Thursday, January 10, 2013

Author Hy Conrad On Tour (& Giveaway)

I’m delighted to welcome author Hy Conrad to Thoughts today as he makes a stop on his Premier Virtual Author Book Tour for his mystery debut, RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE, An Abel Adventures Mystery.

Being a fan of the TV show ‘Monk,’ which Hy was a writer and producer of, I’m thrilled to have Hy joining us. He has graciously answered some questions about his writing and is offering a copy of RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE to one lucky visitor. Please see the end of the post for the giveaway guidelines.

Here’s a brief description of RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE, which I reviewed yesterday:
     Amy Abel needs a fresh start as it‘s been two years since the death of her fiancée. And what better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start over than to sink her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure. Her first project? A mystery road rally through the European countryside.
     At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients. But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game's solution, is himself murdered back in New York.
     Weird accidents begin happening along the route and Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about. Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, before the killer strikes again. 

Now Hy answers questions.

Mason - Why write this book? What made this story so compelling to you that you had to tell it?

HY - RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE is my first mystery novel. It’s hard to think that I’ve been in the world of mysteries for so long – writing for “Monk” and “White Collar” plus numerous collections of short mysteries and games – without writing a novel.

The idea behind the Abel Adventures series was to combine an intricate mystery with exotic locations. My amateur sleuth, Amy Abel, leads high-end tour groups around the world, where she always runs into murder. I wanted to keep the tone light, but at the same time make the stories a little larger and more complex than the usual cozy.

RALLY, the first Abel book, is my attempt to have fun with the mechanics of a traditional story.  It’s basically a mystery within aRally Round the Corpse mystery, which was something I always wanted to do.
Mason - If you had to write this book over, would you do anything differently -- content in the book, your writing schedule, the way you researched it, etc.?

HY - I was extremely happy with the way it turned out. But now that I’m working on the sequel, I’m discovering the difficulty of my premise. In every book, I have to send Amy off with a group of suspects and a victim. Then I have to deal with international police and local customs. Finally, I have to bring the mystery home to Greenwich Village, in order to spend time with Amy’s mother, Fanny, a character that everyone seems to love.

I didn’t realize how hard this would be to do over and over. So, in retrospect, I might have gone easier on myself and picked a simpler premise.

Mason - Did anything unusual, scary and/or funny happen during the course of your writing this book?

HY - I wish the writing process were more unusual or scary or funny, but it’s not. Not for me. The only interesting thing I can think of is the genesis of Abel Adventures. 

In the early days on the web, no one knew what kind of Internet content would be successful. So I was asked by Prodigy (an early version of AOL) to write a monthly mystery serial with a different chapter every day. The result was Tom Abel, a character similar to Amy Abel, who led adventurous tours around the world. This idea has always stayed with me, even though the original stories have been lost to time – and a few computer crashes.

Mason - You have been shipwrecked on an island. You have 2 books to keep you company until help arrives, plenty of drinking water and 1 food item, plus your _____. Name the books, what food item would you want and fill in the blank.

HY - The joke answer is “Cooking with Coconuts” and “Boat Building for Dummies”, freeze-dried protein and a satellite phone.

My real answer would be the collected works of P.J. Wodehouse and something new by Ken Follett. In case you can’t tell, I love humor and good plotting.

My food would be pineapple upside cake and my item would be a combination bug repellent and sunscreen, which no one seems to make but would be a best-seller, at least on desert islands.
Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

HY - Obsidian Press has hired me to continue writing the Monk novels. I just finished the first, MR. MONK HELPS HIMSELF, which will be out this summer. In addition, I’m working on second Abel Adventures novel, IF I DIE BEFORE THE WAKE.
Hy, thanks for joining us today and answering these questions. Having Amy run a travel agency may cause a few problems for your writing, but after reading RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE I can’t image Amy doing anything else. It’s such a fun twist.

As I mentioned earlier, Hy was a writer for the TV show Monk. In fact, he was one of the original writers for the groundbreaking series. He worked on the show for all eight seasons, the final two as Co-Executive Producer, and received three Edgar Nominations from the Mystery Writers of America for "Best TV Episode." 

In a related project, Hy was Executive Producer and head writer of Little Monk, a series of short films featuring Adrian Monk as a ten-year-old. His latest TV work was as writer and Consulting Producer for White Collar

Hy is also the author of hundreds of short stories and ten books of short whodunits, which have been sold around the world in fourteen languages. Hy's first full-length comedy/mystery play, Home Exchange, premiered at the Waterfront Playhouse in Key West in May 2012. And, in a different vein, he recently authored a humor book called Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You to Know

Hy splits his time among Key West, Vermont and New York City. For more on Hy and his writing, visit his website at

Now for the giveaway guidelines. To enter, just send me an e-mail ( with the subject line, “Win Rally ‘Round The Corpse.” Residents of the U.S. and Canada can select either a print copy of the book or an eBook. Your message should include your name and mailing address for the print copy or the email address you’d like the eBook sent to. If you are an international visitor entering the giveaway, please include your name and the email address you’d like the eBook sent to in your message. And, just so you know, I don’t share any of this information with anyone other than the publisher/tour promoter nor use it for any other purpose. The deadline to enter this giveaway for a copy of RALLY ‘ROUND THE CORPSE will be 8 p.m. (EST) on Friday, Jan. 18.

Thanks everyone for stopping by today. Would you participate in a mystery road rally if one was held near you? You can follow Hy on his blog tour here.



  1. Mason - Thanks for hosting Hy.

    Hy - Thanks for letting us go 'behind the scenes' of your writing. I agree with you that a little humour and a lot of good plotting can really 'make' a book. I respect that in novels myself. And I know just what you mean about certain parts of a premise being harder to sustain in a series. I'm glad you've taken on the challenge though and I wish you much success.

  2. Hy, thanks again for joining us today and for answering these questions. Looking forward to Amy's next adventure. Wishing you much success.

    Margot, thanks so much for stopping by.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Thank you, Mason, for the great review and fun interview. I look forward to stopping by your site again and again. Hy Conrad

  5. Thanks so much for taking part in the tour and hosting Hy!


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.