Interview with Kellye Garrett, Author of Hollywood Homicide

We are so thrilled to be chatting with Kellye Garrett, author of the new book Hollywood Homicide! (Kellye is also a founder of 17 Scribes!)

Please describe what the book is about:

Hollywood Homicide introduces Dayna Anderson, a semi-famous, mega-broke black actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective. It’s the first book in the Detective by Day mystery series being published by Midnight Ink Books.

Share a teaser sentence or two from your novel.

I went back to the bloset, where I didn’t call him. Instead, I got on my tablet and googled “Tricks to trigger memory.” A ton of hits came up. All of them were for how to remember things in the future. That would be fine and dandy for the next hit-and-run I witnessed but was not helping me now. I typed “How to remember something you forgot.”

What do you want people to know about your book?

Hollywood Homicide is a light-weight mystery like you get from a Stephanie Plum novel and the Spellman Files series. It also is based on my experience of spending 8 years in Hollywood. I used the Shonda Rhimes approach to the characters, where the lead is black but it’s a very diverse cast in terms race and ethnicity.

What did you learn about yourself while writing this novel?

I learned that I could actually finish a book! It’s been my dream since I was five-years-old, but fear had me trying literally every other form of writing other than poetry. I finally put my big girl panties on and started writing.

What was your timeline from drafting to publication?

I actually just found my second draft, which was dated August 2013. So it’s been quite a long process. During those five years, I finished about three more drafts, was chosen for Pitch Wars at the end of 2014, found my agent, did more revisions, finally sold the book in May 2016 and here we are!

Being a writer is just as much about patience and drive as it is about talent. It’s also a lot about luck.

What is your favorite part of writing (drafting characters, making up scenes, plotting, developing emotional turning points, etc). Why?

My favorite quote is from Dorothy Parker: “I hate writing. I love having written.” In actuality, I love rewriting. There’s just something about cleaning up my first draft that makes me so happy.

Briefly, where did the idea for your book come from?

I was driving down the street and saw a billboard offering a $15,000 reward for information on a murder. I was so broke at the time that my first thought was, “I should try to solve it for the reward money.” My second thought was, “That’s a horrible idea in real life but a great idea for a mystery.”

When do you do your best thinking about your work in progress?

When I’m not thinking about it, if that makes sense. It’s when I’m walking down the street or in the shower or in bed. Basically anywhere that it’s nearly impossible to write things down. Let’s just say the Notes app on my iPhone gets a lot of use.

 What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever gotten?

Writing is rewriting.

 What’s next?

Book 2 of the Detective by Day series, which will be out sometime in summer of 2018.

“A former magazine editor who’s contributed to TV’s Cold Case, Garrett writes with humor and insight about the Hollywood scene. Readers will look forward to Day’s further adventures.”

Publisher’s Weekly (Starred review)



Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.
But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.
And there are no second takes in real life.

Available August 8 from Midnight Ink.

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