Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer, and former therapist whose background inspires her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy writes two series, the Allison Campbell Mystery Series and the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The first book in the Campbell Series, Killer Image, was named a 2014 best mystery for book clubs by Examiner.com. A Muddied Murder (March 2016, Henery Press), the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series, was called a “Charming and entertaining cozy series debut” by Library Journal. The second Greenhouse mystery, Bitter Harvest, comes out on March 7, 2017. Wendy is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers, and she is a contributing editor forThe Big Thrill and The Thrill Begins, International Thriller Writers’ online magazines. Wendy and her husband are avid organic gardeners and live on a micro-farm outside of Philadelphia.
Judy: Tell me a bit about your first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series.
Wendy: Hi, Judy. Thank you for having me on your blog today. A Muddied Murder is the first book in the Greenhouse Mystery Series. The book introduces Megan Sawyer, an environmental attorney who leaves her Chicago law firm to return to her roots in the fictional small town of Winsome, Pennsylvania. Megan, with the help of her grandmother, is determined to turn her family’s failing farm and storefront into a thriving organic farm and cafe. But obstacles abound—and most of them come from the town’s overzealous zoning commissioner. When the zoning commissioner is found bludgeoned to death in Megan’s barn, Megan must dig through small-town secrets and local politics to clear her name and find a killer.
Judy: It sounds great, Wendy. I love small-town secrets! Can you share your writing process and/or a typical day in your life?
Wendy: I split my time between Pennsylvania and Vermont. In Pennsylvania, I usually write on a laptop at my kitchen island. I don’t like silence when I write, so the kitchen/family room is perfect. It’s a hub of activity. My three boys are usually darting in and out, my three dogs lounge near my feet or on the nearby couch. If my family’s chatter is too much, I wear headphones and listen to music. When I’m in Vermont, I also write at the kitchen table, but there I have a wonderful view of the woods and mountains beyond.
In terms of time, I generally write early in the morning. I work full-time, so I need to be flexible with my writing schedule. I’ve learned to write anywhere and at any time. During my lunch hour, between lacrosse games, in the car…I write whenever I have the chance.
Judy: I envy that. I can’t seem tor write “wherever,” but I do need to learn that skill! What advice and/or resources would you recommend for aspiring writers?
Wendy: Read, especially novels by authors you admire. Read like a writer—not simply for entertainment. Take notes. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t work—and consider why. And write every single day. No excuses. In terms of resources, I love Natalie Goldberg’s books, especially Writing Down the Bones.
Judy: I agree that reading is the best teacher. How many books, on average, do you read in a month, and do you read your genre when writing?
Wendy: I read about four to six books a month. I always intend to read more, but there is just not enough time. I read mostly at night, in bed, before going to sleep. I wear a headlamp (my husband doesn’t share my passion for late-night reading), and I prefer paperbacks to e-books. Inevitably I fall asleep a few chapters in. And yes, I read books in my genre. They are my “comfort food.”
Judy: What’s next for Wendy?
Wendy: Next year will be a busy one. I have three novels coming out in 2017: Bitter Harvest (Greenhouse Mystery no. 2—March 7), Fatal Façade (Allison Campbell Mystery no. 4—June 13), and Seeds of Revenge (Greenhouse Mystery no. 3—November).
Judy: Wow…and I thought my schedule was crazy. Good luck to you, Wendy, and thanks for sharing your stories on my blog.