Today Lyn Farrell is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about The Blind Switch, her first novel in the Rosedale Investigations mystery series.
Welcome, Lyn. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about your novel. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
“The Blind Switch” is the first book in a new series called “Rosedale Investigations,” a private investigator practice headed by PD Pascoe, Wayne Nichols and Dory Clarkson as well as young Billy Jo Bradley.
PD Pascoe is a retired detective formerly with the Nashville, PD. Wayne Nichols is also a retired detective. He worked with the Rosedale Sheriff’s office for twenty plus years. Dory Clarkson is an Investigator who also recently retired from the Rosedale Sheriff Office. She worked there more years than she cares to remember. Billy Jo is twenty-one, and before PD hired her and provided her with an apartment, was waitressing, going to community college at night, and living in her car.
The cases that come to Rosedale Investigations are varied and range from missing persons the police have given up on, infidelity, and theft the clients don’t choose to report to the police.
In the 2nd book in the series “The Blind Split” the team investigates a missing mother and child. The child is finally found in a deserted farmhouse, but the mother seems to have vanished. In the third book in the series, “Blind Sided” they are asked to investigate the provenance of a 100 year old painting.
Where did the idea for the mystery that is central to the story come from?
Years ago I read a book about an adopted girl who finds her birth mother. The mother was by then married and had two more children. She had never told her husband about the first child. The story stayed with me and became the central idea for the first client. Cara Summerfield, who comes to the PI agency in “The Blind Switch,” wants them to find her birth son.
Is there a theme or subject that underlies the story? If so, what prompted you to write about it?
The major theme in the story concerns a young couple, Tracey and Danny, who are struggling to afford to buy a home. Tracey is a beautician. Danny is a thoroughbred racehorse trainer and he gets in trouble with gambling when trying to get enough money together to make a down payment on the house.
I see many young people struggling with rising costs of living today. Many turn to drugs or drink because of the stress. There are always consequences. Danny gets beat up by some thugs who collect gambling debts. I feel sorry for young people who must live on the edge if they don’t have college degrees. And the rising cost of higher education is criminal.
How do you create your characters? Do you have favorite ones? If so, why are you partial to them?
Wayne Nichols, Dory Clarkson and PD Pascoe are characters my daughter Lisa and I created for the Mae December mystery series. We wrote those mysteries together under the penname of Lia Farrell.
Billy Jo Bradley is a new character for this series and I had fun creating her. I gave her a difficult life situation. Her mother recently died of cancer. Her father was never in the picture and in fact Billy Jo doesn’t know who he is. Her only other relative was her mother’s father, Hector, who died recently. Hector served in the Army during the Viet Nam War with PD Pascoe. When he was dying, he contacted PD and asked him to look out for Billy Jo. PD stepped up and found her, offered her a job and a place to live.
I’m partial to Billy Jo because she’s much like me. I had a tough, poverty-stricken childhood, and am driven to achieve in life in part due to my hard-knocks background. Like Billy Jo, I also have had opportunities knock when I was on the edge. Billy Jo is grateful to PD for what he has done for her and loves him as a grandfather. She enjoys opera and listens to it because it helps her solve problems.
How do you bring to life the place you are writing about?
The setting for the novel is a small fictional town of Rosedale, Tennessee. It too was created for the Mae December mysteries. All I had to do for this new novel was to create a renovated house for the PI business. I gave Billy Jo an apartment upstairs in the house.
Everyone who writes mysteries is indebted to Agatha Christie. She is the Queen of the “cozy” or small town mystery. Rosedale, Tennessee is much like the little towns in Dame Christie’s mysteries where everyone knows everyone. The major source of information for solving small town crimes is always the “house to house” interviews. Although many times police report to colleagues that nobody saw or heard anything, this is never true. Somebody always knows something. It’s only a matter of tracking down the knowledgeable individual.
What research do you do to provide background information to help you write the novel?
I am fortunate to have in my extended family circle several people who are experts in their fields. I have an ER doctor, a high level police officer, a child psychologist, and I worked for years in the medical school where I encountered a wealth of stories.
In addition, I use the internet, although I am very careful to double check what I find. I also read widely, both fiction and non-fiction. And I love the streaming service called “Britbox” that carries all the old British mysteries.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about the book?
“The Blind Switch” is the first traditionally published book I have written on my own without my daughter. It was both fun and challenging and I hope more than anything else that people will enjoy my story.
Thanks for answering my questions, Lyn, and good luck with The Blind Switch, the first book in Rosedale Investigations mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Lyn Farrell: Lynda J. Farquhar (penname Lyn Farrell) holds a master’s degree in English and a Ph.D. in Higher Education/Administration from Michigan State University. Prior to her retirement from MSU, she was a professor in the College of Human Medicine where she worked for 30+ years. When she retired, she returned to her first love, writing, and self-published a YA Trilogy, “Tales of the Skygrass Kingdom.” Subsequently, she and her daughter, Lisa Fitzsimmons, wrote a 7-book mystery series, “The Mae December Mysteries,” published by Camel Press under their joint penname, Lia Farrell. Marketing efforts for the Mae December mysteries, as well as much work by Camel on subsidiary rights, deal with Harlequin, have resulted in sales of 22,000+ (to date) for the series. She is now writing a new mystery series, “Rosedale Investigations.” The first is titled, “The Blind Switch” and was released in January 2021.