

Why does Emme claim that “Google is the Internet equivalent of God?” (Loc. 1735)

Google is all seeing and all knowing.

The difference between LA residents and visitors is that the residents pretend they don’t see celebrities. True?

Definitely. You never bug them. You just take a note of everything they’re wearing or doing so that you can one day mention it in casual conversation whenever the person’s name comes up. For instance, I once saw Nicole Richie while getting crepes at the Farmers Market by the Grove. Whenever someone mentions Nicole Richie to me, I bring this up and then give my unsolicited opinion on what she looks like. (She looks great in person, by the way.)

A gossip blogger created Tomari, as if Toni, Emme’s sister, and Omari, Dayna’s boyfriend, were romantically involved. At first, Dayna ignores the situation, but at what point does Dayna start to care?

If we’re being honest, I think Day always cared about Tomari but just didn’t admit it. It starts to bug her more in the second book though when it looks like Omari’s publicist is using the fake relationship for publicity purposes and Omari doesn’t care because he’s a guy. Guys never care about stuff like that.

Is Lyft LA’s version of Uber?

Nope. They’re pretty much everywhere. I personally use Lyft over Uber so of course my main character does too. Write what you know. Or in this case what you ride in. J

Z defines himself as a “problem solver” not a “fixer.” What is the difference?
Day would say they’re one in the same. They’re both who big-time celebs call when they had a major problem like a baby on the way from someone who isn’t their wife, or being caught red-handed in a den of iniquity. In short, they fix problems and make them go away.
Emme has more virtual friends than in real life. Do you think this is a symptom of our times or has the definition of “friend” changed?

I don’t consider it a symptom as much as the internet has expanded our abilities to connect with people—in both good and bad ways. I’ve been lucky to build a huge, supportive writing community that includes people I’ve never met and people I literally only see in person at conferences. That’s why Malice Domestic feels like a family reunion to so many of us.

If given another role that would enable Dayna to continue her career as an actress, would she give up being a PI?

What a good question. I’m not going to answer that solely because I think it’s something I might want to explore in another book if given the opportunity to write more.

My biggest questions regarding the next book:  Will Dayna get a reward for solving the crime? Will she be able to buy a new car since her twelve-year-old, hot pink Infinity is definitely shot? So—what’s next for Dayna?

I’d prefer not to answer the first question because it’s kind of a spoiler. And yes, she does have a new car in the third book, which starts with Dayna trying to uncover the person who hacked a celeb’s iPhone for naked pics.

I just needed to figure out a way to do it without going in guns
blazing screaming bloody murderer. During my limited PI experience,
I’d quickly learned most people didn’t respond well to that.”
Kellye Garrett, Hollywood Ending (Loc. 2456)


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congratulations on your new release!

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a great series! I love the idea of a struggling black actress in Hollywood who turns to detecting to support herself.

Grace Topping said...

First, Kellye, congratulations on your Agatha. I was privileged to be at Malice and see you receive your award. Your books sound like something I would really enjoy and I look forward to reading them.

Warren Bull said...

It is so much fun to learn about new places and lifestyles through books like this.

Kait said...

Mega congratulations on your Agatha, so well deserved, and on your newest release. Day sounds like the type of character that I'd want to have on speed dial. Can't wait to catch up with this series.

E. B. Davis said...

I enjoy reading Kellye's books. They're fun reads. Reminds me sort of how I used to feel about Janet Evanovich's books. Thanks for the interview, Kellye!

Liz Milliron said...

I can't wait to read this!

Bliss said...

Thanks so much to E.B. for the wonderful interview and to WWK for having me back!

Gloria Alden said...

Another author and series to put I my list to order.