Anybody love a good mystery? I know I do! In fact, once I've started a mystery novel, it's hard to put down until I find out the ending. I mean, it's like seeing the beginning of a Sherlock Holmes movie and not being able to finish it! Of course, that may have more to do with Robert Downey Jr. than the mystery of it all.
Recently, I was able to interview Killarney Traynor, who is one such mystery writer. Let's see what she had to say in answer to my questions.
Me: What’s your name and a little about your background that led you to be a writer?
KT: My name is Killarney Traynor. I a bookworm who grew up with 8 brothers, so I learned to love Star Wars and He-Man right along with Anne of Green Gables and Laura Ingalls. I read obsessively and have wanted to write since I was 7: my brother and I collaborated on a book that year, my writing the prose, him drawing the pictures. Ever since then, I was hooked!
Me: How many books have you written? And, In what genre would you classify your works?
KT: I've published four books so far, though I have a lot of unpublished manuscripts on file. What I've published is mostly what I would call literary mysteries - along the line of Elizabeth George or Dorothy Sayers. I like mysteries that really delve into the characters and their individual journeys towards some sort of healing or enlightenment. For instance, Necessary Evil is about a treasure hunt, but it's true
heart is one woman's realization that the lies she's promulgated to protect her family and land have corrupted her view of the world, as well as landing her in a dangerous situation.
Me: Which was your favorite book to write and why?
KT: I've liked each one, for different reasons. Summer Shadows was just so much fun and so relaxing, and all of the characters were my friends by the time I was done. Necessary Evil was an inspiration that completely overwhelmed me - kind of like the first rush of puppy love - absolutely adore that book. Michael Lawrence: The Season of Darkness was based off a movie I wrote and it was fun to describe characters whom I'd seen on the set and trying to add cinematic atmosphere to the novel. Tale Half Told was very different because there were moments writing it that I creeped myself out!
Me: Do you work from an outline, or do you prefer to see where the story leads you?
KT: I always work from an outline, but sometimes the story moves in a different direction then I planned. Maybe a character refuses to act in a certain way or by the time I got to a planned plot twist, some other detail had shifted so that it doesn't work any more. I find the key to plan, but be flexible.
Me: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
KT: My brother runs a film company, so I love helping out on his sets, writing scripts, acting, running the camera, or holding the umbrella over the cameraman on outdoor shoots. I also read, go for walks, travel, and search museums or tourist traps that I haven't seen before. I love baking, too, and I'm always on the hunt for a new cookie recipe to try.
Me: Do you enjoy reading, as well? If so, whose books do you read for inspiration?
KT: Yes, I love reading! I read a lot of fiction, mainly Christian or British Lit or mysteries, and I love reading history books. My favorite authors are CS Lewis, Robert Jordan, Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Higgins Clark, PG Wodehouse, Elizabeth George.... I could go on and on!
Me: Is there one event in your life that led you in the direction of writing for your genre?
KT: I can't think of any one event. It seems as though my entire life has been angled in this direction. I've always loved studying people (and being in a big family, you've plenty of opportunity) and my family encouraged reading and writing as ways to learn and grow. From since I was a little girl, reading was a way to explore and escape, and I've always wanted to give back a little of that joy I receive from other writers.
Me: What is your goal, or mission, as a writer?
KT: My goal is to provide a way for people to escape in to some pleasant or exciting or intriguing new world, hopefully finding a little hope and peace there. I see storytelling as a way of making people's day a little better and helping them gear up to face whatever every day battles come there way. Books and stories have always done that for me - if I can do the same, even if only in a small way, for someone else, that's the best success I could ask for.
Me: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? And the best compliment?
KT: I have to say that the toughest criticism I've gotten was someone who told me that my work was 'cute', in a dismissive sort of way. Talk about ouch!
But the best compliment by far was when someone told me that their mother, who hadn't been able to
finish a book for years because of poor eyesight, read Summer Shadows twice in a year because she loved the main child character so much. That felt like winning the lottery.
Me: What do you see as the main benefit of being an indie author and what advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
KT: The biggest benefit I see in being indie is complete independence - you have the final say on everything.
If someone was starting out, I would tell them three things: one is, be careful to whom you give your first draft to. You want an honest review, yes, but you're going to be fragile and a careless assessment can really do damage to your enthusiasm and your final product. Pick someone you know can balance the pros and the cons and already likes the genre you're writing. Second, once you're comfortable with your manuscript and you've gone as far as you can go with it, take time to find a really good, thorough, competent editor. They may be costly up-front, but they are worth their weight in gold. And third, go for it. If you've had this dream and this book that's been weighing on your mind and heart, put it out there. It's scary and daunting, but you never know who's life is going to be touched by your work.
Sound like someone you want to learn more about? Me too! Find Kilarney all over social media:
Facebook Twitter Tumblr Goodreads Amazon Author Page and her Website