Please welcome debut author Kellye Garrett to Introvert Problems! Kellye spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, was released by Midnight Ink on August 8, 2017. Read on to discover why Publishers Weekly calls it a “winning first novel and series launch.”
1.Congratulations on the release of Hollywood Homicide! Describe your road to publication.
That could be a book itself so I’ll give the TL:DR version. I finished a draft in 2014 that was selected for a contest called Pitch Wars, which pairs a more established writer with an unagented writer to help them revise their manuscript for an Agent round. My agent, Michelle Richter of Fuse, requested during Pitch Wars and offered me rep a couple days later at a bar during the Crime Bake Mystery conference. We sold the book to Midnight Ink around May 2016 and it just came out this month.
I’ve loved mysteries since I read my first Encyclopedia Brown book. It’s basically the only thing I read and it was frustrating to not see myself represented in a genre I loved so much. So, I definitely wanted to write an amateur detective novel where the black woman solved the mystery and wasn’t just the best friend.
3. You’ve been vocal about diversity on mystery on social media. How is your work influencing the stories that we see in the evolving book community?
I might be too vocal! Lol I’m still too new to have influenced anything but I am part of a crop of black women writers who are getting their amateur detective series traditionally published. There are a handful of us so I’ll namedrop the most recent. Alexia Gordon published her Gethsemane Brown paranormal cozies set in southwestern Ireland last year. She won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel of 2016, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel of 2016. So that’s major.
And V.M. Burns isn’t out yet but has three series coming out in the next year. Up first is Kensington’s Mystery Bookshop series out in November. We all write very different series, which is great because there’s literally something for all types of amateur detective lovers.
I’m a hard-core plotter. I’m talking about 25 pages outlines that just keep growing and growing and growing. The blank page scares me and I’m a writer who hates writing, so the outline is my security blanket.
5. What’s next on your TBR?
Another black author named Rachel Howzell Hall who has an amazing police detective series with a black woman main characters. The fourth, City of Saviors, came out the same day as my book. So that’s a must-read. I’m also way too excited for Sue Grafton’s Y is for Yesterday, which is part of her renowned Kinsey Millhone Alphabet series. She is probably the main person who made me want to write mysteries. As sad as I am that her series will be coming to an end with Z, I’m excited to read the new one.
What has been your favorite book of the year? Of all time?
I’m biased but I mentored a writer named Kristen Lepionka (http://www.kristenlepionka.com/) in Pitch Wars in 2015. That book, Last Place You Look, just came out with Minotaur Books in June. I knew when I read the final draft of her book in 2015 that it would be published so I’m so happy the rest of the world can finally read her series. It’s a private investigator series that The Advocate described as “Raymond Chandler with a female brain.”
What’s next for you?
The second book in the Detective by Day series will be out next summer. It’s called Hollywood Ending. And the third book will be out in 2019.
Keep up with Kellye!
Purchase Hollywood Homicide anywhere books are sold including Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Indiebound and Target.com.You can also always recommend your library purchase it.