Friday, October 18, 2013

CLP blog tour: Killer Image by Wendy Tyson

Follow the tour HERE

Author Bio:
Wendy Tyson wrote her first story at age eight and it’s been love ever since.  When not writing, Wendy enjoys reading other people’s novels, traveling, hiking, and playing hooky at the beach–and if she can combine all four, even better.  Originally from the Philadelphia area, Wendy has returned to her roots and lives there again with her husband, three kids and two muses, dogs Molly and Driggs.  She and her husband are passionate organic gardeners and have turned their small urban lot into a micro farm.  Killer Image is Wendy’s first novel in the Allison Campbell mystery series. 

Wendy has also authored The Seduction of Miriam Cross, a mystery that will be released by E-Lit Books on November 1, 2013. 

Find Wendy at: and on twitter ( and Facebook ( 

As Philadelphia's premier image consultant, Allison Campbell helps others reinvent themselves, but her most successful transformation was her own after a scandal nearly ruined her. Now she moves in a world of powerful executives, wealthy, eccentric ex-wives and twisted ethics.
When Allison's latest Main Line client, the fifteen-year-old Goth daughter of a White House hopeful, is accused of the ritualistic murder of a local divorce attorney, Allison fights to prove her client's innocence when no one else will. But unraveling the truth brings specters from her own past. And in a place where image is everything, the ability to distinguish what's real from the facade may be the only thing that keeps Allison alive.

Wendy Tyson
Details Matter

I was once a member of a writing group.  We met every Sunday at a beautiful house, ate delicious food, and then talked for hours, reading our material aloud and offering feedback on each other’s writing.

Interesting tidbit, perhaps, but do you feel like you were there?  Probably not.  How about:

I was once a member of a writing group that met every weekend at the house of a well-traveled editor.  Her hundred-year-old home was set in the woods by a creek, along a steep embankment, with a driveway so heavily canopied by weeping willows and oak trees that even on a sunny day you felt like you were in the bayou, somewhere dark and humid where magic happened.  Inside, treasures from Italy and France, Spain and the Orient splashed color against cool tile floors and white-washed plaster walls.  We’d curl up on Papasan chairs and eat pita bread dipped in thick, nutty hummus, Kalamata olives from Greece, and, in the summer, slices of Jersey-red tomatoes drizzled with a Balsamic so aged it poured like syrup.  Amy would start.  Her book, a coming-of-age novel about a twelve-year-old Native American girl, was our collective favorite, and tucked in those chairs with the sound of Amy’s soft voice reading her story aloud and the smells of a Mediterranean kitchen wafting from the coffee table, the world drifted away for the afternoon.  We were all in love with Sundays.

In the first example, you received the information I wanted to convey.  In the second example, you were able to experience it.

The best advice I ever received was from an editor-mentor years ago.  She told me to include details.  A few well-chosen, concrete details make a story come alive, she said.  To do otherwise is lazy writing.  It robs the reader of the experience.

Natalie Goldberg, of whom I am a huge fan, wrote in her book, Writing Down the Bones: “We are important and our lives are important, magnificent really, and their details are worthy to be recorded. This is how writers must think, this is how we must sit down with pen in hand. We were here; we are human beings; this is how we lived. Let it be known, the earth passed before us. Our details are important. Otherwise, if they are not, we can drop a bomb and it doesn't matter. . . Recording the details of our lives is a stance against bombs with their mass ability to kill, against too much speed and efficiency. A writer must say yes to life, to all of life: the water glasses, the Kemp's half-and-half, the ketchup on the counter. . . Our task is to say a holy yes to the real things of our life as they exist – the real truth of who we are: several pounds overweight, the gray, cold street outside, the Christmas tinsel in the showcase, the Jewish writer in the orange booth across from her blond friend who has black children. We must become writers who accept things as they are, come to love the details, and step forward with a yes on our lips so there can be no more noes in the world, noes that invalidate life and stop these details from continuing.”

Very powerful.  Very true.

I’ve tried to apply this advice to my own writing.  The interesting thing is that the closer I am to a character, the harder it is to do. That’s when it’s so tempting to be lazy.  I wrote a short story several years ago called “The Problem with Ugly.”  The story, published in Eclipse, A Literary Journal, was about a Chinese-American family dealing with a daughter/sister’s anorexia.  It was a difficult story to write, but I had more offers of publication for that story than I had ever had before (close to 10).  I think the reason the story struck a chord was not because I’m an expert on either Chinese culture or eating disorders (I’m not), but because I really had to dig in as a writer.  I had to get to know these unfamiliar characters and paint their lives on the page.  And to do that, I grounded the story in details.

Natalie Goldberg also says to keep your hand moving.  That’s my advice to beginning writers.  Keep your rear in the chair and your hand moving. 

And ground your writing in details.


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