Monday, January 17, 2022

John Keyse-Walker

John Keyse-Walker practiced law for 30 years, representing business and individual clients, educational institutions and government entities. He is an avid salt- and freshwater angler, a tennis player, kayaker and an accomplished cook. He lives in Ohio and Florida with his wife. Sun, Sand, Murder, the first book in the Teddy Creque mystery series, won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award.

Keyse-Walker's latest Teddy Creque mystery is Palms, Paradise, Poison.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

In the most ground-level sense, Palms, Paradise, Poison gets the reader fully into the substance of the story. “Palms” establishes that the setting of the book is tropical. “Paradise” shows that the setting is not just warm but idyllic. “Poison” is a guaranty of injury or murder. Put together, the three words say it all: Murder in the idyllic tropics.

I must confess that I am bad with titles; none of my working titles has ever made it into print. My wife, Irene, has come up with the titles to all three of my published books, as well as the fourth slated for release sometime in mid-2022. She is a title whisperer.

What's in a name?

Does the name build the character or the character build the name? The latter, I think. I do not try to use character names that imply some quality of the character’s personality. I like to leave that part to the character development in the writing itself.

However, I do believe it is very important to make the names of characters appropriate to setting or ethnicity. Much of the action in Palms takes place in Cuba, so I researched the common surnames and given names for the island and use names that a local would recognize as a name that their neighbor might have.

Do you find it harder to write beginnings or endings? Which do you change more?

I love writing both and find neither difficult. Something always inspires beginnings. In Palms, which opens with a hurricane striking the small island of Anegada, my real-life experience with Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Irma and Eta made the writing and the drama real. And endings almost write themselves.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Good writing is based upon the writer’s experiences in the world. Those experiences are viewed through the lens of the writer’s personality, so I think there is much of me, both bad and good, in my series main character, Constable Teddy Creque.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

The natural world has been a significant inspiration to me. Every life is shaped by the natural environment in which one lives and I try to bring that to my books. My other influence is movies. While writing, and especially while writing dialogue, I visualize my characters as if they were acting in a movie.
Visit John Keyse-Walker's website.

My Book, The Movie: Sun, Sand, Murder.

My Book, The Movie: Beach, Breeze, Bloodshed.

The Page 69 Test: Palms, Paradise, Poison.

--Marshal Zeringue