Perfidy, is a crime thriller in which a young woman’s desperate search for her missing mother reveals long held secrets and lies that will change her life forever.
Let’s talk about the incredible year you’ve had so far. Tell us about your recent award–
I’ve been attending the Love is Murder Mystery Conference since 2011. I met my publisher there and this year I presented my first novel. It was such a thrill to have Perfidy chosen by my peers as Best First Novel. When they announced it, I turned to my friend and asked, “Did they say Perfidy?” and she promptly told me “Yes, get up.”
Are there any books or authors that have inspired you in your writing? What are you reading right now?
I enjoy reading, so I have many authors I love to read. I do admire J. K. Rowling and her persistence in putting the Harry Potter series into print. She loved what she was doing and believed she had an audience. The things she went through personally along with trying to find someone in the publishing business to believe in her, caused me to be very determined to get my book in print.
What inspired you to write Perfidy?
The idea for Perfidy came from two women who disappeared in 2008, Stacy Peterson and Lisa Stebic. Although Perfidy doesn’t end the way I believe it will for these women, I hope mentioning them will keep them in the limelight until they are found and their families have closure.
Did you have a particular audience in mind when you started?
When I started writing, I knew it would be adult fiction. However, I think Perfidy and future Circle City Mysteries will appeal to ages 16 and older and to men as well as women. There is minimal cursing and no graphic sex or graphic violence. I try to leave something to my readers’ imaginations.
Why Indy? Did you have any hesitation in the Circle City as your setting?
Indianapolis is my hometown and a place I know well. Also, I grew up hearing from out-of-towners things such as IndiaNAPolis; and then asked if it was in the middle of a cornfield. I want everyone to know that my hometown is a thriving city. I try to incorporate some of the city’s features and specific activities that occurred in Indianapolis during the time period my stories take place.
How did you develop your characters and their motives in your story?
I didn’t realize until I finished Perfidy how character-driven it was. I know that sounds strange, but it’s true. The first thing I did was get to know them myself. I wanted to give the reader a sense of who each character is and why they do what they do—from relationships to careers.
My fascination with the criminal mind and my studies in social and behavioral sciences gave me a sense of how my antagonist might look at the world as well. It’s interesting to see how two people can grow up in the same household, yet become two very different people. Those who commit crimes often believe there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve done, as does the antagonist in Perfidy. In giving small bits and pieces of background throughout the tale, the reader will get a picture of how each character became the person they are today.
Did you find any characters more difficult to write about than others? Do you have favorites?
Actually, no, it’s as though these characters have been inside me somewhere waiting to burst forth. Of course, a “mother” never wants to show favoritism, but I do love my Missing Person Detective, Tyrone Mayhew. He’s a wise-cracking, jolly sort who is totally devoted to his wife and children. He’s a tough cop, but he melts like butter on a hot skillet when he’s with his family.
Do you ever feel the need to hold back in writing or describing the crime scenes?
I don’t think I need to hold back, I choose to write in a way that leaves some things to the reader’s imagination. For instance, I see no reason to overdo the cursing. The TV cop who screams and yells and tries to knock the suspect out of his chair isn’t depicting the way most cops act.
Police officers want to be able to prosecute these people so they don’t want anyone to accuse them of abuse and get their case thrown out. I also think too much cursing distracts from the story. In my opinion, the same goes with describing crime scenes. Give the reader just enough so they can use their imaginations to create the scene. As a reader, I am more interested in the story than these kinds of details.
What’s your writing process like?
My writing process continues to evolve. When I wrote Perfidy, I was all over the place. I wrote the beginning and then the climax because I knew who was going to do the deed and how I wanted it to play out. Then I started writing some chapters chronologically and then the ending and then the middle. No wonder it took me nearly two years to get a final draft completed.
Inconspicuous, the second book in the series, only took about nine months to write. After teaching myself some discipline, I was able to write it from beginning to end with very little need to add anything in the end. The last book I completed took about six months, so the more experienced I become, the easier the flow.
When did you realize Perfidy would be part of a series?
I decided from the beginning that I wanted to do a series involving the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department. Instead of choosing one protagonist to center the series around, I wanted to take each police officer or one of their family members and have a different protagonist for each novel. I thought this would keep it fresh for the reader as well as fresh for me. I also believe the idea of using a different protagonist and a different crime gives the series enough variety that it could last for a long time.
What new projects are on the horizon?
Again, I do have a third book in the series complete and have been working on a fourth and fifth novel in the Circle City Mysteries. I’m also toying with the idea of a Private Eye series set in Chicago. It is a continuation of a short story I wrote for the Speed City Sisters in Crime anthology, Hoosier Hijinx, which comes out in October 2013. I am also in the process of writing a short story which is sort of a paranormal mystery. It has the potential of being a good series some day.
Thanks for visiting Michele.
To learn more, visit Michele’s website at: http://www.memay-mysteries.com