Interview with Suspense Author Rolynn Anderson
What inspired you to write mystery books?
I taught high school and college English for twenty-three years; so I enjoy a wide range of genres and still do. But when I started writing fifteen years ago, I chose the contemporary mystery/suspense genre, as the most fun for me to write for my skill level. I’m not one to focus on the mystery of relationships for a whole novel, but I certainly want to include a strong element of hero Vs heroine in my story.
Maybe 40% of my story chews on the mystery of new love; the other 60% is the chaos created by villains, bringing my hero and heroine to precipices that challenge them and their relationship. My stories are medium dark, often with a slight paranormal tinge. My Vision/Voice: “I write about people who have the heart, vision and nascent ability to inspire, persuade and deftly lead others to improve the world. They accomplish this against extraordinary odds, by learning to love well and by learning to work together for the good of a family/community.”
What are you working on now?
Cézanne’s Ghost emerged from my month-long stay in Aix-en-Provence last year. I had so much fun there I had to use Aix as a setting for a novel (coming out in August, 2016). So here’s the premise:
Three American tourists vanish in Aix-en-Provence, France. Carefree, adventurous young women-all gone. Leon Beaudet, formerly a U.S. Army Ranger, is haunted by the fact these women disappeared on his watch as a guide. When the American Embassy, the FBI and the French police blame his tour company, Leon’s search for the women builds urgency. Worse? His newest tour group includes Aline Kerig, with looks and attitude matching the missing women. He’s fascinated by her even while he fears for her safety, but she won’t leave France. If he can’t safeguard Aline as well as find the other women, he could lose her, his business, and face arrest for kidnapping.
What’s the most interesting or unusual research you’ve done for a book you’re writing?
For Cézanne’s Ghost, I had to ‘find’ a drug that would keep young women in an amnesiac stage for days on end. I settled on a certain, easily procured chemical that would do the job. Shortly afterwards, I had some minor surgery that required a mild anesthesia. When I ‘went under,’ I had disturbing hallucinations, and I yelled out to the room that I was in trouble. They gave me another drug and I ‘went under’ again, peacefully. Turns out that my anesthesiologist gave me the same chemical I’d settled on for my novel. I told the anesthesiologist that I must be one of the 10-20% of people who react negatively to the drug. His eyes popped out when he heard how much I knew about the chemical. The good news: he agreed to be my expert on drug issues for my novel. Since then, he’s helped me come up with a ‘cocktail’ of drugs that would better suit my needs for Cézanne’s Ghost. This is what I call Deep Research!
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?
My strategy is to write every day for at least two hours. I don’t get ideas unless I’m typing. Should a plot turn or character motivation evade me, I let the answers come to me via my subconscious. I don’t dwell on the gap/problem; I allow the solution to emerge. Wouldn’t you know I get my best ideas when I dry my hair, or practice a golf swing, or talk about the issue with my husband? He knows I’m not looking for THE answer; we’re throwing spaghetti against the wall to see what sticks.
When you start a new book, do you always know whodunit or does it sometimes come as a surprise to you?
The most pleasure I get from writing is reading/revising what I wrote the day before, then setting my fingers on the keyboard and clicking away to discover what the next scene will be. Truth is, my major motivation as an author is to be surprised (and delighted) by my craft every day. I do start with a premise and thoroughly examine my hero and heroine’s backgrounds, personalities, looks, and motivations, but I’m not sure of their growth arcs in the beginning-even those are developmental. I may discover my villain halfway through the book, figuring that if I’m amazed by the revelation, my reader will be as well. I love being a pantser!
ABOUT THE BOOK
A psychiatrist’s attempt to help a soldier and his son struggling with shades of anxiety, puts them all on a collision course with corrupt, revengeful foes.
“Rolynn Anderson’s writing is tight and stays on point, always following the plot through to the nail-biting climax.” –Melissa Snark
Tally hates to hear rants from people’s brains. What does she do when those mind-screams threaten the man she loves?
Tally Rosella, an acclaimed psychiatrist who helps children fraught with anxiety, avoids adults because their brains rant at her. But the chance to start a second child study and connect her findings to PTSD, sets her squarely among devious colleagues at a big California university.
Army Major Cole Messer, Tally’s new neighbor, won’t admit that trauma from combat tours in Afghanistan, destroyed his marriage and hampered his ability to lead. As a teacher of college ROTC and single parent, he’s focused on enrolling his highly anxious son in Tally’s study and getting back to active duty.
Someone is dead set against Tally’s presence at the university, and blowback from her battles with co-workers put Cole and his son in jeopardy. Watch what happens when people struggling with shades of anxiety collide with corrupt, revengeful foes.
Six Suspense Novels Spiked with Romance
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Scandinavian, Army Brat, English Teacher, High School Principal, Golfer, Boater, World Traveler, Author. With her experiences, Rolynn Anderson is fairly bursting with stories about extraordinary people and amazing settings, real and contrived. Now add her competitive nature and her love of ‘the makeover.’ As a principal, she and the staff she hired, opened a cutting-edge high school; as co-captain with her husband on INTREPID, she cruised from Washington State to Alaska and back. As a writer, she delights in creating imperfect characters faced with extraordinary, transforming challenges. Her hope: You'll devour her ‘makeover’ suspense novels in the wee hours of the morning, because her stories, settings and characters, capture your imagination and your heart.