Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Aya Walksfar Interview

We welcome to our Books that Thrill Section Aya Walksfar, mystery novelist! She is the author of several books including the one reviewed, Sketch of a Murder.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My childhood was a chaos of poverty and violence. My grandfather, who was completely illiterate, and my grandmother, who could barely read and write, provided a way, and the encouragement, for me to learn to read and write by age 6. Between them and a Carnegie librarian, I began a true love affair with the written word.
I published my first series of articles in a newspaper at the age of 14. After that, I published poems, short stories, and articles in a variety of venues.
In 2002, the first edition of my literary novel, Good Intentions, won the Alice B. Reader Award for Excellence. In 2013, Mountain Springs House publisher brought out a full-length murder mystery, Sketch of a Murder, the first of a series; a stand-alone novella titled Dead Men and Cats; as well as the second edition of Good Intentions.
All of my books can be found on my Amazon author page:  http://amazon.com/author/ayawalksfar

What would people who know you best say is your greatest character strength?

Actually, they would probably say it is my greatest character strength and my greatest character defect: tenacity—or you could call it bullheaded stubbornness.

What is the most interesting job you have ever had?

Other than writing, I would have to say it is my day job: designer and manager of a wildlife habitat.

You’ve been granted three wishes by a genie, what’s the first one you wish for?

That my wife, Deva, should always know that she is the keystone of my life.

You are stuck on a desert island with only one book and one movie. (Fortunately this desert island has electricity and a DVD player.) Which book and which movie do you choose?

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. This powerful book challenges me to think deeper about the ‘big questions’ in life, like love and sorrow. Sister Act 1 makes me laugh. And, I love Whoopi Goldberg.

What are you most passionate about?
Using words to entertain, and to bring about positive change.

Tell us a little bit about your book.

Take a female police sergeant, whose best friend has recently been murdered when a reporter cared more about a scoop than a good cop’s life, place her with a superior who carries a trainload of guilt since his cop-daughter was killed in the line of duty, then add in a pushy, lesbian reporter.

Now, mix in a team of independent, misfit cops who have managed to tick off their superiors enough to merit being relegated to the Siberia of law enforcement, the Special Crimes Team.

Add one serial killer, self-dubbed The Avenger, who is targeting wealthy, prominent men who have skated out from under sexual assault charges.

Blend well and watch the blood fly!
The question is: can these disparate people work together to save an innocent man from being the killer’s next victim? This is a character driven murder mystery told from multiple, first person points of view, including the killer’s.

Is this book part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
This is Book 1 of the Special Crimes Team series; however, each book can be read as a stand-alone. Read as a series the reader can watch the development of the characters.

Was there an event or person that inspired your idea for this book and who or what was it?
At the age of 9, my grandfather was murdered, and his killer never brought to justice. Since that time, I have seen people commit crimes and walk away due to a technicality, or just having the money to buy the best lawyer.  That planted the seed.

Which book of yours are you most proud of? Why?

Good Intentions. In Good Intentions I explore the ramifications of family secrets. Several people have emailed or spoken privately to me to let me know that my book touched them in some way, helped them to come to terms with their lives.

What types of marketing strategies have worked for you best?

I am still working on defining those. Right now, I am learning to use social media to connect with my readers, and other authors. Being a technosaur makes this a challenging endeavor.
I have a Facebook profile page where I post Biker Granny Motorcycle Philosophy; updates on my work; articles and videos that I find online and feel are important, such as UpWorthy’s sharing of the video “Sweetie” and things my readers specifically request, such as book recommendations/reviews. http://www.facebook.com/ayawalksfar
My Facebook author page is dedicated to my novels: sharing news, reviews, and excerpts from them as well as insights into my writing journey. http://www.facebook.com/AyaWalksfarAuthor 
On my blog are individual pages for each of my novels on which I post reviews, comments, character interviews and other things of interest.  I love to share the work of other authors by interviewing and/or reviewing their novels. There are also articles of interest to writers and non-writers as well as short stories.  http://www.ayawalksfar.com
Pinterest is a new endeavor. I post photographs of places mentioned in my novels, such as Mount Baker where The Avenger is cornered in Sketch of a Murder;  places that are important to my characters like Mount Vernon which is Sergeant Nita Slowater’s hometown; inspiring quotes I’ve found, and, of course, wonderful photographs of animals. http://www.pinterest.com/ayawalksfar
Other social media I'm involved with are:

What is your definition of being a ‘successful’ writer?

Touching lives in a positive and lasting manner.

If there is one lesson that you want readers to take away from your book, what would that be?

Look beyond a person’s fa├žade to see the real human.

Do you have another project in the works right now? What can you tell us about it?

Actually, I have three. Street Harvest, Book 2 of the Special Crimes Team series, is due out Spring 2014. It explores the issues of missing children, street kids, and human trafficking.

Run or Die! Is a murder mystery that confronts the fears of a small town and how that explodes into violence when good people remain silent.  Run or Die! Is due out Summer 2014.

Old Woman Gone, Book 3 of the Special Crimes Team series, looks at the lust for power and to what lengths people will go to obtain it.

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