Kendel LynnA native of Southern California, Kendel Lynn now lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. Ever since she read her first Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators when she was seven years old, she’s loved mysteries. Board Stiff, her debut novel that releases tomorrow, has won a number of awards including the Zola Award for Mystery/Suspense and features Elliott, a sweet and funny heroine. Kendel spends her time, when she’s not reading and writing, as the managing editor of Henery Press and trying to figure out how to eat cupcakes without having to go to the gym. You can follow her on twitter or visit her website to find out the latest about her.

MTAR: How did you come up with the title?
Kendel Lynn:
With a little help from my friends (like everything in life, right?). When I first signed with my (now former) agent, so many moons ago, my title was long and unwieldy, so I enlisted my good friend Diane Vallere (who is a WIZARD with titles). We brainstormed and Board Stiff was born. I love my title! Of course, Elaine Viets loves it, too (it’s the title of her 12th Dead End Job mystery, out on May 7th). What are the odds? Pretty good, it turns out!!

MTAR: What was your favorite chapter (or scene) to write and why?
Kendel Lynn:
I dig writing the arguments scenes, and there are a couple doozies, including a food fight (which just tickled me) and a major toe-to-toe blowout with the hottie detective. The advantage to being a writer, your characters get all the snappy comebacks you wish you’d thought of over the years. Ever walk away from a heated conversation, and then think of the perfect thing to say? Now Elliott gets to say them!

MTAR: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Kendel Lynn:
The first draft. I outline and plan and plot and detail, then write the draft. It’s such hard work for me, that initial draft. After that comes all the fun. I love editing (helps with my day job as editor). I toss the pages up in the air, edit randomly, backwards. End up going through about 10-15 drafts before I send to betas, then do it all over again!

MTAR: How do you feel today about your book being released tomorrow?
Kendel Lynn:
Excited! Busy, distracted, nervous, delighted, goosepimply, grateful, and amazed. All together at once. Like every single other book on the Planet Earth, it was a very long journey (using back roads, mountain trails, and a large machete to hack my way through) to get to this moment. I’ve been blessed and I could never have done it alone. I’m happy it’s finally here!

MTAR: What book are you reading now?
Kendel Lynn:
Manuscripts! I have three I cannot wait to dive into – I’m so hoping to find the next little chicken for the Hen House!

MTAR: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Kendel Lynn:
Sisters in Crime, the Guppies chapter in particular. This amazing group of writers offers support, guidance, suggestions, advice, a shoulder to cry on for the difficult days and cyber champagne for the amazing days. And they are real people who truly care. I met my best friend there and we’ve created a lifelong bond. I met my mentor there and she’s the first person (big, famous, majorly successful person) to tell me I’m funny and talented and it will happen for me. If you reach out to groups around you, you’ll never be alone!

MTAR: You’re not only a writer but also a publisher. Can you tell us a little bit about what drew you to opening Henery Press?
Kendel Lynn:
My (former) agent was shopping Board Stiff, and I was deeply involved with a subchapter of the Guppies called Press Quest – my close friend Diane Vallere and I started it some months before. We wanted to offer writers in our group a place to talk about other publishing options, beyond finding an agent. After spending months interviewing/researching publishers and listening to writer experiences, I felt there just had to be a better way. (Kind of the same way most of us get into writing, read a book and then decide, well, I can do better than this!)

I envisioned a press with active interaction with the writers, engaging covers, a fresh (and current) website, strong editorial guidance, and an inviting atmosphere, where we all supported one another. And the Henery was hatched!

MTAR: Will we be seeing more books written by you in the future?
Kendel Lynn:
Absolutely! I’m currently writing the 2nd Elliott Lisbon mystery, Whack Job, which will be released in January 2014. I just love her and can’t wait to share her next adventure. And keep your eyes on the Hen House, we’ve got some pretty darn charming books coming out this year, more sequels, more romance, and more fresh voices!

Thank you so much for having me!