Amanda Kyle Williams
You have had a plethora of occupations, from house painter to pet sitter to working for a Private investigation firm, was becoming an author what you aspired to do?
Have you found that your different types of occupations and the additional classes that you took, helped prepare you for writing a novel and gave you some experiences to draw on to put within your novels?
Absolutely. Working as a process server with a PI and courier firm informed my writing in ways I never expected at the time. I ended up developing a character, Keye Street, who does many of the same kinds of jobs I did—serving subpoenas, surveillance, that sort of thing. The classes I took from professionals in criminal profiling and practical homicide investigation were invaluable in giving me a solid foundation in crime writing.
When you began writing why did you decide to start within the mystery/thriller genre with your Keye Street series, as this is a hard genre that has many well known and well followed authors within it. How do you think that your novels differ from other authors within this genre?
Well, first of all, I write what interests me. If I have no passion for the subject I can’t expect readers to either. It never occurred to me, not at the time anyway, that it was a genre populated with some very talented publishing giants nor was I considering sales potential. I think one is driven to write what they write. At least in fiction. Crime, murder, the motivations and psychological needs of a killer, they all fascinate me. That’s perfectly normal, right? And I think my books are different from some others in the genre. The books have a lot of laughs mixed in with the chills. Publishers Weekly called the first book an “explosive, unpredictable, and psychologically complex thriller that turns crime fiction clichés inside out.” I’ve written an American Chinese detective raised by white southern parents with a gay, African-American brother. Keye’s an ex-wife, an ex-drunk and an ex-profiler with ongoing demons, a tendency to inappropriate laughter, a survivor with a sense of humor who tries not to take herself too seriously. Keye and the surrounding cast make these books different. And hopefully my handling of the investigations. Keye uses her profiling skills to consult with local law enforcement on violent repeat offender cases. One UK reviewer called it a new genre—the “PI procedural”.
What do you think would be the hardest or most challenging genre to write a novel in and why?
Hmm. Good question. Truth is any genre other than crime fic would be challenging for me. I don’t know. Romance maybe. No interest in reading or writing in that area and I really can’t imagine setting out to write something like that. Daunting. I suppose Sci-Fi and fantasy require an unbelievable imagination. My hat goes off to authors who do this well. But again they are genres that don’t draw me in at all. I’m pretty grounded in the physical, in this world and its realities.
I really enjoyed your serial killer in The Stranger You Seek, what do you think are essential aspects in creating a serial killer?
Understanding your monster. What are their emotional and psychological needs? What do they require for fantasy fulfillment and how are their needs met during their interaction with a victim and how do they manifest in the physical crime scene? In my opinion, if you want your readers to be interested in your killer, make them real, profile them first and let your readers feel their illness. We’re not talking about writing a technical manual here, but if you fully develop your killer, readers will respond. And it scares the heck out of them, which is a good thing in crime fic. If I write something that’s real enough and creepy enough that I have to take my dogs for a walk just to shake it off, I’ve done my job.
Was Keye a challenging character to write because she portrayed as a damaged and flawed character?
Going back to your question about writing a murderer, the same rules apply in developing a series character. Unless you’re writing superheroes or characters with mystical powers, which I definitely am not, make them real. We all wrestle with guilt, fears, insecurities, demons and addictions. We all have a past. We try to be decent people. Sometimes we fail. For me it’s important to remember all these things when I writing any character. Keye isn’t hard for me to write now, but it took many years to be able to be really honest as a writer, to not be afraid of putting all the human stuff on paper.
I understand that you are a fellow animal lover; could you please share some information about the Lifeline Animal Project?
Do you have any information on upcoming works or events that you are able to share?
Yes I do. I have a events page on my website at www.AmandaKyleWilliams.com. Check it out. I’m on tour in late summer/autumn. Maybe I’ll be in a city with one of your readers. I also have a character bio, my bio, book trailers and fun stuff like that at my website. The 2nd book ‘Stranger In The Room’ came out on August 21st in the States, August 2nd in the UK, so we’ll have the new, ultra creepy book trailer up soon.
I reread ‘The Prince of Tides’ and ‘Beach Music’ every couple of years because Pat Conroy has a way with language that absolutely makes me swoon. He has this ability to drop the reader right into a scene—the kitchens of Charleston, the marsh of the low country, the taste of a good meal. Love the guy. As for that book waiting to be read, I have a stack on my bed table right now which includes advance copies of Tess Gerritsen’s ‘Last To Die’ and Kathy Reich’s ‘Bones Are Forever’, plus I always have something of Joshilyn Jackson’s close by. She inspires me. ‘Backseat Saints’ and ‘A Grown Up Kind of Pretty’ were excellent.
I want to Thank Amanda again for being part of celebrating my Two Year Blogoversary and for supplying a copy of The Stanger You Seek for a giveaway (Open to USA). I am currently in the middle of reading the second book in her Keye Street series and it is great so far, make sure to come back look for the review sometime soon.
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