I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Liv/Wendy for a number of years now. I was so lucky to get to spend the day sitting next to her at a book conference in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is fascinating and fun. You might know her from her acclaimed Greenhouse Mystery series. Liv/Wendy has a brand new standalone thriller out, Little Red House, and I can’t wait to read it! Look for the giveaway below.
Name (s): Liv Andersson/Wendy Tyson
Genre(s): Psychological Thriller and Mystery/Cozy Mystery
What drew you to the genre you write? I was drawn to the crime fiction genre for three primary reasons. One, nothing is quite as satisfying as developing the puzzle elements of a plot. My goal is always that “a-ha” moment in which the reader is surprised by the ending but simultaneously realizes that all the pieces have fallen into place and the denouement was really the only way events could have played out. Two, I enjoy crafting the whydunit aspect of a crime novel. As a former therapist, it’s exciting to explore the psychological reasons for people’s actions. And finally, justice. As a therapist working with at-risk teens, I saw the horrific results of injustice. Real crime is gritty and awful and actual people get hurt or killed. In my fictional worlds, at least, the bad folks get their comeuppance and justice (sometimes in a twisted way) is served.
What sets your book apart from what is out there? Readers say Little Red House is twisty, fast-paced, and has an ending they didn’t see coming. The book is told through dual timelines using two primary point of view characters, both of whom are caught up in—and affected by—murders in one fictional town. At the heart of the mystery is a rundown little red house in the New Mexico desert. The eerie isolation of that house in the desert is the perfect backdrop for the sinister events that transpire.
What are you currently writing? I just turned in a new Liv Andersson thriller (yay!), which takes place in a fictional town on the coast of Maine, near Portland. Now I’m working on a new cozy-with-an-edge mystery series set in Vermont and finishing a contemporary women’s novel set in Martha’s Vineyard.
Do you write a series or standalones? Why? Under Wendy Tyson, I write primarily mystery series, and under Liv Andersson, I write standalone thrillers. I’m a big fan of crime fiction in general and enjoy reading most of the subgenres, including longstanding mystery series. As an author, I’ve found that each has its advantages and drawbacks.
Series provide so many possibilities. There’s nothing quite like sinking into the first book in a series, creating the characters and building a fictional world, and then having multiple books in which to develop the characters’ arcs, relationships, and subplots. It’s a commitment to a fictional universe. That takes planning, however, and you’re always writing with an eye to the larger story arc and what could be next. On the other hand, standalones provide a certain creative freedom. With a standalone, you can focus on just that story, just those characters, just that resolution—without having to ensure continuity of setting or characters from one book to another. With a standalone, you don’t have to build in the possibility of future novels. Choosing between series and standalones would be hard, so my solution is to write both.
What are you reading right now? She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan.
What is your favorite deadline snack? Hummus. Yalla Hummus with smoked eggplant (made in Brattleboro, Vermont) is my absolute favorite. I buy three or four containers of it and eat it with tortilla chips, pita, focaccia, a spoon—whatever. In fact, I just met a deadline and still have two containers in the fridge! A small miracle.
Do you have a favorite quote or life motto? “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use it, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou
Favorite writing space? We recently purchased a small “canned ham” style travel trailer. It has a table and two bench seats, and the table is surrounded by windows. We’ve had the opportunity to take the trailer to a few spots in Maine and Vermont this past summer and fall, and I love writing at that table. We have three dogs, but we take our Newfoundland with us—he loves to travel—and he’s fond of sitting on the bench seat with his head on the table so he can simultaneously look out the window and watch me. There is something about being immersed in nature (alongside one of my writing buddies) that sparks creativity.
What do you see when you look up from writing? Birds, squirrels, and chipmunks. I live on eleven acres in the woods of Vermont. At home, I write at my kitchen table, which looks out a set of French doors onto our front yard. We have a pollinator garden out there, with multiple bird feeders. In the summer, I plant red and dark purple flowers, which attract hummingbirds, and I especially enjoy when they visit. In the winter, the birds congregate at the feeders. It’s a nice spot to write and watch the seasons change.
Readers: Why do you love reading crime fiction? Wendy is giving away a copy of Little Red House to one person (US only) who leaves a comment.
Liv Andersson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist whose background inspires her thrillers and mysteries. As Liv Andersson, she writes thrillers, including LITTLE RED HOUSE. As Wendy Tyson, she is the author of several mystery series, including the Amazon-bestselling Greenhouse Mystery Series, and her short fiction has appeared in literary journals and crime anthologies. Originally from the Philadelphia area, Liv lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont with her husband, sons, and three dogs.