Hey everyone! Liz here and today I’m thrilled to welcome Kendel Lynn, author, publisher and overall delightful person. Kendel writes the Elliott Lisbon Mystery Series – the first book, Board Stiff, was Agatha-nominated – and is the managing editor of Henery Press. Henery Press publishes the Eilliott series, and it’s also publishing the Sisters in Crime collaboration, Writes of Passage, an awesome book of essays about the journey that is a writing career. So thanks for that, Kendel! Now, let’s talk Elli.
Here’s a summary of Whack Job, book two in the series:
Elliott Lisbon blends her directorship of the Ballantyne Foundation with her PI-in-Training status by planning parties and performing discreet inquiries for charitable patrons. But when the annual Wonderland Tea Party makes everyone go mad as a hatter, Elli gets pulled into a shooting, a swindle, and the hunt for a Faberge egg.
From seedy pawn parlors to creepy antique shops, Sea Pine Island’s other half prove to be as wacky as the wealthy. As Elli falls farther down the rabbit hole, she finds a scheming salesman, a possessive paramour, a dead donor–in fact, the only thing missing is a bottle labeled “Drink Me.” As events evolve from curious to crazy, Elli gets lost in the maze and finds herself trapped in a house of cards with a killer.
Tell our readers a bit about your series and how Elliott Lisbon came to be.
I was living on Hilton Head Island when I started to plot the series. The interesting dynamic between locals and visitors, between country club living and trailer parks, and between flip-flops by day and fine dining at night — it struck me as the perfect place to plop quirky characters with nefarious undersides.
Your books are hilarious, and Elli has been compared to Stephanie Plum. That’s pretty cool! Was Stephanie/Janet Evanovich an influence? Who else?
Thank you for saying that! Evanovich created the cornerstone for humorous mysteries with Stephanie Plum. She blended slapstick humor into deadly situations and she’s still cranking those suckers out (I do not know how she does it, I’m on book three and she just released twenty-one, and I’m exhausted!). But an even bigger influence for me was Lawrence Sanders and his Archibald McNally series. I love Archy! He’s a Palm Beach almost PI who martinis with his parents at sundown and sports a puce beret just for the fun of it. And of course, he always nabs the bad guys.
Sea Pine Island, SC sounds delightful (and the food sounds delicious!) You lived “in paradise” down south for a while. Was it like Sea Pine?
Sea Pine Island is the fictional version of Hilton Head Island, right down to its palm tree-covered shoe-shape. I decided to fictionalize it so I could put things where I wanted. Like a fancy prep school near the lighthouse and a lovely ocean view restaurant on the beach. The restaurants are plentiful with amazing cuisine. I actually found my favorite side dish while I lived there: homemade potato chips. Nearly every restaurant had their own version — I could eat them every day. Especially the ones covered in bleu cheese with parmesan cream sauce.
You’re living a dual life as writer/publisher. Tell us about Henery Press and what you love most about it.
I love Henery! My partner and I started it nearly three years ago. We wanted a fresh approach to mystery publishing: flexible, entertaining, and approachable. I serve as Managing Editor, and I absolutely love finding new projects. It’s a thrill to call an author and offer a contract. As a writer, I know that feeling – from the waiting and agonizing and soul-crushing rejection – so it’s fantastic to be able to help bring these excellent books into the world. I also love working on the cover art. I’m kind of addicted to fonts.
What’s next for Elliott?
SWAN DIVE! When a ballerina goes toes up during a performance ofThe Nutcracker on Sea Pine Island, Elliott takes the case and much investigating (and hijinx) ensues. I’m almost done with the first draft (hallelujah) and it hits bookshelves April 2015.
Liz, it was an honor to be an Agatha nominee alongside you for Best First Novel this past May. You’re not just a fellow Guppy, you’re absolutely adorable! Thank you for spending time with me today. I look forward to seeing you soon!
Aww, thanks, Kendel! Readers, any questions for Kendel?