I’m thrilled to have Kellye with us today! We met when we both were on the board of Sisters in Crime. She’s an amazing advocate for other writers and was instrumental in forming Crime Writers of Color. I’m reading Kellye’s just published book Like A Sister and love it. I also love her Detective By Day mysteries.
Here’s a bit about Like A Sister: “I found out my sister was back in New York from Instagram. I found out she’d died from the New York Daily News.”
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets—or ending up dead herself.
Traditional mysteries and Domestic Suspense
What drew you to the genre you write?
I write what I want to read. (Yes, I’m a cliché!) I grew up loving cozy and amateur detective novels by the likes of Joan Hess and Jill Churchill. Then over the past decade, I’ve fallen in love with domestic suspense by authors like Megan Miranda and Lori Rader-Day.
What sets your book apart from what is out there?
I’m a black woman who writes about black women. You’d think this wouldn’t be such a big deal but unfortunately in crime fiction, it is. There’s a startling lack of diversity in our genre. It’s gotten better since 2016, when it took over a year to sell my first traditional mystery, but we still have a long way to go.
My books have everything you love in the genres—like twists, voicey narrators, family drama, beach read feel—just from a decidedly black perspective.
What are you currently writing?
I’m working on my second domestic suspense standalone. I got the idea while doing a writer’s retreat at a friend’s four story rowhouse. She wasn’t in town so I was alone and remember thinking, “I could walk downstairs tomorrow morning to find a dead body and have no clue how it got there.” So that’s the story. A black woman goes to the New York City area for a romantic getaway. She comes downstairs one day to find her boyfriend gone and a missing woman dead in her foyer.
Do you write a series or standalones? Why?
Both! I actually think there’s a lot of crossover with both amateur detective novels and domestic suspense. It usually involves a close knit community, a first person narrative, and a main character who isn’t professional law enforcement but has to deal with the fall out of a crime. Of course, the tones are wildly different.
What are you reading right now?
I’m on deadline so it’s hard to find time to read.
What is your favorite deadline snack?
Tears? Seriously, I love a minibag of movie theater butter popcorn.
Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?
As anyone who’s ever received an email from me will tell you, my email signature has the following quote from Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing. I love having written.”
It’s been in my signature for over a decade.
Favorite writing space?
I have this lovely desk space…that I have never used. I usually write in bed or on my couch because then I can trick myself into thinking I’m not doing work.
What do you see when you look up from writing?
The above mentioned tears in my eyes!
Readers: Do you like to try and figure out the mystery as you read? Like a Sister has be complete entranced and trying to guess what will happen next.
Kellye Garrett is the acclaimed author of the upcoming Like A Sister (Mulholland Books) suspense novel in which no one bats an eye when a disgraced reality TV star is found dead in the Bronx—except her estranged half-sister, whose refusal to believe the official story leads her on an increasingly dangerous search for the truth.
She’s also the author of the Detective by Day mysteries about a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Private Detective. The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the Agatha, Anthony, Lefty and Independent Publisher “IPPY” awards for best first novel. The second, Hollywood Ending, was featured on the TODAY show’s Best Summer Reads of 2019 and was nominated for both Anthony and Lefty awards. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for Sisters in Crime and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color. Learn more at KellyeGarrett.com.