I love to speak to authors about their books and recently reviewed CJ Lyon’s Snakeskin on MysteryThriller.TV so I was keen to talk to her. She also has a new book coming out with environmental activist Erin Brockovitch so we talk about that and how her work as a pediatrician informs her writing. Below is a video interview with mp3 download if you prefer audio plus text summary.
- How CJ Lyons started as a romance writer by being a finalist in Romance Writers America. She was then contacted to write a medical thriller series but aimed at women. Her books are all about the people and relationships, less about the crime. But she didn’t want to be pigeon-holed as a doctor writing medical thrillers. When some of her books weren’t accepted by publishers, she published them independently and mixes traditional and indie publishing.
- CJ is currently writing a series with environmental activist Erin Brockovich. On collaboration with someone famous and how great Erin is to work with, even though her speaking schedule takes her around the world so she is always busy. The books have a strong female protagonist and the first one is out on March 2. Erin’s publisher approached CJ on the potential working relationship and they found that the mix of strong, but flawed women was important for the book. Both think that people can become their own heroes, and aim for the books to inspire people to take action and change their own lives.
- CJ has woven her life interests into her writing. You need to be passionate about the world and characters you are writing about. We talk about Snakeskin which is about crime against kids but focuses more on how the protagonist deals with the balance between solving horrific crimes and looking after her family. CJ did stay with an FBI agent and interviewed people. She wanted to bring this world to life.
- On the use of a pen-name. CJ didn’t want patients picking up the book so her nurses came up with a pen-name for her. She uses the name CJ Lyons for “thrillers with heart” as they are about the family or relationships at the core of the story. It’s an umbrella brand that can encompass any kind of genre within this. She might consider a different pen name for mainstream thrillers.
- On using initials as a female thriller writer. Most female thriller writers do this because men think twice about buying a “girls book”. Kindle may be breaking down those barriers. CJ does have a varied fan-base though. [ We also discussed this issue on ThrillerCast with David Wood and Alan Baxter]
- Why CJ is blogging and on social networking sites. Authors now need to be the CEO of Me Incorporated. The blog is a place where CJ can share the information she finds and uses for her own business. At heart she is a hermit and it is overwhelming but she knows it’s important. It’s not the job of an agent or publicist or publisher.