My Elkridge Series is a puzzle. In book 1, BLINDED, Sheriff Sam is murdered. It will take 6-books to solve the crime. Word of caution: There are some red herrings throughout the series. Solving the crime will not be easy, and you don’t have to wait long. All books will be launched in 2017. If you like sensual romances, with deep emotional topics, threads of suspense, and a happy-ever-after then BLINDED, a stand-alone love story in the Elkridge Series, is for you. Let the mystery begin. ~Lyz Kelley~
Why did you develop Elkridge, your small-town series?
Both my mom and dad grew up in small towns and I loved the idea of a microenvironment for the setting of my series. Since childhood, I heard many fun stories about small-town life. I lived in a fairly small town growing up, so I figured why not create a town in Colorado? Elkridge was pulled from many different elements of nearby mountain towns to create a unique place. Don’t go looking for Elkridge, it doesn’t exist, but have fun visiting through my new series.
You mention in your author notes working with an FBI Special Agent.
Yes, Special Agent Michael Bantner came to speak to our writing group when I lived in Philadelphia. Years later, when I started plotting the Elkridge series, he helped with the technical aspects of the plot. He loved my story idea, and said it was one of the most realistic plots he’d heard. I was very excited. To get some of the local details correct, I also interviewed one of my high school friends, who worked in the local sheriff’s department. I love research, so it was a lot of fun.
Are any characters in BLINDED based on real people in your life?
The character that is most real to me is Sam. My brother, Sam, was always going head first into life. Always wanting to be the hero, he often didn’t listen to other people’s advice. Don’t get me wrong—we were best friends, and I loved him dearly. When he died just before I graduated high school, I was devastated. I can relate to how both Mara and Joey feel about people they love being snatched from their lives. Those feelings are real, and even after all this time, I still can feel the chasm my brother’s absence has left on my heart.
When Joey first shows up in Elkridge, he has no intention of searching for his brother’s killer. Why?
My technical experts suggested a brother wanting to investigate his brother’s murder, in another jurisdiction, would not be feasible. Sure, romance books are based on fantasy, and there is nothing better than an alpha male charging in to save the day. However, I wanted to write a more emotional book. When my brother died, we were very close. While writing the book, I started asking myself , what if Joey wasn’t close with his brother? What if he had regrets? What if he could investigate the most horrific crimes, but couldn’t stomach investigating his brother’s homicide?
Mara is such an unusual heroine. How did you develop her character?
Mara was developed out of an exercise at a writing retreat. C.J. Lyons, a New York Times best-selling author, was giving a lecture on the use of senses in writing. Most authors use sight as the primary go-to sense, and we were exploring the use of other senses to add flavor to our writing. I really struggled with the exercise. Like anything, I knew that conquering a problem takes practice. So, I wrote a novella. Then a friend talked me into writing a full-length book—thus BLINDED was created.
Where did you get the idea for Kym’s quirky character?
Kym, Mara’s best friend, was a lot of fun to write. Mara, the heroine, is so serious and a bit like me that I thought she needed someone who tilted her world a bit. There were times when writing Kym, I had to laugh. The humorous funeral scene actually happened to a friend of mine. She and her family were at a funeral and her uncle started cracking jokes to lighten the heaviness of the situation. Since I couldn’t find any way around excluding a funeral scene from the book, I decided to adopt the idea to make the scene a bit lighter.
There are so many fun characters in Elkridge. Are you planning to write more books?
Yes, book two is Kym’s book. It’s a 85-page novella. If you want a quick weekend or airplane read, SPURNED is a good book to pick up. The eBook will be available in March. ABANDONED is a full-length book that introduces new characters and includes characters you met in BLINDED, will be available in April. All books in the 6-book series should be out in 2017.