SIX QUESTIONS WITH KELLYE GARRETT
WRITERS TALKING 'BOUT WRITING
Kellye Garrett is the author of the upcoming suspense novel Like A Sister (Mulholland Books) and the acclaimed Detective by Day lightweight mysteries. The first, Hollywood Homicide, won the Anthony, Agatha, Lefty, and IPPY for best first novel. It’s also one of BookBub’s “Top 100 Crime Novels of All Time.” The second, Hollywood Ending, was featured on the TODAY show’s Best Summer Reads of 2019 and was nominated for both Anthony and Lefty awards. She serves on Sisters in Crime’s national board and is a co-founder of Crime Writers of Color.
Her Website: KellyeGarrett.
1 - Which writer who came before, do you admire the most?
It’s hard to pick one because so many crime writers who are women and/or people of color have made it possible for me to be able to publish today. If I had to go with one, I’ll say Valerie Wilson Wesley, who broke barriers with a black woman PI in the early 90s and is writing a cozy mystery series now. I particularly connected with Valerie’s main character, Tamara Hayle, because she was a Jersey girl like me. It’s the reason I put actual places in my books.
2 - Which teacher(s) had the most profound effect on you?
I wish I had a better answer to this question so let’s just say my high school English Teacher who was rumored to be a former Chippendales dancer.
3 - Besides writing, what’s your favorite hobby or passion?
I’m super into Tarot cards though I just started being brave enough to read for friends. It’s the wanna-be know-it-all in me that reaches for them.
4 - What is something that those who don’t write fiction do not know or understand about it?
Probably how many drafts it takes to get to the finished book in their hands. I think a lot of people assume what they’re reading is the first draft. I can assure you that it is not.
5 - Can you think of a key breakthrough moment in your work, for you, that you’d be willing to share?
As someone who’s wanted to be an author since I was five but didn’t get published until my late 30s, I will say the breakthrough moment was finishing the book. I’m still shocked I’ve done it three times—and counting.
6 – What’s next for you?
I’m self publishing my Anthony, Agatha, Lefty and IPPY award-winning Detective by Day series on December 6. My publisher closed abruptly in October 2018 and I got my rights back in February of 2021. And it made me realize that I don’t want this character to disappear. So even though it scared me, I decided to self publish it.
I also have a standalone called Like A Sister coming out on March 8, 2022 from Mulholland. Official book description:
A twisty, voice-driven thriller for fans of Megan Miranda and Jessica Knoll, in which no one bats an eye when a Black reality TV star is found dead in the Bronx—except her estranged half-sister, whose refusal to believe the official story leads her on a dangerous search for the truth.
When the body of disgraced reality TV star Desiree Pierce is found on a playground in the Bronx the morning after her 25th birthday party, the police and the media are quick to declare her death an overdose. It’s a tragedy, certainly, but not a crime.
But Desiree’s half-sister Lena Scott knows that can’t be the case. A graduate student at Columbia, Lena has spent the past decade forging her own path far from the spotlight, but some facts about Desiree just couldn’t have changed since their childhood. And Desiree would never travel above 125th Street. So why is no one listening to her?
Despite the bitter truth that the two haven’t spoken in two years, torn apart by Desiree’s partying and by their father, Mel, a wealthy and influential hip-hop mogul, Lena becomes determined to find justice for her sister, even if it means untangling her family’s darkest secrets—or ending up dead herself.