Thursday, September 20, 2012

Author Shelley Freydont: Writing In Many Genres

An author’s life is hectic with all the research, writing, and promoting; not to mention home life. Author Shelley Freydont stays extra busy writing in several genres under different pseudonyms and her current release, FOUL PLAY AT THE FAIR, is the first installment in a new Celebration Bay Mystery series.

A former professional dancer and choreographer, Shelley most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters-in-Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.

Shelley is also the author of the Katie McDonald and Lindy Haggerty mystery series. In addition, she has written several romance novels under the pseudonym Gemma Bruce and her books have been translated into seven languages.

Joining us today, Shelley has graciously answered some questions about her writing and her new series.

Mason - You're a former professional dancer and choreographer, what lead you to writing?

Shelley - For starters, dancers retire when they’re in their thirties or early forties. I wanted to experience family and suburban living, which I did. I loved the kids part, baking the cupcakes and going on field trips, but I was used to giving my all to my art and I missed it, more so as the kids grew and no longer needed so many school cupcakes. One day my friend Carolyn and I were in the Guggenheim wondering what we were going to do next and she said, “You should write a mystery.”  So I did. I read them all the time, mysteries are great tour books, when so many times you’re stuck on a bus or in an airport. The outcome was my first Lindy Haggerty mystery, about a dancer who retired to the suburbs and is called back to help her former dance company. Let the mayhem begin. Once I thought about it, the dancing life is rife with possibilities and motives for murder.

Mason - You also write romance novels under the pseudonym Gemma Bruce. Which is harder to write - romance or mystery?

Shelley - And I also write women’s fiction as Shelley Noble. I know, I’ve never learned to leave well enough alone. Writing is amazing and energizing and fabulous . . .it’s also a lot of hard work. The short answer is they’re all hard, but for different reasons. In mystery you’re locked into solving a murder by developing clues, timelines, alibis, motives in a way that they leadFoul Play cover the sleuth to the killer. It’s like a puzzle that you slowly put together to make a picture. You don’t want any missing parts.

A romance is about two people falling in love and finding a happy ending together. Your story must have an internal reality about it, but you can play more with the journey than you can with mystery.  

Women’s fiction is the one where you really have to stay aware. There are usually more secondary characters and subplots that like to surprise you. You have to be willing to let go of your control without letting things get out of hand. Then be able to pull it back in to lead to a satisfying conclusion.

Mason - Do you add a bit of romance to your mysteries and a bit of mystery to your romances?

Shelley - Always. Some famous writer, it might have been Dickens, said “every good story has a little mystery,” and I say, “who doesn’t love a little romance?” The key to writing different genres however, is to balance the two. In mysteries, the romance is secondary, and in romance, the mystery is.

Mason - What inspired you to create the town of Celebration Bay for the setting of her new series?

Shelley - Small towns are great settings for amateur sleuths, with friends and family and lots of cooking, crafting and growing vegetables. The Miss Marple Syndrome. I guess being from the South, I’m fascinated by Yankee taciturnity, the fierce loyalties and fiercer opinions. My Kate Macdonald Sudoku mysteries are located in a fictional town in New Hampshire, the Live Free or Die state. Great characters there.  

For Celebration Bay, I wanted a town who had turned lemons to lemonade.  “When the cannery closed throwing the town out of work, the inhabitants threw a party and invited the whole county. And a new industry was born . . . tourism.”  Those are my kind of people. Even if they are sometimes a pain.

Mason - What can readers look forward to next from you?

Shelley - This fall I have two novellas from Impulse, featuring characters from my women’s fiction, BEACH COLORS (June 2012). In spring, a novella prequel to my June 2013 release, STARGAZEY POINT, another small town, this one on the South Carolina shore, that I hope everyone loves as much as I do.

Then next September a Celebration Bay novella, COLD TURKEY. (Can you guess it takes place during Thanksgiving?) and also the second Celebration Bay full length novel, SILENT KNIFE, which begins with the Santa Parade and Celebration of Lights and ends with a Messiah sing-along for choir and Westie terrier.

It’s been great visiting with you today. I always love to hear from readers.  or
Shelley, thanks so much for visiting. It’s fun learning about all the different genres you write in. I like the fact you include a little romance in your mysteries and a little mystery in your romances.

FOUL PLAY AT THE FAIR is a fun and entertaining read that kicks off the Celebration Bay Mystery series.

Tired of the big city lifestyle and stress, event planner Liv Montgomery was searching for an idyllic spot when she discovered Celebration Bay, New York. It seemed the perfect place for her and her Westie terrier, Whiskey, to settle down.

As professional coordinator for the town’s seasonal festivals, Liv takes on the challenge of the Harvest by the Bay Festival, hoping to prove herself as more and more tourists flock to the area.

When the body of an itinerant juggler is found in an antique apple press, Liv has to work fast as town leaders threaten to cancel the upcoming Halloween and Christmas festivals. With not only her livelihood at stake, but her life, Liv sets out to find the killer and restore peace to this quaint town.

The author has created a charming setting, a spunky protagonist and a host of supporting characters that are entertaining. The story flows smoothly at a steady pace with twists and turns along the way holding the reader captive until the end. This is a delightful new series.

A protagonist searching for a less stressful life, who wouldn’t want the same? Do you enjoy stories where the protagonist moves to a new town and/or begins a new job? Thanks so much for stopping by today. 

* FTC Full Disclosure - This book was sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.

Foul Play At The Fair by Shelley Freydont, A Celebration Bay Mystery, Berkley Prime Crime, @2012, ISBN: 978-0425251553, Paperback, 304 Pages


  1. Shelley, thanks again for visiting today and sharing a look at writing in several genres. Your new series is a delight. Wishing you much success.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Shelley.

    Shelley - I think it's fascinating that you're able to cross genres. It must help to keep your creative juices flowing too because of the different skills that are required in each genre. Thanks for your insights.

  3. Mason. Great interview. Shelley, a dancers life is not a long one. You made the right choice with your "second life."

  4. Thanks for having me. I feel very lucky to have had two wonderful careers and a family. And I hope to have many more years of discovering new fun things.

  5. Hi Shelley! Enjoyed the interview. :)


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