Book Club Visit

img_0835I had a great time earlier this week visiting the King Albert Street book club in Coquitlam, BC.

The ladies in the club had read Horse With No Name and then asked me to join the group and answer questions. We talked about character motivations, history of the North Okanagan, transgendered cowboys, and lots more.

They even fed me cheese, which makes them my best friends for life. 😉

Writing Thrillers on Trains, Visual Story Ideas, and Kidnapping Plots with Rachel Amphlett

Podcast episode 28Thriller author Rachel Amphlett grew up reading thrillers. She mentions both Dick Francis (perhaps my all-time favorite mystery author) and Enid Blyton in our chat; those were two authors who introduced me to the world of mysteries as a young person as well.

I asked Rachel about writing in a genre that is predominantly occupied by men, but like JF Penn, she doesn’t let that phase or stop her. Her Dan Taylor series concerns a former British soldier struggling with PTSD, as well as an injury received during a run-in with an IED.

You can find out more about Rachel and all her books on her website And as with so many of my guests, Rachel has a book – and two book extracts – available for free. You can find that on her website.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Rachel Amphlett

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast and I’m here today with Rachel Amphlett. Hi, Rachel.

Rachel: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you?

Rachel: Good, thanks, and thanks for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s great to have you here. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

RachelAmphlettBefore moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a subeditor and editorial assistant. Her thrillers appeal to a worldwide audience and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

Thank you so much for being here with me today, Rachel. The thing that I found so intriguing about your books, or one of the things, is that you’re a woman writing in a man’s world. We mentioned J.F. Penn just before we started recording and the conspiracy theory-thriller genre really is dominated by men.

Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to this genre?

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Comic Noir and Advice from Sue Grafton with Renee Pawlish


Podcast episode 22Author Renee Pawlish (and our very special guest Harley the cat) and I have a great chat today about her comic noir detective series, her new mystery series featuring a hard-boiled detective in the WW II era and much more.

Renee is a prolific author and a huge fan of the mystery genre. She’s been reading mysteries her whole life and it shows in the thoughtful way she’s created the detective for her longest running series, the Reed Ferguson Mysteries. Reed is a smart aleck, as Renee describes him, who is different than many other traditional noir detectives; he’s not a recovering alcoholic and he has a loving wife and family. Renee and I discuss Reed’s connection to other noir detectives like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Columbo, Jim Rockford and more.

I forgot to ask Renee about the ‘punny’ titles to some of her books. You can see some of those shown below, like The Postman Always Brings Dice and The Maltese Felon. I love an author with a sense of humour!!

Mystery fans will be thrilled to know
that Renee has started a page on her website aimed and offering readers mystery novels each month at a bargain price. Each month she features new mystery novels that are either free or on special for $0.99. You can check out this month’s deals here.

You can find out more about Renee and her books on her website She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Renee

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Renee Pawlish. Hi, Renee.

Renee: Hi, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Renee: Doing just great.

Alexandra: Good, and I should say we’re here with Renee and Harley, who’s there in the background.

Renee: That’s right, yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: That’s fantastic. I just want to explain to everybody that I have a bit of a cold, so I have a cold lozenge in my mouth. If I sound a little weird, that’s what’s going on there. Let me introduce our listeners to you.

ReneePawlishRenee Pawlish is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Reed Ferguson Mystery” series and other mysteries and stories. Critics have said that Renee is a promising new voice in the comic murder mystery genre and a powerful storyteller. Her book, and I might mispronounce this, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil”, is that right?

Renee: It’s Nephilim.

Alexandra: Nephilim, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil” has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti. Renee was born in California but has lived most of her life in Colorado. So I’m really excited to have you here today, Renee, to talk about your “Reed Ferguson Mysteries”.

Renee: Yeah.

Alexandra: The thing that really attracted them to me is they’re in that sort of comic noir genre, and I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan. He’s not with us any longer, of course.

I wondered was there a particular author like Raymond Chandler or somebody who inspired you?

This-Doesnt-Happen-In-The-Movies-new-450x643Renee: Yeah, kind of a lot of the classic authors. I actually wrote the first book in the series, “This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies”, gosh like 14 years ago. I was influenced by Sue Grafton. I’ve met her a number of times back when she was just getting going and another one was a local author here named, John Dunning who wrote the “Booked To Die”, the “Bookman’s Series” I guess they call it. And I was trying to come up with a detective that was a little bit funny, a little bit of a smart ass, and Reed was sort of born out of that.

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Texas Lions, Florida History and College Inspiration with JC Gatlin


Podcast episode 19Have you ever met anyone who raised a lion cub? I hadn’t until I chatted with author JC Gatlin.

JC lives in Tampa, Florida now, but he grew up on a ranch in Texas, where he and his brothers raised an honest-to-goodness lion. I’ll let him tell the story. It’s fascinating.

Now JC is the author of three mystery novels, with a fourth to be released later in the summer of 2016. Today we discuss what inspires his writing, some of his writing practices, why he’s drawn to writing stand-alone mysteries and more.

You can find out more about JC and his books on his website He’s also on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with JC Gatlin

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast, and I’m here today with JC Gatlin. Hi, JC.

JC Gatlin: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you today?

JC Gatlin: I’m pretty good. How are you?

Alexandra: Yes, me too. Let me give our listeners a little bit of information about you.

JC GatlinJC Gatlin lives in Tampa, Florida. In addition to regular fishing trips, he wrote a monthly column for New Tampa Style Magazine, and then began penning several mystery/suspense stories. He also maintains a blog about the art of spinning a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat mystery yarn. Coming from a large family with five brothers, JC grew up in Grapevine, a small Texas town just outside of Dallas. He moved to Tampa in 1999, and most of his stories feature the rich landscape of Texas and Florida as a background.

So let’s begin maybe…well, actually I have a question that’s completely unrelated to mystery novels.

JC Gatlin: Go for it.

Alexandra: Can you tell me a little bit about Hakeem, the lion?

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High Tech Mysteries and Ordinary Heroes with Helen Hanson


Podcast episode 16Author Helen Hanson has put a unique spin on the mystery thriller, with her high tech mysteries, whose main characters are ordinary people caught up in extraordinary situations.

Today we talk about why understanding the motivation for her characters is so important, the value of untethering from technology (even for an author who writes high tech thrillers), and why Helen is fascinated with ‘failure to launch’ syndrome.

You can find out more about Helen and her books at
She is also on Twitter, and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Helen Hanson

Alexandra: Hi, Mystery Readers. This is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here today with Helen Hanson. Hi, Helen.

Helen: Hi, Alexandra. Nice to be here, thanks.

Alexandra: It’s great to have you here. I’m going to introduce you to our listeners. Bestselling Kindle writer Helen Hanson creates thrillers about desperate people with a high-tech bent. Hackers. The CIA. Industry titans. Guys on sailboats. Mobsters. Their personal maelstroms pit them against unrelenting forces willing to kill.

HelenHansonHelen directed operations for high-tech manufacturers of semiconductors, video games, software, and computers. Her reluctant education behind the Redwood Curtain culminated in a B.S. in Business Administration with concentrated studies in Computer Science. She also learned to play a mean game of hacky sack.

Helen is a licensed private pilot with a ticket for single-engine aircraft. She currently lives amid the bricks of Texas with her husband, son, a dog that composes music with squeaky toys, and another one that’s too lazy to bother. So welcome, Helen.

Helen: Thank you.

Alexandra: I hope one of the dogs makes an appearance, that would be exciting.

Helen: That’s very easy to do actually, she likes it. The other one I couldn’t get to get up unless I’m going to feed her, then the bowl has to be on the floor for her.

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Police Procedurals, Profilers and Private Investigators with A.D. Davies


Podcast episode 15Author A.D. (Antony) Davies is clearly a man who likes to explore characters and their motivation. He had three different types of mystery novels available and we talk about them all today: A police procedural series with a female serial killer profiler as the main character; a wealthy private investigator; and a stand-alone mystery involving a cult in Nevada and a cop with a deep faith.

You can find out more about A.D. and his books at
He’s also on Twitter.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also watch the interview on YouTube, if you prefer.

Transcript of Interview with A.D. Davies

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor, this is It’s A Mystery podcast and I’m here today with A.D. Davies. Hi, Antony.

Antony: Hello.

Alexandra: How are you?

Antony: I’m good, thank you.

Alexandra: On a Sunday afternoon in…I forget where you live.

Antony: Staffordshire in the United Kingdom.

Alexandra: Staffordshire. Yeah, I knew the U.K. I chad West Yorkshire in my head but that’s where you were raised.

Antony: That’s right. Yeah. That’s where I’m from originally and it seems to be where I’ve put a few of my books.

Alexandra: All right. Well, I have a ton of questions because you’ve got three different series, sort of, that I want to ask you about. So let me introduce you to our listeners.

AD DaviesA.D. Davies grew up in Leeds, West Yorkshire. In high school his ambition was to be a writer of horror novels although in adult life he became an avid fan of crime fiction. After a long stint in an unsatisfying job, and we’ve all had those, he attended the University of Leeds where he attained a degree in creative writing. Shortly after graduation he moved to the midlands to marry the love of his life. A.D. Davies is well-traveled, his favorite destinations being New Zealand and Vietnam which have influenced his writing immensely.

For now, however, globetrotting is taking a back seat to raising his two children and writing. Although he hopes one day to combine all three.

Let’s start maybe talking about this stand-alone mystery novel and then maybe we can talk about the two series that you have.

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Multiple mystery series and writing strong female characters with John Mefford


Podcast episode 6 (1)Today I talk to John Mefford who has written three mystery thriller series; the Booker series, the Greed series and the brand new FBI agent Alex Troutt series.

John shares how he has been influenced all his life by strong women and how he built this latest series around a flawed but strong female character, who is on a journey to understand herself better. John is a prolific author who plans to write and release six books in his new Alex Troutt series this year alone.

You can find John at, where the first books in both the Greed and Booker series are available for free. John is also on Facebook. And Twitter.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below.

A quick programming note as well; It’s a Mystery Podcast is now available on iTunes, so you can subscribe to it there. And you can also listen to it on Stitcher, if that’s your preferred podcast site.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with John Mefford

Alexandra: Hi everyone, this is the It’s a Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with John Mefford. Hi John.

John: How you doing, Alexandra?

Alexandra: I’m good. How are you?

John: Very good. Thanks for having me.

John MeffordAlexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. I’m happy to have you here. I’m going to give everybody a little bit of an introduction about you. Throughout his four decade writing career best-selling author, John Mefford, has written about storks, a story about his mother and her dog, every sport imaginable, and, here in the last few years, mystery thrillers. He much prefers writing mystery thrillers.

He’s published 11 novels across three series and in January 2015 released the first book in his new Alex Troutt series titled “At Bay”.

We’re going to talk about Alex Troutt a bit here today. I thought we could start out, maybe, you could tell us a bit about your other two series, though, because they’re both mystery thrillers as well, correct?

Keep reading →

Psychopaths and British Noir with William Patching


Podcast episode 5 (2)Author Will Patching is fascinated by psychopaths. He has a website dedicated to just this topic. And the villain in his British noir mystery, Remorseless, is a character study in psychopathology.

Will and I had a lovely long chat about all sorts of disturbing subjects, including psychopaths and the absence of guilt that allows many a murderer to do what they do.

Will has also generously offered It’s a Mystery Podcast listeners a free copy of the audio version of his book, Remorseless! If you would like one please email me, mention the podcast and I’ll connect you with Will.

You can find Will and his books on Also note that Remorseless is free on Amazon at the moment.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the video on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Will Patching

Alexandra: Hi everyone! I’m Alexandra Amor, and I’m here today with Will Patching. Hi Will!

Will: Hi Alexandra, thank you for having me.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. How are things in Thailand this morning?

Will: Pretty warm, as usual. It’s a very nice place to be, beautiful scenery, spectacular place. I live on the island of Phuket. It’s a tourist destination, so I’m very very lucky.

Alexandra: That is nice. Well, that’s lucky. By way of introduction, I’m just going to tell everyone a little bit about you.


Will Patching is the author of “Remorseless”, a British crime thriller featuring forensic psychiatrist Dr. Powers and London Metropolitan Police Officer D.I. Jack Carver. Carver assists Dr. Powers as he tries to unravel the truth about violent psychopath Peter Leech, while battling demons of his own. So first I want to ask you, Peter, you’ve got a website dedicated to psychopaths?

Will: Mm-hm.

Alexandra: And as we were talking about just before the call… We talked about how your book is quite gritty. I think I saw it described somewhere as a British noir thriller, which is fantastic.

I noticed one of your reviewers described it as ‘relentless’. So are those the types of books you like to read as well?

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Vancouver Noir Mysteries with Joel Mark Harris

Vancouver Noir Mysteries with Joel Mark Harris


Podcast episode 3Setting in mystery novels is so important to me. My favorite mystery novels always feature a strong element of setting – Robert B. Parker’s Boston, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles’ Shepherd’s Bush area of London, and Lawrence Block’s New York City, just to name a few. Former journalist Joel Mark Harris joins me today to talk about setting in his wonderful John Webster series of noir mystery thrillers.

Joel and I both live in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and Vancouver is also the setting for Joel’s novels. On today’s podcast we discuss how important setting is to Joel, as well as the research he does for his main character, John Webster, who is a soldier back from Afghanistan, who is struggling with PTSD and substance abuse problems.

Joel’s cat Phantom also make a special guest appearance!

You can find Joel and his books on
On Twitter @JoelMarkHarris. And on Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher. Or watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Joel Mark Harris

Alexandra: Hi, everyone. I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here today with Joel Mark Harris. Hi, Joel!

Joel: Hello. How are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Joel: Good, thank you. Thanks for having me.

Alexandra: Oh you’re so welcome, my pleasure. It’s nice to have another Vancouver writer on the show.

Joel: Yes. Yeah.

Alexandra: That’s pretty exciting. I’ve had writers from Thailand so far, the eastern United States and U.K., so finally someone from my hometown. So by way of an introduction I’ll just let everyone know, Joel Mark Harris is an award-nominated journalist, novelist, screenwriter, and producer. Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, he graduated from the Langara Journalism School in 2007. After working various jobs in the journalism and PR fields, Harris wrote and produced the award-winning feature-length film “Neutral Territory,” which we’ll have to talk about. I’d love to know more about that.


Joel is also the author of the “John Webster” mystery thriller series of books, which is primarily what we’re here to talk about today. So, tell us a little bit about John, Joel. He’s an investigative journalist and he’s back from the war in Afghanistan.

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Wit and Whimsy in Lincolnshire Mysteries with Milly Reynolds

We’ve all met lots of grim, gritty and damaged mystery novel detectives. In her Mike Malone mysteries, set in England’s Lincolnshire county, Milly Reynolds has turned that trope on its head.
Podcast episode 1In the introduction I share the motivation behind It’s A Mystery Podcast, including my love of talking to artists about their art. I come from a family of voracious readers, and we are always looking for our next favorite mystery. I am also an independent author and I began to notice that many amazing books are being shared with the world but they sometimes have trouble finding an audience in the increasingly competitive book market. I’ve taken these two elements of my life and married them. Think of the It’s a Mystery Podcast as a matchmaker between great books and eager fans of mystery novels.

Each Monday I will post a new episode featuring an interview with a mystery author you may not have heard of. And most authors will have a book available for free (or for a very low price) so that you can give them a try with little or no risk. For example, my guest in this episode, Milly Reynolds, has quite a few of her books available for $0.99.
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