01 May 2020

Virtual Author Visit with Author Skye Taylor

Hello Readers and Welcome to our Virtual Author Visits!

For the next six weeks I'm changing things up a bit. In addition to my weekly Wednesday post, I will play hostess to one of my fellow authors, as well as be a guest on their blogs. So, feel free to stop by each Sunday, read about these incredible authors, and follow me around as I visit one of their blogs. Join us on our blog tour, and at each stop you will learn a little bit more about these fantastic wordsmiths and their wonderful writings. You won't want to miss the fun!

Without further ado, I'm pleased to introduce to you my guest this week, award-winning author, Skye Taylor!

Skye Taylor, mother, grandmother and returned Peace Corps Volunteer, loves adventure and lives in St Augustine Florida where she enjoys the history of America’s oldest city, walking on the beach, and volunteering with the USO. Her published work includes Bullseye, TheCandidate, The Camerons of Tide’s Way series and Iain’s Plaid. Visit her website: www.Skye-writer.com to read her short stories and essays about her time spent in the South Pacific with the Peace Corps. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Florida Writer’s Association, RWA and Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. Skye has twice won silver in the Royal Palm Literary Awards with Healing a Hero and Worry Stone, and The Candidate placed second for Strong Romantic Elements in the ACRA Reader’s Choice Awards. She loves hearing from her readers at Skye@Skye-writer.com

About Bullseye: A Jesse Quinn Mystery (Jesse Quinn Mysteries Book 1)
Publication date: Feb 26, 2020
Publisher: SandCastle Books
Genre: Mystery

Dan Hoffman’s wife is dead. His fingerprints are on the glass prism she was bludgeoned with, and powerful people want him in cuffs. But Detective Jesse Quinn has a history with Dan and she believes he’s innocent. A man on the run claims the murder is tied to a long-ago cover-up over an incident in Afghanistan. Four people are dead, and two attempts have been made. A rival in the Sheriff’s office wants to take over the investigation and time is running out. Will Jesse be able to put all the pieces together before she is sidelined and Dan arrested for his wife’s murder?

Buy the book: Bullseye: A Jesse Quinn Mystery (Jesse Quinn Mysteries Book 1)

Interview with Skye Taylor

What was your “writer dream when you began to write? What is your “writer dream” now?

I wanted to publish a book. I guess. I dove into writing with a vengeance when I got laid off from my job and spent 10 months on unemployment and discovered I loved the process of creating a story, especially creating characters that I could love and hope my readers would love just as much. Now I just seem to have all these great ideas for stories that I can’t imagine NOT writing.

Why did you start —what triggered your writing?

I had an English teacher in Junior and Senior years of high school who really challenged me and created the spark. On that first day in his class, I thought I was doomed when he advised us that he would deduct 5 points for every misspelled word. I might not have been the world’s worst speller, but I wasn’t far from the top of that list. But then he handed out dictionaries and told us they could remain on our desks during quizzes and tests and he expected us to look the word up if we weren’t sure. That began my exploration into a far more varied vocabulary and a love for words. His assignments made me dig deep as well, and I discovered I had a gift for writing that might never had come to light had I not had Mr. Keyes for two very formative years in my education.

Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?

This quote inspires my life. Can’t say I have one that inspires my writing itself. “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!” ― Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

How do you blend your writing life with your “real life”—do you find it challenging to make time for both sides? If so, what are some of the difficulties and how do you resolve them?

When I was working, I found it difficult to write. My novels have all been character driven and my writing style is to be emotionally involved with my characters, living their journey as I write. When I had to work, it was up at dawn to exercise, then shower, breakfast and off to work. Return at the end of a tiring day, walk the dog, eat, and sit down in front of my computer. I’d look at the manuscript where I’d left off the night before, then check email. Look at the manuscript again, play a few games of solitaire (this was before the enormous time-suck of the internet) and then back to the manuscript. I’d finally go back and read the chapter up to where I’d left off and finally, FINALLY, be emotionally back into the story. Except now it was nearly time for bed so I could get up in the morning and start all over again. I eventually retired a few years early so I could just write full time without the daily grind of 9-5.

What is your most recent book? What inspired it?

Bullseye is book 1 in my new series, the Jesse Quinn Mysteries. I can’t say that any one thing inspired it. As I mentioned earlier, I have grown weary of the same old, same old that seems to dominate the romance genre so I was looking for a new challenge and opted for mystery. While other authors have created best-selling series with amateur sleuths, as my son points out, how many people do you know that have that many people around them die mysterious deaths? So, cozies were not my style either. Could have opted for a PI, but ended up deciding to have my main character be in law enforcement.

I love to get right into my research for any book, contemporary or historical, so I signed up for the Citizens Law Enforcement Academy and enjoyed every night of the 12 week course: the chance to drive a police cruiser, on their training course, meeting the K-9’s who serve, visiting the incident house where real life situations play out on a screen in front of you, waiting for your response, a visit to all the special teams that included SWAT, diving, helicopter, hostage negotiation etc. Then I went on two ride-alongs and got to see what a deputy’s life and work are like up close and personal. It was an eye-opening experience that gave me a whole new appreciation for the dedication, professionalism and patience that our men and women in law
enforcement exhibit every day.

Interview with Jesse Quinn

Interviewer: Good afternoon, Deputy Detective Jessalyn Quinn, or do you prefer to be called Jesse?
Jesse: Only my mother and my ex call me Jessalyn but everyone who knows the real me calls me Jesse. I like it because my dad used to call me Jesse Girl when I was little. He was killed in the line of duty when I was twelve he’s the reason I wanted to be a cop. I aspire to be a law enforcement officer he would have been proud of.
Interviewer: So, I guess you’ve wanted to be in law enforcement all your life.
Jesse: Pretty much. I tried living the life my mother thought proper for a southern lady. You know, dutiful wife and mother, active in the community and all that stuff. But it didn’t work out. And it definitely wasn’t fulfilling once my kids got to school age and started having a life of their own. Elliott, my ex, was another mistake, but the less said about him the better. When that life began to unravel I enrolled at the Police Academy and got a job with the St John’s County Sheriff’s department right after graduating. And I love my work.
Interviewer: But does your work sometimes interfere with your family life? It must be hard being a good mom and a good cop.
Jesse: Mike only has two years left in high school and Jacqui’s a freshman. They’re good kids and for the most part, I trust them to make good decision. Sometimes I do get caught up on a case and I worry what might be going on at home when I can’t be there, but so far I’ve been able to balance the two pretty well. Jacqui’s just turned thirteen and wants to be 21 so I have to be especially vigilant with her, but her father, while he wasn’t much of a husband, is a good dad to his daughter and he’s been there when I can’t be. My mom has taken Jacqui under her wing too so there’s that. And Mike has Seth.
Interviewer: Who’s Seth?
Jesse: He started out as Mike’s tutor. Mike wasn’t okay with his father taking off for a younger woman and his grades were slipping badly. So, Seth came into his life, got him back on track in school, then stayed around to be all the things Mike’s dad never had the time for.
Interviewer: So, is there a new man in your life, or have you turned your back on that kind of relationship? Once burned, twice shy and all.
Jesse: (blushing a little) Well, Seth has hung around for more than just Mike. I tried to pretend there was nothing there and once Mike was doing okay, Seth would be gone. But he’s more persistent than that. And incredibly patient, waiting for me to loosen up, and maybe take a chance on him. He’s good company, a good listener and a great cook. I don’t know if it will ever be more than just friendship, but . . . who knows. Maybe. 
Interviewer: So, tell me a little about your work. How did you end up on the Major Crimes Squad?
Jesse: Being a detective is a lot more rewarding than riding in a patrol car ever was. Some of the things a deputy sees, no one should ever have to see. People can be incredibly stupid or just as incredibly evil. Some folk just get into trouble without half trying. Being on patrol is day after day of dealing with the worst of people every day and the best of people on their worst days. Major Crimes has its share, more than its share, of just plain evil, way too much human suffering and pain, but it’s also rewarding when you solve the puzzle. Figure out who did it and nail them. Sometimes you have to tell someone a loved one has perished and that’s never easy, but when you manage to track down the perpetrator and throw in them in jail, you get to go back and give the family some sense of justice. That’s the rewarding part. And sometimes you get to intervene in someone’s plan to hurt another, save a kid from a life of sexual slavery, or drugs, or convince a battered wife to finally leave her spouse and start healing again. At the end of the day, I know I’ve made a difference, and that’s what makes this job worth the hardships and the ugliness, time away from family or just the nightmares you live with for the rest of you life.
Interviewer: Well, Detective Quinn, it’s been interesting chatting with you, but I can hear your phone beeping so I guess I better let you get back to your work. Thanks for coming in today. Jesse: (Reaching for her phone) It was my pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Excerpt from Bullseye

The tang of salty air filled my senses as I gazed up at the familiar, sprawling mansion where I’d spent so much of my youth. Hanging out with my ex’s sister and being courted by Elliott the Rat while the house still belonged to the Edwards family.
Then there was that intense fling I wasn’t so proud of. The one with Dan Hoffman, current owner of the property.
Dan had called 911 when he arrived home from work and found his wife Laney unconscious. According to Lt. Ward, Dan had desperately demanded an ambulance, but when the EMT rig rolled in the wife was already dead.
I ducked under the yellow crime scene tape stretched across the cobblestone drive, and strode toward the house. At the top of the wide, stone staircase a handsome black rookie stepped into my path.
“Ma’am? This is a crime scene. No one is—”
I shoved the front of my suit jacket aside. As he gawked at the badge hanging on a lanyard around my neck, I held out my ID folder.
He accepted the black folder. “Jessalyn Quinn.” He frowned, then his head jerked up and his eyes met mine. “You’re Jesse Quinn? The Jesse Quinn?”
“That would be me.” I tried to add a jaunty grin.
“But you’re . . . I mean—”
I made the tsking sound Mother never missed an opportunity to scold me for. “Too short? Too female? Looks can be deceiving. Didn’t they teach you that at the academy?”
Nothing about my diminutive, tailored appearance matches the reputation of an impetuous rookie barely off probation who had taken out three armed thieves at a convenience store my first week alone on the job. I’d been far too hasty back then and way overconfident. However, having prevailed in spite of taking a round in my thigh, the incident had gained me creds. Big time. No one had ever questioned my ability to handle myself since if you didn’t count the testosterone-laden ribbing dished out on a regular basis.
“Sorry, Detective Quinn. No disrespect meant.” The young deputy started poking at the electronic tablet he held, logging my information and the time I’d arrived.
“None taken.” I slipped my ID back into my pocket. “Were you first on the scene?”
He nodded. “I was just a couple blocks away. Got here before the EMTs.”
“Deputy—” I glanced at his name tag. “MacKenzie. I’ll catch up with you later.”
“Just ask for Mac,” he replied, nodding.
“Mac,” I repeated as I stepped past him and into the cool interior of the beautiful old house. When I’d stepped out of my cruiser, the tidal wave of déjà vu had been strong, but inside, the clash of history, of memories good and bad, swelled in my chest. I did my best to ignore the tightness and inspect my surroundings impartially.
My sturdy, leather-soled shoes clicked loudly on the bare, hardwood floor that had once been covered with a luxurious Oriental carpet. A carpet that had tickled my bare backside on more than one occasion. Another wave of shame burned through me as I hurried through to the next room.
The old family room hit me even harder. I clenched my teeth and forced the memories back into the box where they belonged.

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