by Saralyn Richard
This month, it’s my pleasure to interview fellow-Stiletto-Gang-member,
Gay Yellen, author of the Samantha Newman Mystery Series: The Body Business
and The Body Next Door. While I’ve known Gay for a very long time, I
learned a lot from this interview, and it’s fun to share these things with you.
SR: Before we get serious, here’s a burning
question: The Body Business and The Body Next Door feature a leggy woman
wearing drop-dead gorgeous stilettos. (Way to go with subliminal advertising
for the Stiletto Gang!). Whose legs are those? Samantha Newman’s or yours?
GY: I wish my legs were that great! Since the
titles reveal that the book is a mystery, I wanted the images to reflect the tone:
fun and a little bit sassy.
SR: As someone who’s followed your career from
the early days in Hollywood, I’m fascinated by the cinematic nature of your
writing. How do you feel your writing has been influenced by your experiences
as an actor and director?
GY: My training gave me an ear for authentic dialogue, scene
pacing, and character motivation, all of which helps create what I hope are
entertaining stories. And improv allowed me to think outside the box.
SR: I enjoyed
getting to know Samantha Newman. She’s spunky and clever and totally likable.
How did Samantha’s character develop in your imagination? Is she a lot like you
or someone you know? If Samantha could change one thing about herself, what
would that be?
GY: Samantha was orphaned
at a young age and forced to make her own way; I was lucky to have a loving
family circle. We do share a sense of justice, and like many women, hard-won
resilience. As for change, I think Samantha would prefer to live a less
SR: As much as I enjoyed Samantha’s character,
the secondary characters in the series really resonated with me. What
techniques do you use to depict secondary characters in such a way as to give
them the attention they deserve? Who is your favorite secondary character and
GY: I love all my
characters, but there’s a special fondness for Gertie, who holds a certain
likeness to my grandmother. Lizzie, the little girl that Samantha befriends in
an elevator in Book 2, simply showed up fully formed and stole my heart as I
wrote the scene.
SR: I remember reading one of the sex scenes in The
Body Business and thinking it was the most scintillating, but tasteful sex
scenes I’ve ever read. Are sex scenes difficult for you to write? What is your
philosophy about them?
GY: A reviewer once complained that just when the sexy
stuff gets interesting in my books, I shut the bedroom door. To me, part of the
fun is leaving the rest to a reader’s imagination. We don’t really need an
anatomy lesson, do we?
SR: Can you give us a hint about what Samantha
might become embroiled in next?
GY: Sam is struggling with a new career that isn’t
turning out as hoped. She’s also a material witness to a shooting, and faces a
big decision about her relationship with Carter Chapman.
SR: What makes Samantha and Carter Chapman a
perfect couple? What stands in the way of this?
GY: They’re both strong-willed, and they both like to
fight for the underdog. Problem is, he keeps wanting to protect her, and she
doesn’t want his help. Stubbornness could be her undoing.
SR: I read on your website that you are toying
with the idea of writing a historical novel set in the 16th century.
What is it about that time that draws you to that setting?
GY: I’m fascinated by the clash of cultures in the New
World at the dawn of that century: indigenous peoples, conquistadors, the
secrecy and terror of the Inquisition. It left a legacy that’s still with us today.
Won’t you join me in celebrating Gay and her fun and sparkling books?
After a show-biz stint
in Hollywood, Gay Yellen began her professional writing career as managing
editor of Tennis Illustrated Magazine and later, of D
Magazine in Dallas. She was the contributing editor/ghost writer
for Five Minutes to Midnight, a New York Times New & Notable
thriller, after which she began her own multi-award-winning Samantha Newman Mystery Series, which
includes The Body Business, The Body Next Door and
the soon-to-be released, Body in the News.
THE BODY BUSINESS
Pages from the Heart Finalist
THE BODY NEXT DOOR
Readers’ Favorite Mystery
Chanticleer Mystery &
Mayhem 1st Place
Silver Falchion Finalist,
BODY IN THE NEWS – Coming in 2021
Award-winning and best-selling
author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. A
former educator, she loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and
romance-tinged mysteries and children’s book pull back the curtain on people in
settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high
Saralyn’s most recent release
is A MURDER OF PRINCIPAL. Look for her mystery/thriller, BAD BLOOD
SISTERS in March 2022.