Interview with Lisa Brunette, Creative Writer with unique ideas
C. Kendall: Which author name do you use for your novels? Do you use your real name or a pseudonym?
Lisa Brunette: Lisa Brunette - it's my real name.
C. Kendall: What are the titles of your novels?
Cat in the Flock - the first in the McCormick Files mystery series
Out of the Blue, a series of short stories that show my work-in-progress novel about a family of military brats
C. Kendall: How did you choose your titles?
Lisa Brunette: Through brainstorming and discussing with others.
C. Kendall: Why did you choose a female sleuth for your main character?
Lisa Brunette: I wanted to write from the point-of-view of a strong woman character, as that's important to me.
C. Kendall: What are the characteristics of your female sleuth? What is her personality? How does she look? How old is she? What is her job or activities? Answer this for each of your novels.
Lisa Brunette: Cat is a young adult trying to find her way in the world. She has inherited the gift of "dream slipping," which allows her to slip into other people's dreams. But it's a gift with certain limitations - she must also be sleeping, and at first, at least, it seems she must be in physical proximity to the dreamer. She comes to Seattle to apprentice with her eccentric "Granny Grace," who shares the ability and uses it in her work as a PI. Cat follows in her footsteps, after a stint as a security guard.
C. Kendall: Why did you choose those particular characteristics for your main character?
Lisa Brunette: I've always been fascinated by dreams and how real they can be and wanted to explore them as a sort of limited psychic ability.
C. Kendall: How did you get the idea for your novels?
Lisa Brunette: Because of my fascination with dreams, I began to wonder what would happen if you could step into someone else's dream. I like to play with the idea of what dreams can reveal - and what they can't.
C. Kendall: What sub-genre is your mystery? For example, cozy, hard-boiled, police procedural, historical (list all of your mystery sub-genres with a female sleuth)
Lisa Brunette: It's a new adult paranormal suspense story with gay-friendly, romantic, and spiritual themes.
C. Kendall: Why did you choose the sub-genre?
Lisa Brunette: I love the idea of presenting psychic ability in as real-world a way as possible. The other topics - gay liberation, romance, and spirituality interest me and are important.
C. Kendall: What do you like about this sub-genre?
Lisa Brunette: It's fun to put your character in a situation where she has a gift that comes with responsibility and limitations.
C. Kendall: What is the easiest thing about writing this sub-genre?
Lisa Brunette: The easiest thing is writing about the dreams.
C. Kendall: What is the hardest thing about writing this sub-genre?
Lisa Brunette: The hardest thing for me is also the hardest thing for Cat and Granny Grace, and that's trying to figure out how to use the dreams to solve crimes.
C. Kendall: Do you have any plans to write any other sub-genres with a female character?
Lisa Brunette: Yes, I'm working on a novel in the mainstream literary category with a female protagonist.
C. Kendall: What is a description of your story?
Lisa Brunette: For most people, dreams are a way to escape reality. But for Cat McCormick, they're a way to get closer to the truth. Cat can 'slip' into other people's dreams. She moves to Seattle to apprentice with her Granny Grace, who shares the ability and uses dream slipping as a PI. Cat's first case leads her to a megachurch, where she finds redemption and goodwill amidst repression, hypocrisy, and murder. Features: spiritual themes, gay characters, mostly off-camera (but very hot) sex scenes, little to no violence.
C. Kendall: What is the theme of your novel?
Lisa Brunette: Redemption.
C. Kendall: How much research do you use for your novels?
Lisa Brunette: A lot - both primary and secondary. But for this first novel, I stayed pretty close to areas I knew well since I'm writing around an FT day job and don't have time or resources for research trips.
C. Kendall: How do you go about doing the research for your novels?
Lisa Brunette: Besides using the Almighty Google, I talk to people. For example, I met someone at a party who used to work for a rental car agency, so I quizzed him about it in order to get those details right.
C. Kendall: Do you prefer male or female sleuths? If you have a preference, explain why?
Lisa Brunette: No preference. I'm a huge fan of Jack Reacher. But I'm annoyed when women are only window dressing in a male sleuth's story line.
C. Kendall: Is your female sleuth a professional or amateur? Why did you make that choice?
Lisa Brunette: Amateur. I wanted to depict a training relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter, which is something you hardly ever see done in fiction.
C. Kendall: What type of skills does your character use when solving a mystery? Is there a particular skill your character relies on the most?
Lisa Brunette: She uses her dreams, of course. But she also has a degree in criminal justice, and she's good at reading people and noticing details.
C. Kendall: Does your character work alone or with someone? Describe the characters who help your female sleuth.
Lisa Brunette: She apprentices with her grandmother but then sets off on her own.
C. Kendall: What are the types of dangers your character faces?
Lisa Brunette: She goes undercover in a Midwestern fundamentalist church, where she could be in great danger if they find out she's snooping.
C. Kendall: How does your character defend herself when faced with dangers?
Lisa Brunette: She's a fighter, but she also knows when to exit.
C. Kendall: Does your character have any fears?
Lisa Brunette: She fears a lack of intimacy due to her ability alienating her from others.
C. Kendall: What type of mystery does your character solve?
Lisa Brunette: It's a mystery that centers around the leader of a fundamentalist church and involves his family and close associates.
C. Kendall: What motivates your character to solve the mystery?
Lisa Brunette: She discovers a mother and daughter on the run.
C. Kendall: Does your character fit any stereotypes or outside stereotypes for women?
Lisa Brunette: No.
C. Kendall: Does your character have to clear her name or someone else?
Lisa Brunette: Yes.
C. Kendall: Does your character have to break any laws in order to solve the mystery or does she find a way of staying within the law?
Lisa Brunette: Good question. She teeters on the edge of the rules at times and learns the hard way how befriending someone for information and misrepresenting yourself can lead to feelings of betrayal.
C. Kendall: How do you get the ideas for your novels?
Lisa Brunette: They come to me as a strong compulsion to tell something, some truth about the world, and then I have to write.
C. Kendall: What do you like about books with a female sleuth as a main character?
Lisa Brunette: It's integral to our ability to see ourselves in roles as instigators and investigators. These books can be very empowering.
C. Kendall: Is there anything you dislike about books with a female sleuth as the main character?
Lisa Brunette: Not really.
C. Kendall: Did you run into difficulties when writing your novel with the female sleuth? How did you resolve them?
Lisa Brunette: There were no difficulties having to do with my sleuth being female.
C. Kendall: What is the easiest thing about writing a mystery with a female sleuth?
Lisa Brunette: There's no difference for me. I've written from the male point of view plenty, and both require me to get into character and hear that person's voice.
C. Kendall: Which Authors who write this type of novel inspire you?
Lisa Brunette: JA Jance, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Mary Daheim.
C. Kendall: Do you have any plans for writing additional novels with female sleuths?
Lisa Brunette: Yes. This is a series.
C. Kendall: What are your favorite books you read with a female sleuth?
Lisa Brunette: Nancy Drew, of course.
C. Kendall: Please explain the best way someone can purchase your books?
Lisa Brunette: Through Amazon or Smashwords.
It's available in paperback or Kindle e-book format.
Interviews of other amazing Mystery Novelist who have a Female Sleuth as the main character:
E. M. Kaplan
C. Hope Clark
All of these Authors and several others are an inspiration to me for my recently published Novel, Fatal Dose and my next novel, Dark and Dirty Secrets. Both novels have a female sleuth as the protagonist. For more information see the home or book page on my website, ciconkendall.com. It's available for purchase on my website, cichonkendall.com or amazon.com in paperback or Kindle e-book format.