I’m delighted to welcome Terry Lynn Thomas today on tour with The Family Secret, Book 2 in the series featuring Cat Carlisle, just published with HQ Digital. It is a book described as ‘another gripping read from USA Today bestselling author of THE SILENT WOMAN!’
I have a wonderful Q & A with Terry Lynn Thomas, so I do hope you enjoy.
I would also like to thank Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of the tour with many other of my fellow bloggers (see below for further details)
[ About the Book ]
Will she find the truth?
After a sudden unexplained disappearance, Thomas Charles comes back into Cat Carlisle’s life with the suggestion she leave London – and the threat of bombs – to move to back her childhood village in Cumberland.
Back in her hometown Cat discovers her childhood friend, Beth Hargreaves, is suspected of murder. As Cat tries to prove Beth’s innocence, she discovers a scheme of deception that affects the whole village. Can she uncover the family truths behind the murder and expose the enemy hiding in plain sight?
[ Q & A with Terry Lynn Thomas ]
Terry reading a little about your background, I see that you grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, an area associated with many literary giants over the years. Were you a bookish child? Were you influenced by any specific local writers in your formative years?
As a child, I always had my nose in a book. Although local writers didn’t necessarily influence me in my formative years, Shirley Jackson – of The Haunting of Hill House fame – is a San Francisco writer whose work I reread to this day. During my formative years, I voraciously consumed British authors. When I was a ten-year-old, a teacher caught me with an Agatha Christie tucked into a history book that I should have been reading. Strangely enough, I would say that the television soap opera Dark Shadows influenced my reading and writing. This show became popular when I was just a wee thing. My grandmother and I would watch it together. I would go home scared of vampires, and loving the feeling! When I started reading, I found myself pulled to books with Gothic themes and ghosts. The Sarah Bennett Series is a nod to the authors who wrote in that style, such as Victoria Holt and Dorothy Eden. My favourite stories are British mysteries and procedurals, so the Cat Carlisle Series is a reflection of that.
You moved with your husband to Mississippi later in life. Was this a huge transition for you?
My husband and I relocated to the Southern United States (Mississippi) in 2006, and it was the singular most epic thing I have ever done. It’s amazing how different everything is in this part of the country. The summers are so warm and humid, everything moves at a slower pace. The history in this part of the world is amazing. I discovered a passion for old cemeteries. It’s fun to walk through the headstones and make up stories about the those that have come before. The move freed up time for me to pursue writing in earnest and the new environment definitely stimulated my creativity.
The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, of which there are three, are historical novels with a gothic twist. What inspired this series? What invoked your interest in the gothic genre?
The Sarah Bennett Mysteries were inspired and are a reflection of my fondness for the classic Gothics and ghost stories of the nineteenth and twentieth century. I like the dramatic arcs of the characters and the reminder of a simpler time. These stories are a perfect escape, and they are what I reach for to this day.
Please tell us about your latest series, featuring Cat Carlisle? Do you find it difficult to change from one series to a new one?
The Sarah Bennett Mysteries feature a young woman and are told in first person. Cat Carlisle is thirty-seven years old in the first book, The Silent Woman. She is in an unhappy marriage and is looking for a way out. The Cat Carlisle books are told in third person, and the point-of-view shift has been the singularly most empowering thing I have ever done as a writer. I love the freedom to go deep into point of view that third person allows. Also, it’s really challenging (and fun) to shift into a different character’s mind set and view point. At this point, Cat is a little more relatable to me because she is closer to me in age and her problems are timeless. It is my hope that readers can relate to Cat as well, especially women over the age of 40. The Cat Carlisle series provide an opportunity to look in the social mores of the mid-twentieth century, so in addition to a good mystery, each book should provide us a glimpse into what it felt like to live in this particular period of time.
Horses are ever present in your life. What is the name of your current horse? How often do you get to ride him/her?
I love horses. There’s nothing more soothing than looking up from the writing desk and seeing your horse in the pasture. My current horse’s name is Dusty. Unfortunately, I am unable to ride due to a serious injury I had last February. But Dusty is with a trusted friend, who rides him regularly and spoils him. I go visit him a lot, but riding isn’t on the table for me at this point.
Who are the current literary influences in your life? Any favourite authors?
Oh, there are so many. Daphne Du Maurier, Agatha Christie, Patricia Wentworth, Susanna Kearlsey, Deanna Raybourn, Diane Setterfield (The Thirteenth Tale currently tops the chart as my all-time favourite book), Wendy Webb, Elizabeth George, Deborah Crombie…
I read a lot, so it’s difficult for me name a few favourites. There are so many good authors right now, I could fill a page.
What are you reading now?
I’ve been getting my story via Audible these days. I spend so much time writing and reading as I work on my own books, it’s a nice change. Having said that, I have just discovered Joy Ellis and am listening to Crime on the Fens. Next up, I’ve got Murder on the Oxford Canal by Faith Martin. It’s really lovely listening to a professional actor read out loud.
What next for Terry Lynn Thomas?
I’ve just started the fourth book in the Cat Carlisle series. I’ve got books five, six, and seven on the back burner. When those are finished, I’m going to write a new series set in the present day with a much older protagonist. (Think Ms. Marple meets Bailey and Scott.) I’m really excited about her, and hope to start her story at the end of the year.
[ Bio ]
Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.
Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas
Twitter ~ @TLThomasBooks