Thursday, June 29, 2006

Girlfriends Cyber Circuit Presents Kyra Davis

We're back on the Girlfriends Cyber Circuit, this time with Kyra Davis, author of Passion, Betrayal and Killer Highlights. This book is a follow-up to Sex, Murder and a Double Latte, a chick-lit flavored mystery.

Here's the scoop on the book:
Sophie Katz has just offered a man $12,000 for his services…is she desperate or just meshugeneh?

Considering the kind of disasters that usually befall the half-black, half Jewish mystery writer, probably both. Because the last time Sophie saw sexy P.I. Anatoly Darinsky, he practically danced a jig when she waved goodbye -- a normal reaction for a man who’d nearly bought the farm due to her misguided attempts at vigilante justice. What are the chances he’d agree to take incriminating pictures of her sister’s philandering husband? Or that he’d let her tag along -- you know…for research?

But when her brother-in-law turns up dead and her sister becomes the prime suspect Sophie’s priority is finding the real killer. With or without Anatoly’s help. Her brother-in-law’s secret life yields plenty of suspects, but the San Francisco police aren’t taking any of them seriously. So Sophie does what comes naturally to her: she stirs up trouble (to lure the killer out, of course).

But if her crazy plan works will everybody survive the outcome?

And now the interview:
What inspired you to write this book?
When I was three quarters of the way through the rough draft of Sex, Murder And A Double Latte it occurred to me that the book could be the beginning of a series. Since I had spent most of the first novel exploring Sophie's relations with her crazy friends I figured that it would be fun to use the next book (Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights) to explore her relations with her even crazier family. Having her sister's husband threaten divorce (and then wind up dead) seemed like a natural segue for a comical women's murder mystery.

Describe your creative process.
My process seems to vary book to book. I started two of my novels by "the-seat-of-my-pants" only to end up writing an outline when I was already at least 100 pages into the books. I began working on Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights by writing a very detailed outline but by the time I got to page 200 I realized that if I stuck to it my book would be completed before I reached page 250 (and there is NO WAY my editor would have gone for that). So I ended up tossing the outline and writing the rest of the book by the seat-of-my-pants again. I've probably come up with at least five different outlines for the book I'm working on now and I really haven't been sticking to any of them.

So I guess my process is that I don't have a process. For some completely inexplicable reason this seems to work for me.

Do you have any writing habits or rituals?
I love listening to the radio when I'm writing. This is how it works...most of the songs they play on the station I listen to are what I consider to be decent background music but every ten to twenty songs they play something that is so good that it demands a little more of my attention. When that happens I save whatever I've been writing and start dancing around the house (no joke). Then, when the song's over, I'm refreshed and energized and ready to sit back down at my computer and write some more. My neighbor says she can always tell when I'm writing because that's when I play my music the loudest.

How much, if anything, do you have in common with your heroine?
Well we're both writers, we're both biracial, we're both divorced, we're both from the Bay Area and we both love Starbucks. Understandably most people take this to mean that Sophie and I are one but that's not really true. There are actually a lot of divorced multicultural authors in the Bay Area who love Starbucks. The reality is that Sophie has some issues that I don't and vice versa. I'm not jealous, she is. I sometimes shrink from speaking my mind she NEVER does. And God knows she's braver than me.

How has your background in the fashion industry influenced your writing (or maybe your wardrobe)?
My fashion industry experience had a major influence on my upcoming (non-Sophie) November title, So Much For My Happy Ending, which features a female protagonist (April) who manages the "Sassy" department within a large specialty store known as "Dawson's." It didn't take a lot of creativity to think that one up since I used to be the Savvy department manager at Nordstrom. Let's hope people keep buying my books because after that title comes out I'm sure to go on Nordstrom's do-not-re-hire list. Although for the record I still shop there (great shoes, great service, great return policy, what's not to love?). The influence my fashion experience had on the Sophie books is less obvious. While it's true that Sophie's friend Mary Ann works at Neiman's LancĂ´me counter, readers won't get to see her at work until book 3. However working in what was (when I worked there) considered to be Nordstrom's most fashion-forward department and studying trendsetting at New York's Fashion Institute Of Design and Merchandising (FIT) gave me the strong grasp of pop culture that I needed in order to create Sophie's hip little world. As for my wardrobe--evidence of my former profession seems to be getting scarcer as my son's love of mud and slime becomes more acute.

Are people more likely to ask you how you research the sex or the murder in your books? (Since it seems like romance writers are always being asked how they research the sex, and the standard witty comeback has to do with deciding to write murder mysteries and needing volunteers to help with that research)
Honestly, no one's ever asked me how I researched the sex in my books. They do at times ask me how I researched the murders. Oddly enough I got most of my information about the crimes that take place in Passion, Betrayal And Killer Highlights from a cop that I used to have sex with. See, I was killing two birds with one stone!

Chocolate: dark or milk?

What are you working on now?
The third Sophie book, Obsession, Deceit and Really Dark Chocolate (which kind of speaks to how passionate I am about my answer to your last question).

Is there anything else you'd like to say about this book or the process of writing it?
Writing the Sophie Katz series is an enormous amount of fun. The characters in those novels have become so real to me that I've come to think of them as friends. That did come back to bite me on one particular occasion. When my son (now 6) was in preschool, a school psychologist came into the classroom and spent some time talking to the kids. At one point my son mentioned Sophie. The psychologist smiled encouragingly and said, "Is Sophie your imaginary friend?"

My son shook his head emphatically and answered, "Noooo, Sophie's my Mom's imaginary friend."

I'm fairly sure that woman left the classroom convinced that my boy was being raised by a schizophrenic.

For more info on Kyra and her imaginary friend, visit her web site.

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