Saturday, September 2, 2023

Interview With Award-Winning Crime Novelist Lisa Towles


1. What inspired you to write this book? My husband often gives me interesting character names - such was the case with Derek Abernathy, a prominent character in Salt Island and my E&A Series. So I started with that name, I let it sit for a while (1.5 years), and eventually one day I wrote the first paragraph of what would later become a 3-book series. Mari Ellwyn is the (first person) protagonist and Derek is her investigation partner.  

2. What exactly is it about and who is it written for? Salt Island follows a private investigation team's inquiries into two separate cases - one of corporate corruption and another of eco-terrorism and industrial espionage. But the underlying mythology of this book and all of the books in the series involves Mari's search for her missing father, how she's running from her past, and suffering from the pain of a broken family. The book's universal themes are of abandonment, secrets, personal transformation, and justice, and it's written for readers who love crime thrillers, puzzles, complex and layered plots, and deep characterization.   

3. What do you hope readers will get out of reading your book? I hope readers will be inspired by Mari, the main character, and empathize with the pain of her many challenges and root for her as she battles both internal and external adversaries.  

4. How did you decide on your book’s title and cover design? Titles are a bit mysterious for me - sometimes they come naturally and easily, and others are a long and painful nightmare. This one came easily as I started researching the Caribbean (part of the story takes place in the British Virgin Islands) and learned of an actual island called Salt Island. This cover and my last three book covers were designed by Tatiana Fernandez of and she's does amazing work. The plot of this book is layered and I wanted the cover to have different layered color, texture and imagery to align with that.  

5. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers – other than run!? LOL! I think it's important for novice writers especially to listen to the voice inside when it comes to deciding what to write. I see a lot of writers creating new work according to specifications of a particular genre or meeting a marketing metric. I think it's useful to understand those external influences and stay up to date on trends, but I always guide new writers to write the story that wants to come out, and deal with the marketing later.   

6. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? I think a lot of things are breaking down in the publishing industry and, likewise, a lot of new developments are emerging. The reliance of technology and AI are prominent and stretch across every aspect of digital marketing and publishing. There are lots of options now that we didn't have before as well as the traditional models that brought us up to this point. The merging of old and new and the emerging innovations that result from that nexus are exciting. I think it's a fanastic time to be an author right now.   

7. Were there experiences in your personal life or career that came in handy when writing this book? Yes - I wrote my MBA dissertation on fracking and I used some of the knowledge and research I'd gathered in this book. Part of the eco-terrorism plotline involves environmental abuses by the oil industry.  

8. How would you describe your writing style? Which writers or books is your writing similar to? One reviewer compared by writing style to Evanovich, Grafton, and Millhone, but I think my writing style is sort of unique. I'm a formidably impatient person, and I think my writing style reflects that - giving enough detail when needed but constantly addressing the questions "Where's the action" and "why does it matter"?  

9. What challenges did you overcome in the writing of this book? It took a lot of research, but I love research so I enjoyed it as part of my process.   

10. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? Because it's summertime and Salt Island makes a fantastic beach read! It's a great escape, part of it takes place in the Caribbean (and who doesn't want to read about that?), it has short chapters, lots of conflict, and a fast pace.  

Lisa Towles is an award-winning crime novelist and a passionate speaker on the topics of fiction writing, creativity, and self-care. She has ten crime thrillers in print with a new title, Terror Bay, forthcoming in November of 2023. Her latest thriller, Salt Island (June 2022) won a Readers Choice Award, her political thriller The Ridders (November, 2022) won an American Fiction Award, and her psychological thriller Hot House (June 2022) was a #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller. Lisa is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers and is deeply committed to supporting other writers. Lisa has an MBA in IT Management and works full-time in the tech industry in the San Francisco Bay area. For more info, please see:


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Brian Feinblum should be followed on LinkedIn. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2023. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog, and El Chapo, a pug rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent.  This award-winning blog has generated over 3.4 million pageviews. With 4,600+ posts over the past dozen years, it was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby  and recognized by Feedspot in 2021 and 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by as a "best resource.” For the past three decades, including 21 years as the head of marketing for the nation’s largest book publicity firm, and two jobs at two independent presses, Brian has worked with many first-time, self-published, authors of all genres, right along with best-selling authors and celebrities such as: Dr. Ruth, Mark Victor Hansen, Joseph Finder, Katherine Spurway, Neil Rackham, Harvey Mackay, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Warren Adler, Cindy Adams, Todd Duncan, Susan RoAne, John C. Maxwell, Jeff Foxworthy, Seth Godin, and Henry Winkler. He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America, and has spoken at ASJA, Independent Book Publishers Association Sarah Lawrence College, Nonfiction Writers Association, Cape Cod Writers Association, Willamette (Portland) Writers Association, APEX, and Connecticut Authors and Publishers Association. His letters-to-the-editor have been published in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Post, NY Daily News, Newsday, The Journal News (Westchester) and The Washington Post. He has been featured in The Sun Sentinel and Miami Herald. For more information, please consult:  



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