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Tornado Alley Mystery Writers
Tornado Alley Mystery Writers
Interviews with regional mystery writers from south central states, such as Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Kansas
Nov 17, 2023
Episode 26: Interview with Peggy Chambers
Enid, Oklahoma writer, Peggy Chambers, reads from the latest novel in her Keystone Lake series, Blooming Greed, a suspense thriller, full of multifaceted characters. She also discusses her love of water and how different bodies of water figure as characters in her writing. Peggy's use of genre is as fluid as her settings. She writes suspense for adults, fantasy for children, and pulp fiction. She is currently working on adapting her novel, Flat Iron Death Grip, into a graphic novel, coming out next year. Tune in to her interview to learn about her writing adventures.
Oct 13, 2023
Episode 25: Interview with Betsey Kulakowski
Betsey Kulakowski is a federally trained investigator with a degree in emergency management and thirty-plus years of experience as an occupational safety specialist. She served on disaster response teams at the Murrah Federal Building Bombing, the World Trade Center, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Betsey wrote her first book at age six. She says being a writer wasn't something she chose. It chose her. She is the author of the award-winning, paranormal thriller, The Veritas Codex, and the series of the same name. There are six novels in the series so far and six more on the way. Betsey's heroine is a mom who has it all, a job, family, and an exciting job. How does she do t? Perhaps the gods are looking out for her. Tune in to this episode to find out how Betsey, a mom, an investigator, and a writer, does all she does.
Sep 15, 2023
Episode 24: Interview with Carol Nichols
Carol Nichols from El Reno, Oklahoma, talks about her mystery/romance series and how her life story influenced her to become a writer. She draws on her legal background and her Oklahoma roots for her settings, characters, and plots. Already a painter, Carol did not begin writing until after her husband died and she decided to join a local writers group. Now, well into the fourth novel of her series, she discusses her inspirations and grounding in what she knows. Before becoming a novelist, Carol worked as a legal secretary for an El Reno law firm and for both the Canadian County Sheriff's and the District Attorney's offices. As a result, her crime writing is as realistic and detailed as her settings.
Aug 25, 2023
Episode 23: Interview with Sharon Edge Martin
Poet, journalist, and past OWFI president, Sharon Edge Martin discusses writing her new YA mystery novel in verse, Accordion Girl. How do you know when your story is a mystery? How does a novel in verse work? These questions and others are answered in her reading and commentary on the novel. Sharon also runs a monthly poetry reading in Drumright, Oklahoma, attended by poets from all over the region. Learn more about Oklahoma's vibrant poetry community and where to find other readings.
Jul 28, 2023
Episode 22: Interview with Cary Herwig
Edmond, Oklahoma author, Cary Herwig, reads from her award-winning YA novel, The Ghost's Daughter, a story about a girl facing the adult world of the past and the present on an army base during the Cold War. This is the first book in her new series, The Army Brat Hauntings. As an army brat herself, Cary discusses living all over the United States and what led her to writing. She traces her literary journey from horror short stories to science fiction novels and explains how her career as an archivist led her to writing mysteries.
Jun 21, 2023
Episode 21: Interview with Jude Bayton
Jude Bayton, a Londoner and world traveler, now living in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reads from her historical mystery novel, The Secret of Pendragon Island, and discusses the importance of her readers' responses to her writing. Jude also shares her tips for writing while working a full-time job and raising children. She encourages women over 50 to claim their voices and show the world that their lived experience counts as they move on to the next phase of their lives after retirement or after their children are gone. Traditionally and independently published, Jude gives listeners a preview of her new novel, The Secret of Witch Haven Lane.
May 15, 2023
Episode 20: Interview with Jocelyn Pedersen
Acclaimed AP journalist, Jocelyn Pedersen from Blanchard, Oklahoma, reads from her new novel, An Eye for an Eye, published by Wild Rose Press. This is the first book in her new thriller series, The Izzy O Crime Files. Jocelyn also discusses her career as an award-winning feature writer, writing teacher, and competitive weightlifter. Don't miss her tips for emerging writers. Her enthusiasm for writing and life are contagious.
Apr 14, 2023
Episode 19: Interview with Victoria M. Patton
Listen to Oklahoma thriller/suspense writer, Victoria Patton, read from her Damien Kane series' opener, Innocence Taken. She describes her novels as "dark, edgy mashups of CSI, Motive, and Criminal Minds." To craft the perfect murders, Victoria uses her time in the Coast Guard and her Forensic Chemistry degree. But since she is averse to wearing orange and being in prison, she keeps her murderous sprees between the pages of her books. Inspired by her cat Pumpkin's advice on storytelling, her novels are not cozy mysteries and not for the faint of heart. In the interview, Victoria discusses how she started writing and making a profit from her popular indie novels. For writing tips and marketing advice, don't miss this episode.
Mar 17, 2023
Episode 18: Interview with Mary Anna Evans
Mary Anna Evans, recently nominated for both an Edgar and an Agatha award for The Bloomsbury Handbook to Agatha Christie, teaches mystery writing at the University of Oklahoma. In addition to a Master of Arts in creative writing, she holds degrees in physics and engineering, a background that is ideal for writing her new historical mystery novel, The Physicists' Daughter, set in WWII-era New Orleans. Listen to Mary Anna's interview to hear her perspective on how justice, the scientific method, and even romantic love are manifested through mystery writing.
Feb 17, 2023
Episode 17 Interview with Lori Altebaumer
Lori Altebaumer from Stephenville, Texas, was a 2021 finalist for the fiction award from Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Fiction Writers for her romantic suspense novel, A Firm Place to Stand. This novel is the first in her new series in which ordinary people from a small community do extraordinary things. Lori describes herself as a grandmother who loves to write and teach others what she has learned about writing. In this interview, Lori discusses her process for creating a community and its characters. She also shares her insights on the intrinsic importance of the community's setting as a vital part of the story.
Jan 13, 2023
Interview with Shelley Levisay
Shelley Levisay, an attorney, author, and musician living in Shawnee, Oklahoma, candidly discusses women's issues connected with domestic violence, a major theme in her novel, Sooner Secrets (2022). Having worked on both sides of the criminal justice system as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense lawyer, she writes true crime, crime fiction, and legal thrillers. She established her own law firm in 2014, but when she isn't writing books, legal motions, or briefs, she spends her time playing the piano and singing. Listen to a busy attorney and writer talk about finding balance and doing what she loves.
Dec 9, 2022
Interview with Kat Lewis
Oklahoma City writer, Kat Lewis, reads from her novel, Rogue Defender, the first book in her Lethal Nannies romance-thriller series. Her heroine, Serena Black, is the lethal nanny. As Kat explains, "Most nannies are focused on getting their charges to school on time, but Homeland Security has trained Serena to keep her clients alive at all costs." Kat also shares moments from her home-schooled, classical education and discusses what she sees as a way forward for people of color and her fiction. Listen to Kat's insight into how writers can view their creative muse as a prism.
Nov 18, 2022
Interview with Staci Mauney
Author and editor Staci Mauney reads from her book, Death by Dice, the first novel in her Bunco Club Mystery series. Set in a small town in Texas, the story's amateur detective, Bridgette Olsen, stumbles on a murder as she opens the door at work one morning. Staci also discusses her career as a freelance writer, blogger, editor, and devotional writer. Three of Staci's passions unite in her novel, the spiritual quests of everyday living, the thrill of mystery novels, and the love of a faithful pet. If you are looking for a cozy mystery or a proofreader or developmental editor, you will enjoy listening to Staci's success story as a writer and as an editor for Prestige Prose, her professional online editing and writing company.
Oct 14, 2022
Interview with Amy Shojai
Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant and award-winning author of thirty-five pet books, reads from Lost and Found, the first volume in the September Day and Shadow Thriller series. September, the detective character, and her German Shepherd pup, Shadow, encounter danger and mystery against the North Texas backdrop of the novel. Despite her dramatization of animal point of view, be assured this is an exciting adult thriller. Amy also writes and consults for the pet industry. Her mission is to create an entertaining venue for pet lovers to help them make informed decisions about their animals. If you love animals and stories that include pets or you are looking for tips on how to include animal characters in the your fiction , you will want to tune in.
Sep 16, 2022
Interview with Diane McCartney
Diane McCartney, an award-winning writer and speaker from Ca*ñ*on City, Colorado, opens a window on the world of her characters in her Elijah Black Trilogy. A contest judge herself, she talks about her journey from riding instructor to thriller/suspense novelist and offers tips on how to attract the attention of publishers. Enjoy her contagious enthusiasm for all genres of writing.
Aug 12, 2022
Interview with Ellen Withers
Ellen Withers, a Pushcart Prize nominee for short fiction, talks about how her career as a freelance writer and retired insurance fraud investigator led her to create a novel series. A professional writer since graduating from college, Ellen describes her journey from technical writing to novelist through local workshops, mentorship, and contest entries. Her mystery/dual-time series, Show Me Mysteries from Scrivenings Press, will debut in May of 2023.
Jul 15, 2022
Interview with Andrea Foster
Andrea Foster, a veteran of forty-three years in the book business, reads from her young adult novel, "Helena and the Haunted Hospital," based on an actual haunted hospital in Houston. She discusses her careers in journalism, marketing, and teaching. She also speaks about her passion for helping others to tell their stories and to get them into print. Learn about her class "How to Write, Publish, and Market your Book" and her online writers' group, Creative Quills.
Jun 17, 2022
Interview with Jennifer B. Latham
Jennifer Latham of Tulsa, Oklahoma, reads from her young adult novel, Dreamland Burning (2017), based on the Tulsa race massacre of 1921. In this excerpt one of her young dual narrators depicts Tulsa now and one hundred years ago. Jennifer loves talking to secondary school students who have read her book. She subscribes to the theory that if a subject is too difficult for adults, write about it for children. Based on her experience as a published author, she encourages other writers to learn their craft, adapt, and keep going. Enjoy listening to candid revelations from an accomplished writer.
May 13, 2022
Interview with Joe Moore
Joe Moore from Edmond, Oklahoma, a veteran and a lover of knowledge and the English language, speaks about writing military action thrillers. In this interview, he discusses his views on how he translates the experience of veterans returning to civilian life into fiction. He also reads the suspenseful opening from Ghost Crew, the first of a new novel series. In a preview of other upcoming work, he considers his fictional take on zombies as an evolutionary, rather than a supernatural, phenomena. CONTENT WARNING: Violence
Apr 15, 2022
Interview with Kris Lackey
Oklahoma native Kris Lackey, author of the Bill Maytubby and Hannah Bond Mystery series, reads from his latest novel. He also discusses how he captures contemporary diction from his young friends, the baristas at the coffee shops where he likes to write. Listen to the interview for an insight into his style and the characters from his first three volumes: Nails Crossing (2017), Greasy Bend (2019), and Butcher Pen Road (2021).
Mar 18, 2022
Interview with Jennifer Oakley Denslow
Jennifer Oakley Denslow reads from the first book in her new cozy mystery series, Rapier Wit, in which high school drama teacher Regina Murphy must investigate a backstage murder. Jennifer discusses how her love of teaching intersects with her creative process, contemporary trends in cozies, and Oklahoma as a reflection of broader American issues. She also shares tips on how to launch a novel on Facebook, find the right editor, and design an effective book cover. Don't miss episode six!
Feb 18, 2022
Interview with Marion Moore Hill
Award-winning mystery writer from Durant, Oklahoma, Marion Hill reads from Bookmarked for Murder, the first book in her successful Scrappy Librarian detective series. Her Deadly Past books, mysteries based on how the American Founding Fathers affect the present, comprise her second series. Marion tells amusing stories about her travels to American historical sites, and she discusses her inspiration for her non-stereotypical librarian detective. While Marion found herself present at the genesis of the Sisters in Crime organization, her current interests span many critical issues that concern Oklahomans and Americans today. Listen to her practical advice and engaging stories.
Jan 14, 2022
Interview with Mary Coley
Mary Coley reads from the new novel in her Oklahoma mystery series, Blood on the Mother Road, and shares her writing journey from starting as a reporter and a single parent to becoming an award-winning novelist with two detective series. She also relates an exciting event in her career: her latest novel, set on historic Route 66, will become the theme for a new escape room in Tulsa, which will open in 2022. Tune in for helpful tips on finding writing communities.
Dec 17, 2021
Interview with Wampus Reynolds
In this episode, Wampus Reynolds, Norman, Oklahoma comedian, cheese connoisseur, and mystery writer, talks about writing comedy and fiction. He also reads from his first novel Way I See It, which came out in 2020. In addition to being a free lance writer, Wampus performed nightly as a standup comedian at Opolis on North Crawford in Norman and hosted a live talk show there. He also ran the cheese counter at Forward Foods, now operating online and at a pop-up venue during Covid. His blend of humor, action, mystery, and storytelling connect him with readers worldwide.
Nov 12, 2021
Interview with Lisbeth McCarty
Welcome to the second episode of Tornado Alley Mystery Writers! Sponsored by the new Tornado Alley chapter of Sisters/Siblings in Crime [all genders welcome], a national organization dedicated to the education and promotion of mystery writers. Retired attorney and award winning author Lisbeth McCarty shares her thoughts on murder, victims, and punishment that fits the crime. Lisbeth discusses her design for Mental States of Murderesses, a true crime work of historical murders by women, one from each state. Although she has a degree in professional writing from the University of Oklahoma, she points out that one does not have to have a special degree to be a writer. Retired from the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, Lisbeth , a witty and engaging writer, has won awards for her legal analysis, her stories, and her fiction.
Oct 15, 2021
Interview with Marcia Preston, author of "The Spiderling"
Welcome to the first episode of Tornado Alley Mystery Writers! Sponsored by the new Tornado Alley chapter of Sisters/Siblings in Crime [all genders welcome], a national organization dedicated to the education and promotion of mystery writers. Edmond, Oklahoma writer Marcia Preston discusses and reads from her latest novel, The Spiderling. Her new novel about a mother and child's fraught relationship is more a mystery of the heart than a traditional mystery, but the engaging characters and action sequences make it a real page-turner. Marcia also discusses her childhood love of books and her journey as a writer, which includes winning the Mary Higgins Award and Oklahoma Book Award for Fiction for Song of the Bones, a novel in her Chantalene mystery series.
Jul 1, 2021
PILOT - Interview with Glenda Huffnagel, Professor Emeritus, Human Relations
Glenda talks about her interest in women's lives and how journaling and poetry help them find their authentic voices. She reads from her autoethnography and her poetry.