Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Are you ready for Backlash?

Readers, it's always a treat to host Polly Iyer.  I first met her as a Mainstream finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense contest.  I learned then, she's the total package, author, artist and entrepreneur.  Please welcome Polly Iyer as she talks to us about BACKLASH.  
BACKLASH,  a Diana Racine Mystery
When psychic Diana Racine’s old friend is murdered in New Orleans, her love, Lieutenant Ernie Lucier, brings her in to consult on the case. What she sees when she touches the dead man’s body is another man with silver eyes, a gang tattoo, and a bullet in the middle of his forehead. Before long, Diana and Lucier are drawn into a web of murders that stretches far into the past. The deeper they get into the investigation, the more it appears the deaths are the work of a group of vigilantes on a moral crusade. Vigilantes wearing the blue of the NOPD who won’t let anything or anyone stand in their way.


DONNELL: Ooooh, Polly, I can’t wait to read BACKLASH. Welcome back to Get Lost in a Story. Amazing how art imitates real life is, isn’t it? In light of what’s going on across the country, how do you feel about releasing this book?

POLLY: Every situation of revenge in the book is taken from real life. Every single one. I elaborated, of course. I felt the frustration of innocent people involved in a crime and centered the story on someone for whom the loss was personal and could have been avoided. It wasn’t hard to find examples. I had no idea what would happen subsequently in the US at the time I was writing Backlash. I won’t say any more because I don’t want to reveal anything to a future reader. Enough to say there are many inconsistencies in the justice system, as we’re all finding out.
DONNELL: I love psychic stories, and you bring Diana to life. Do you believe people have psychic abilities?

POLLY:  I have a friend who believes in psychic phenomenon completely. She’s gone to psychics and they’ve told her things no one could have known. Another friend has family that definitely has psychic sensitivity. One has to keep an open mind, so in short, yes.
DONNELL: You had special assistance from a law enforcement expert to write this novel. Can you talk about that?

POLLY: Because the book is as much police procedural as thriller, I did ask a few questions on CrimeSceneWriter. The rest came from Internet research, although I did have help from a forensic cop about drugs and its psychological and physical effects. I read many first-hand accounts that curled my hair and gave me insight into the addiction. My books all have multiple plots, and though that’s not the main plot, it was intrinsic to the development of the story.

DONNELL: This book also caused you some trepidation to complete. Why was that? Now that you’re finished, did it free you up to begin a fresh project anew?

POLLY: I didn’t want to disappoint my readers who liked the first two books, and they kept asking me when the next Diana Racine book was coming out. Such pressure. What if it wasn’t good enough? What if I didn’t develop my characters? There’s nothing worse than letting down your readers. I got through it, but there was a lot of second guessing, insecurity, and loss of objectivity. I am working on a standalone, but I also changed my mind about a fourth book in the series. I initially didn’t think there would be one, but I’ve already started the next book, so I guess getting over the third book did free me for continuing the series. Still, I assume I’ll have the same problems with the fourth book, but I think I’ll handle it better, though there’s nothing worse than a series that’s lost its steam. Yup, I’ll handle it better. Right.

DONNELL: Get Lost in a Story deals mainly with fun questions, but naturally I had to drag the hard questions out of you first. So let’s have some fun. You write on your porch, right. Tell us why that is and give us a visual.

POLLY: There’s a deck on the front of our house, which is high on a hill. I live on a city lake and on a jogging, cycling, and walking route. It’s quiet, and the outside is conducive to concentrating. This is in good weather only. You couldn't catch me out there now. It’s cold. B-r-r.

DONNELL: I have been blessed to meet you in person. You’re drop dead gorgeous and look a good twenty to thirty years younger than your actual age. How do you do it?

POLLY: You need to wear your glasses. But thank you. All I can say is one word: Genes.

DONNELL: In a prior life you lived in Boston. You now live in the South. What was the biggest learning experience/transition for you in your relocation?

POLLY: This is a loaded question, so I’ll just say there are plusses and minuses in both places.

DONNELL: What’s the most unusual thing you have in your closet.

POLLY: A jeweled sari that I wore only once, to a Halloween party.

Polly, now it’s your turn. Time to ask the reader a question.

POLLY IYER WANTS TO KNOW: There are many sub-genres of crime fiction, from cozy mysteries to noir. Considering that noir is hard crime, anything goes, and readers know that. As a reader, what subgenres do you like, and what turns you off from each one? Romance, sex, violence, disbelief, characters too stupid to live? Get my drift? What makes you close a book and say enough?

READERS NOW'S AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY TO TELL YOU THAT POLLY IYER'S HOOKED WILL BE FREE!!! DECEMBER 10-13, AND MURDER DEJA VU WILL BE FREE DECEMBER 17-20!!!  (And be sure to check out the covers.  Polly is the cover artist.)
Thanks for being our guest today.  To learn more about Polly, check out the following link.
Stories that keep you reading past your bedtime.


  1. Good morning, Diana and Donnell! I love a good mystery and yours is very intriguing. What is it about mysticism and New Orleans? Thank you for being on Get Lost in a Story.

  2. The first book, Mind Games, started off as a standalone, and I picked New Orleans because of the Mardi Gras. For a psychic, there couldn't be a better place. There's definitely something mystical about the city, which is why so many people write books using that as a backdrop. Thanks for commenting, Vicki.

  3. Polly, I'm excited you've joined us. I already own Hooked but off to get Mind Games, and I don't have to be psychic to know that I'm already buying your Diana Racine series!

    1. Thanks for having me, Donnell. I hope you enjoy them. You ask the best questions, along with E.B. Davis. The two of you really put thought into your interviews.

  4. I can only read one romance novel at a time because the ending is always the same. Girl/Guy end up together and live HEA. That's not to say that every once in while, I love to read a romance, but I prefer that romance to be a mixed genre so that while they're getting together, they are also doing something interesting--like solving a crime.

    The worst of any genre is stereotypical characters. I want some good vampires, a villian who might be a loyal friend, a blonde who isn't stupid, a bad elf, a bitchy grandmother, a drunk grandmother, a sweet mother-in-law, etc., you get my drift.

    I loved Backlash. I've had my fill of betrayal and revenge this week, but I do like the way Polly used both in the book as a means and an end! I won't say more. Have a great holiday Donnell and Polly!

    1. Thanks, Elaine. I complimented you above for being a great interviewer, along with Donnell.

      I'm glad you enjoyed Backlash. I do love revenge books. We all like to see the bad guys get theirs, though sometimes not. The trick is to write sympathetic bad guys. In one book, I didn't, but I try to.

      I agree with romantic novels. I like "maybe" endings, such as in Hooked. I guess that's why I rarely classify my books as romantic anything, though there are some that have a definitive ending in the romance department.

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope your week gets better.

  5. You have a unique ability to get inside your characters' head, both the good and the bad. It adds a dimension to your stories, which I love. Backlash makes me eager for Diana 4! But I'm sure the standalone will be great too. Just get them out.

    1. Sometimes I wonder if I don't have a split personality, or at least a very dark side. :-)

      I am working on that standalone, Ellis, and thinking about Diana 4 all the time so the panic doesn't set in.

      Thanks for commenting.

  6. Great interview, ladies! I read Hooked and enjoyed it--Polly, you have a way of injecting humor into a story that's so fun to read. And, I love psychic anything, so now I'll have to put all of the Diana Racine mysteries on my TBR list. It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it :-D

    1. Could have sworn I answered this. Probably did and forgot to click publish. I like humor in even the darkest book. Too much of anything straight and unending is deadly for any book. As long as the humor finds the right place and the darkness too. The trick is to break it up, maybe come back to it. At least that's my trick. Thanks D.V. for commenting, and I'm glad you enjoyed Hooked.

  7. Hi Polly and Donnell,

    It's very easy to get lost in both of your story worlds! And I'm a huge, huge fan of Polly's book covers. You are so talented to put together such stunning covers. They are NYC quality or better, in my opinion.

    It's hard for me to say what I don't like in a book. At one time I would've sworn I'd never read certain racier genres. I also would've sworn that I'd have nothing to do with reading scary stories or vampires. I've already eaten all those words. So for me the turn-offs aren't genre or heat level or even gross-out factor. Stuff that stops me in my tracks are multiple errors, unmotivated behaviors, and poorly wrought pacing. Life is too short to waste on a badly constructed book!

    I hope that doesn't come off snobby. No matter how many times an author and their editor combs through a book, a typo here or there gets through. I'm not complaining about that fine tuning stuff. I'm talking more about the wheels and cogs in the story.

    I'll crawl back in my writing cave now. Great post, Polly!


    1. Full disclosure: Maggie is a critique partner. I remember in the beginning when you critiqued one of my erotic romances written under a pen name, I thought you weren't going to get through it. But you did a great job. Same with some of the violence. You'd say, tell me something bad isn't going to happen to this or that character. I kind of chuckled. Unless I'm crazy, you began to take more chances in your own work. We always need to stretch ourselves, which is why you've been able to digest different genres. Good for you. You always make my work better, and I thank you for that.

  8. I like a lot of genres, from hard boiled to fluffy. I appreciate good writing,plotting, and characters wherever I find them. I'm not heavy into very much explicit romance, though. Sexual tension? Yes! And I think you're great at all those, Polly.

    1. I really wish I were more adventurous in my reading. I'm great with the hard boiled, not so much with the fluffy. I envy your reading versatility. The versatility shows in your writing too. How you go from Imogene, to Enga Dancing Flower, to Cressa, to Quincy is beyond me. My hat is off to thee, Kaye. Wonder what you'll come up with next. Love you dropped by.

  9. Hi Polly, glad to hear you are hard at work on #4. You know I'm a fan. Like Kaye, I read a lot of genres from kitchen cozy to hard boiled. What turns me off in any book is poor writing. Give me a well written story, and I'm there.

    1. I thoroughly agree, Kait. Both you and Kaye nailed it when it comes to the turnoffs. I feel the same way. I'm delighted for your success. Wonderful to finally meet you at WPA. (Got it right this time.)