Author Syd Parker interviewed by Jon Michaelsen;
Syd, thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions for members of the Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Facebook group.
Let’s start off with, where do you live?
Thank you, Jon. I live with my partner of eight years in the very red state of Indiana, just north of Indianapolis.
As you probably know, writers rarely like to toot their own horns, but what would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
I am incredibly timid, so for me, it was taking the rejections I received from traditional publishing houses for my first few manuscripts and using those as a platform to self-publish. I knew putting my work out there would open me up to reviews, good and bad, and that was a big hurdle for me to overcome. For me personally, being a #1 bestseller in my genre was validation for all my hard work.
Without getting too personal, would you share a little about your home life?
Not at all, I tell people all the time, there are very few questions I won’t answer. I live with my partner, Sarah. We love to spend time cycling, hiking and hitting the golf course. We both dabble in cooking which means we have to stay pretty active. We have one son and a ton of nieces and nephews. No pets, but only because we are running all the time and neither one of us wanted to leave them home alone. We enjoy gardening in the spare time we have left. For the most part, we are pretty normal and boring.
Do you fly by the seat of your pants when writing or plot out your storylines in detail?
I generally have the basic plot in my head, but where and how I get to that point is never set in stone. I have tried putting together an outline, but I always stray from that, so for me it’s easier to have a goal and take whatever turns the story goes through on my way there, rather than tying myself down to a specific outline.
Have had you ever had to deal with homophobia after your lesbian novels are released, and if so, what forms has it taken?
Fortunately, I haven’t experienced it with regard to publishing my novels. I have been pretty lucky in that everyone who knows the genre that I write has been respectful of it, even if they won’t read my books. It makes it easier to put out a lesbian story knowing that I don’t have to hide it from anyone.
Can you share what inspires and challenges you most in your writing?
I think for me it’s the challenge of putting out a novel that pulls the reader into my world. I want them to feel the ache that I do, or shiver with fear when they get a glimpse into the killer’s mind. I have to put myself into each character’s head and live the story through their eyes. Sometimes, I might take it a bit too far as it takes me several days after finishing one of the Gray Foxx thrillers to come out of my dark place. Sarah always tells me I scare her during those times.
You have a killer thriller (literally!) series known to fans as the Gray Foxx Thrillers, featuring Detective Rebecca Foxx and FBI Special Agent Jordan Gray. What inspired you to conceive these characters and do either resemble someone you know personally?
The plot for the first book literally came to me in a dream, so when I went to write the story, I already had an idea that I wanted two female leads. I wanted them to be strong, but still have a vulnerability that made them likeable. For Rebecca Foxx, someone pointed out that I hadn’t had a main character with red hair in any of my stories. I decided that Rebecca would work perfectly as a red head, as she has a fiery temper. Jordan is more laid back, but has a tendency to doubt herself. I can’t say that they remind me specifically of anyone, like a lot of my romance characters do, but I think there are personality quirks in each of them that I’ve pulled from numerous people.
Do you research for your novels? If so, how do you go about your research?
I will generally do my research as I’m writing a particular scene. For instance, in the Gray Foxx series, as I was writing details about the police department or the FBI, I would do internet searches on both and gather as much information about both branches of law enforcement. When I do a murder scene, I will research the body to see if the idea that I have is plausible. A lot of the other research regards places in the city, details regarding certain events that have happened, things like that. I also have several people with expertise in certain areas available to me. They have been kind enough to let me pick their brain in the process. Fortunately, in this day and age, there is a wealth of information out there and it makes research so much easier.
Which living actor would you cast to portray your lesbian detective, Rebecca Foxx and FBI Special Agent, Jordan Gray and why?
It’s funny you ask that. I sat down after I started Sin No More and looked up hundreds of actresses till I found the ones I thought fit them the best. For Rebecca, I chose Poppy Montgomery from the show Unforgettable. Everything from her red hair to her black leather jacket fit the picture I have of Rebecca. For Jordan, I would love British actress Heather Peace to play her. It helped to have their faces in my head as I was writing because I could picture the scene so much easier.
Last question; can you share with us a little about your current release and/or WIP?
I am finishing up a romance that actually plays off of the story in Someone Like You, and then I am diving into the next book in the Gray Foxx series. The title is Chase the Devil. Some of the back stories in Sin No More will come into play in this book, as well as a brand new string of murders to solve.
On behalf of the Facebook Gay Mystery-Thriller-Suspense Fiction Group, thank you for giving us a little of your time today, answering questions fans of the genre want to know.
Thank you, Jon. I really appreciate you including me in a group of such talented writers, and for letting me talk about myself and my writing. It’s been a pleasure!
Find Syd Parker on the web: www.sydparkerbooks.com