You are returning to the Lei Crime Kindle World. How is your storyline continuing with your new novella?
Bury: In Palm Trees & Snowflakes, FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, the newest addition to the Bureau’s Honolulu station, is working on the case of how the newest designer drug, Snowflake, is getting into the US via Oahu. As the replacement for Lei Texeira following the events in Shattered Palms, Vanessa’s partner is Ken Yamada.
This story takes place about two years after the action in Torn Roots, which was set on Maui. Vanessa Storm is no longer just the new person in the Honolulu FBI office. She has settled in, and she has learned about her co-workers and her boss, Special Agent in Charge Ben Waxman.
Gilbert: My original vision for the Defining Moments Series was to explore several of the characters, but after Never Again, which featured Michael Stevens, I’ve stuck it out with FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott. There’s a section in Toby Neal’s Black Jasmine where Marcella mentions one of her defining moments, so that sparked Money Makes it Deadlier. Although that story concluded, I felt there was room to grow with the tale, so I expanded it further with Revenge Makes it Sweeter. In the new story, Christmas Makes it Chaos, Marcella visits the Northeast for an antiterrorism conference and gets swept up in investigating a real terrorist threat.
Toby: Julie, I’m super happy you are staying with Marcella, because much as I love her, I don’t think I’ll be writing any more novels with her as main character and this way, she can keep evolving. Thank you for falling in love with her, she’s such a fun character!
O’Flynn: Tell the Truth, the sequel to Half Moon Girls, picks up several months after Half Moon Girls, when the trial for the bad guy is about to start. After an attempt to murder the prisoner in jail falls apart, the syndicate turns their attention to the witnesses. Lei finds herself fighting to save herself and keep the other witness alive. It’s all very exciting!
My stories are set on Kaua’i, in the timeline after Torch Ginger. There will be one more novella to complete the story.
Toby: Corinne, I LOVE these novellas! You were born to write crime fiction, I’m telling you! Thanks for continuing with that story and timeline, it’s a motherlode of great material.
As an author, what have you learned writing for the Lei Crime Kindle World?
Bury: I’ve learned a lot about developing characters quickly. Plot has always been pretty easy for me, and until I wrote Torn Roots, I was happy to let characterization build gradually through the characters’ responses to events and challenges from the plot. With the constraints of the Kindle Worlds—under 10,000 words for Palm Trees & Snowflakes and under 40,000 for the full novellas, such as Torn Roots, I learned how to bring characters to full, three-dimensional reality in few words.
And I have also been inspired by, and gratified by the response and attention from my fellow Lei Crime Kindle World authors, especially the creator, Toby Neal. The support has made a world of difference.
Gilbert: This is my fourth novella in the Lei Crime Kindle World. Novellas are a different beast than novels. They take a separate set of skills and have new unwritten rules to follow. Suspense stories, mysteries, and thrillers of this sort mean more action. The amount of page space you have for side characters is limited, so one must get to the point quickly. Every story’s a new learning experience. I’ve enjoyed working on these projects.
O’Flynn: I think the stand-out as far as learning experiences I’ve taken away from writing in the Lei Crime Kindle World is the value of true teamwork. Aside from the exciting opportunity to build a story with someone else’s fabulous characters, Toby Neal has been extremely generous, sharing insights and keeping the group connected. We’ve built a tight community among the authors writing for Lei Crime—past, present, and future—and the collaboration and shared efforts among all of us continue to be a wonderful lesson in the power of a truly invested team.
What advice do you have for authors who are considering writing in a Kindle World?
Bury: First, you should be a fan of the original work. You need to get to know it so that you can understand the characters and create believable behavior in realistic situations. You also need to be true to yourself. For me, writing a police procedural was a stretch. I had to do a lot of research in terms of reading and re-reading the original Lei Crime books, and other procedurals, plus some critical analysis of the genre.
When I created the characters for Torn Roots, I followed the same process I do for my other books. Other than Vanessa Storm, they’re not cops or detectives or secret agents. One is a geologist, the other an environmental activist. I also recommend research. I came to Maui to research the setting for Torn Roots. A geologist, I reasoned, would know the geology of the place he lives intimately. So I had to get to know, to touch and smell the land of Maui. For Palm Trees & Snowflakes, I did further research into the international drug trade, Oahu, Christmas in Hawaii and the FBI’s office in Honolulu, which moved in about 2012.
Finally, I would encourage any author who joins the Lei Crime Kindle World to reach out to fellow authors, get to know them at least online, share ideas and support. And also, I’d like to see us share characters where it makes sense—to cross-pollinate each other’s work. That would make for a more integrated, cohesive and believable Kindle World.
O’Flynn: I think the most important tip is to write in a world you’re passionate about and that you know well. It’s interesting to be able to choose any character and build a story just for them to explore, but it’s also important to stick to those things from canon that made the world popular in the first place. I’ve enjoyed reading all the different authors’ takes on their stories and characters, and feel like my own characters have taken on a life of their own. I feel very fortunate to be a part of Lei Crime Kindle World.
Will there be a follow-up story?
Bury: I have a follow up in the works now, which returns FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm, along with her partner, to the rain-soaked south coast of Maui to investigate
the murder of a once-famous singer while working out competing romantic interests. It will also feature a character from Palm Trees & Snowflakes, and some others from the Lei Crime Kindle World.
Gibert: Maybe someday I’ll return to the vision for exploring a wider range of characters, but I’ve been enjoying Marcella’s adventures. I work really hard to make sure each episode has a tight ending yet leaves enough room for expansion. Nothing’s definite, but I don’t think I’m done with Marcella Scott. Toby’s been kind enough to leave enough gap years between books that the opportunities for side adventures is practically endless.
O’Flynn: Yes! There will be one more novella to complete the series. To date we have Half Moon Girls and Tell The Truth. The as yet untitled Part Three will come out in 2016.
Connect With Scott:
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Email: [email protected]
Bookbub Partner Page
Amazon Author Page
Twitter: @authorgilbert or @jilliananddeli
Facebook: Ashlynn’s Dreams
Facebook: Heartfelt Cases Series
Pinterest: (for book covers and other stuff
Connect With Corinne
COMMENT AND WIN!
Corinne is giving away 3 copies each of each Half Moon Girls and Tell The Truth! Scott s giving away a copy of Torn Roots.
If the winners of Half Moon Girls have already read that story, they may choose to receive a copy of Tell The Truth instead.