Funny you should ask. I’m a heavy dreamer, and I often remember vivid bits of my dreams, but they typically don’t inspire my books. Recently, though, I had a very action-packed, disturbing dream. When I woke up, I realized that, oddly enough, the dream held the answer to a plot problem I’d been having with a work in progress. Perhaps my subconscious had been working through the issues while I was sleeping.
My last dream? This morning I dreamed my husband was a superhero who had to battle Green Lantern and Batman. I have no idea where that came from, but he certainly found it amusing.
When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I’ve been writing since I can remember, but it took me a while to get published. I tapped out my first story on an old children’s typewriter at age eight and it was instant love. During college, I was an English minor and took advanced fiction writing classes, focusing largely on short stories, which I continued to write (and submit for publication) during and after graduate school and law school. I was successful in getting a number of short stories published in literary journals, but it wasn’t until after law school, while I was practicing law at a big firm in Philadelphia, that I tried my hand at novel-writing. My first book was contemporary women’s fiction. It landed me an agent but not a publishing contract. After that, I decided to focus on what I love to read most—mysteries and thrillers. A few years later, I met my new agent and she sold KILLER IMAGE to Henery Press. It’s been a long, twisting journey to publication, but I feel very blessed to have gotten to this point.
What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
While “chick lit” novels are often lighthearted and funny, I think they capture many of the experiences and problems shared by modern women, some of them quite serious. We can all relate to themes such as failed relationships, career angst, personal loss, sexual insecurity, and gender bias. In my opinion, the best chick lit books confront these issues in ways that are both entertaining and moving.
As for other genres—absolutely. I especially like literary fiction, science fiction, horror, historical romance, chic lit, and, of course, mysteries and thrillers. In fact, mysteries and thrillers are my literary “comfort food.”
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
When image consultant Allison Campbell attends an award ceremony to honor a designer friend, she’s thrust into a murder investigation. Only this time, it’s personal.
Scott Fairweather, former boyfriend and client, is dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. The police believe his death is drug-related, yet the man Allison knew was into clean living. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison that day, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about Scott’s death—or life—makes sense. When compromising photos from the past show up at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer. Who wants her silence…and why?
Driven by the desire for justice and a compelling need to understand her role, Allison deconstructs the image Scott had carefully created for himself, looking for clues about the man he’d become and possible motives for his murder. The pressure of the search and the secrets it unveils test the strength of her newly-rekindled relationship with her former husband. Add to that family turmoil, including a prodigal sister battling addiction and a young niece she never knew she had, and events force Allison to question the very foundations of her life. As her hunt for the truth continues, Allison’s past and present collide—with deadly results.
What inspired you to write it?
I didn’t really have a specific inspiration for DYING BRAND other than an image of the opening scene (Allison getting a phone call from a woman who haunts her past). As I suppose many fiction writers do, I used that image to ask a series of questions: Who was the woman? What did she want? What is the conflict? What does Allison stand to lose? The storyline grew from there.
This book represents a turning point for Allison. In KILLER IMAGE, the Allison we meet is tightly controlled, almost rigid—she’s created a safe, tidy life for herself and she’s determined to keep it that way. By the end of KILLER IMAGE, and certainly in DEADLY ASSETS, we see that resolve waning. Allison is learning to trust others and her own abilities, and she’s starting to develop faith in the future, even if that future is messier than what she’d like it to be. In DYING BRAND, things fall apart. Everything she’s known to be true is challenged and nothing is as it seems. But Allison is able to draw on these past experiences, and the love and friendship of those closest to her, to become stronger and more self-aware.
Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
Once at work—in the gym—I spotted someone reading KILLER IMAGE while on an elliptical trainer. Does that count?
Who designs your covers?
My publisher, Henery Press.
If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Hmmm…I always struggle with the casting couch. I think I would choose Charlize Theron as Allison, Julianne Moore as Mia, Bradley Cooper as Jason, and Morris Chestnut as Vaughn. As for Brutus…although he’s not a Boxer, my big, slobbery Labrador, Driggs, would love a chance at the role.
What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
BRIDGET JONES’S DIARY. So funny and relatable.
What were the last two books you read?
THE GIRL ON A TRAIN by Paula Hawkins and THE DEEP END by Julie Mulhern.
Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. She not only has an incredible literary voice, she also has something to say. I loved PURPLE HIBISCUS.
Where do you write?
Anywhere I can. I work full-time and have a husband, three kids and three dogs, so making time to write can be hard. I bring my laptop everywhere, and I just invested in a decent set of noise-canceling headphones—this allows me to write in restaurants, between games at lacrosse tournaments, and in my company’s cafeteria during lunch. I prefer to work in my kitchen, where I can see our gardens through big picture windows, or anywhere with a view, really, but I typically have to settle for less optimal surroundings.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
At one time or another, I wanted to be a veterinarian, a dolphin trainer, an archeologist, a sky diver or a writer. Writing was the constant, though. I’m a lawyer and an author—so yes, I guess I did follow that dream!
In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Sandra Bullock. Love her.
Top drink to make you tipsy? Vodka Gimlet
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Closer to the ground (flip flops!)
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie. Mostly.
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Enchanted forest near an exotic beach!
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy has written four published crime novels, including Dying Brand, the third novel in the Allison Campbell Mystery Series, which was released on May 5, 2015. The first in the Campbell series, Killer Image, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of the Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first of which, A Muddied Murder, is due to be released in spring 2016. Wendy is a member of International Thriller Writers and a contributing editor for The Big Thrill, International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. Wendy lives near Philadelphia with her husband, three sons and three dogs.