I’m so pleased to have gotten a chance to talk to mystery writer Melinda Di Lorenzo this week. Melinda is the author of 30 books. Her writing includes current titles with Harlequin, Kensington, Tule, Headline Eternal, and Orca. Her work has nearly 3 million reads on Wattpad. Her novels feature strong female leads and quick pacing, and they always end with an unexpected twist. Melinda lives with her family on the West Coast, sandwiched between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean—the perfect backdrop for finding inspiration.
N: Welcome to the blog, Melinda! I’m so delighted to have you visiting today. So, what inspired you to start writing?
A: Thanks for having me! I have ALWAYS been a writer. And I promise, that’s not a cop-out. I’ve been writing since I was about six years old. A while back, my parents made a big move. They brought me a whole box of stuff that was mine, way back when. And in the box was a some of my first writing.
N: What comes first—the plot or the characters?
A: Usually, the plot TWIST is my first inspiration.
N: Your new mystery with the Tule Mystery imprint, Better Left Behind released August 30 —that’s so exciting! The book is the third novel in your Trinity Calhoun series. Can you tell us a little about how Trinity came to be and who she is?
A: Trinity is a detective with the Vancouver Police Department. She chose her career because her best friend was murdered when the two of them were just eighteen. The case has remained unsolved. Trinity has a dry sense of humor, a habit of bending rules, and an incredible solve rate. But…coming back to her hometown throws her for a loop.
N: Talk to us about writing mysteries. Do you plot out the entire story or does it simply unfold as you write? And how organized do you have to be writing a mystery series with a continuing character?
A: I go back and forth. Sometimes, I write out major plot points ahead of time, but not always. Often, I keep a list of running notes at the bottom of my manuscript and work in those details as I write.
N: How much of you is in your character Trinity Calhoun?
A: I’m honestly never sure about how much of ME finds its way into my main characters. I have a bit of a sarcastic sense of humor, and I think Trinity might share that quality with me!
N: What would you like to see more/less of in the mystery genre?
A: Unpredictable twists! More, more, more! I love playing the guessing game while reading a mystery or thriller. And I love being wrong OR right at the end!
N: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to tell your readers about?
A: I’m currently working on a thriller for Tule. It’s a very exciting story about a young, widowed mother who wakes up and finds a stranger taking her daughter from her crib.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I run or cross-train. I watch my youngest play soccer. I read (of course). And I teach a literacy program.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
A: A writer. I just never thought “real” people did it.
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
A: The list is endless. As a small kid, I loved a book called Goodbye, Pink Pig. It was about a little girl whose best friend was a small rose quartz pig who came to life and transported her to a magical world. And one day…the pig gets kidnapped. It was an outstanding read.
N: And here is my signature question that everyone loves: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite to a dinner party, who would they be and why?
A: My grandmother on my mom’s side. I miss her. I wish she could’ve met my kids. My mom (who is very much alive) because she is my closest friend. And my childhood bestie, Michelle, who lives in the UK.
Better Left Behind
When no one is who they seem, the only person you can trust is yourself.
Detective Trinity Calhoun‘s closest friend was due back weeks ago from his undercover operation, and the last thing she wants to do is take a trip. Not even to attend a high-profile conference at a swanky hotel on a beautiful island with all expenses paid. But with her boss counting on her, Trinity sets aside her misgivings and goes.
Except from the moment she sets foot on the ferry, something feels…off. First comes a man who’s far too interested in her. Then Trinity swears she’s spotted her late-to-return friend. And someone—who could be an ally or a foe—is definitely planting breadcrumbs for her. Is a little girl missing or is that, too, a misdirect?
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