Each of you have published several books for the Lei Crime Kindle World. What makes you continue writing novellas for the series?
Eden: The main reason I continue writing for the Lei Crime Kindle World is because of Toby Neal. She is a tireless advocate for independent authors, and it’s simply a joy to know her. Aside from that, her Lei Crime series is a rich tapestry of characters and plots.
To weave my own stories within the parameters of Toby’s world, I read her books and find that germ of an idea that resonates with me. It may be the crime that takes place, the setting of the book, or a minor character I wish to develop further. I’m writing my stories to align chronologically with Toby’s books, so I’ve only done the first three!
The Lei Crime Kindle World has stretched my “writing chops” in many ways. I knew nothing about Hawaii prior to Toby’s series. Through research about the Hawaiian Islands, I’ve developed a huge appreciation of its history and people, and I cannot wait to someday visit it.
Scott: I had come to know Toby Neal’s excellent novels, and joined an authors group that she was in. Eventually, she invited me to the initial launch of the first wave of Lei Crime KW novellas in April 2015. Foolishly, I thought I could not produce a book by that deadline. But I did manage to publish a novella for the second “wave,” in July 2015: Torn Roots. I had a lot of fun writing it, and the reader response was enough to convince me to come back this time around with Dead Man Lying.
Julie: The Defining Moment series started out with the idea of exploring the younger characters and the things that happened to mold them into the characters we know and love. Then, in Black Jasmine, I stumbled upon one phrase that started me on a different road. It concerned FBI Special Agent Marcella Scott and one of her defining moments. I can’t say which phrase for fear of spoilers, but I’ll tell anybody who asks in private. Writing Money Makes it Deadlier was a lot of fun, so I decided to continue the series because it just seemed like I “got” Marcella as a character. So, I ran with it. Somewhere around the third story it definitely had the vibe of its own series, so Shadow Council was born. I think I might have busted Amazon’s series minions though.
Why have you chosen to write a sequel to your Lei Crime Kindle World book?
Eden: Charade at Sea is my third novella for the Lei Crime Kindle World. I wrote it to unite two characters I introduced in my first two books for the series.
In A Snake in Paradise, I introduced Lainey Lee, a recently divorced woman trying to make it on her own after years in a bad marriage. She travels to the Big Island as a gift to herself but falls into the middle of a crime ring. Time frame: Parallel to Blood Orchids.
In the second book, SEAL of a Monk, Lainey returns to Hawaii and meets ex-Navy SEAL, Max Scott in Kauai. They work together to find a missing girl and romance is hinted at the very end of the book. Time frame: Parallel to Torch Ginger.
In Charade at Sea, the storyline focuses on the developing romance between Lainey and Max. The setting is a cruise ship around the Hawaiian Islands. It also pulls in two minor characters from Toby’s third book, Black Jasmine to draw attention to the important issue of “Stolen Valor.” Time frame: Parallel to Black Jasmine.
Scott: I chose to return to Hana, Maui as the setting for my first Lei Crime KW novellas, Torn Roots, because I wanted to write my Lei Crime novella based on environmental themes, and the Haleakala National Park comes down to the ocean shore near Hana. With Dead Man Lying, FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm returns to Hana to investigate the death of a once-famous singer who has an estate there. It also features Lei Texeira herself. She, like Storm, comes initially as a formality, as the death looks accidental. The ensuing tension and violence belie that theory.
Julie: Marcella had a chaotic Christmas. It didn’t seem fitting to leave her recovering for too long. Although the Christmas tale has a distinct end, I always strive to leave enough room for further developments in the long run too. Writing novellas is a different kind of art form than tackling a novel. You have limited time to get to the point, but you still want to strive for a sense of closure.
How is this book different from your other Lei Crime Kindle World stories?
Scott: Dead Man Lying checks off an important item in my literary bucket list: writing a noir-type thriller, in the style of Raymond Chandler. The theme of Dead Man Lying is … lying. All of the characters being investigated are hiding the truth in some way. Vanessa and Lei have to untangle the truth from the twisting lies.
Julie: The Shadow Council Series differs from Defining Moments because it keeps the focus on Marcella Scott and Matthew Rogers. Never Again was about a young Michael Stevens. It’s sort of taken on a mystery/thriller edge rather than mystery/drama. There’s plenty of suspense in both, I hope
What advice do you have for authors who are considering writing in a Kindle World?
Eden: I recommend they read a couple of Toby’s books, along with a few of the Kindle World novellas and then JUST DO IT! It really is that simple. Toby is incredibly supportive of writers joining her world. The authors who’ve already gone through the process are more than happy to help too.
Remember that your Kindle World novella is a reflection of you as an author. As such, it’s important to do all the things you normally would for publishing a book, namely:
Write a great story.
Get it professionally edited.
Design a fabulous book cover.
Promote the book to your readers.
Julie: Read some of the Lei Crime Series and find a character who intrigues you. Apparently, Jared Stevens is the popular fellow this month. Those stories tend to fall in the romance genre, if their blurbs are an indicator. Choose somebody who resonates with you. As I said earlier, I started out with every intention of exploring a variety of characters, but I’ve stuck with Marcella for 4 stories now. I chose not to focus on Lei or Michael because the Lei Crime Series is their story arc. People can work with almost any character, except the few off limits for technical reasons.
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Eden will gift 1 winner to receive a Snake in Paradise, 1winner to receive Seal of a Monk, and 2 winners to receive Charade at Sea. Three winners will receive a boxed set of the Vanessa Storm series from Scott Bury and seven winners will receive a copy of Money Makes it Deadlier, Shadow Council Series Book 1 (Or if winner already read it, winner’s choice), from Julie Gilbert.