I’m interviewing Linda Maria Frank today, author of mystery series “The Annie Tillery Mysteries”. Welcome!
1) Have you been writing for a long time? What inspired you to start a writing career?
I have been writing since the 1990’s. I did not publish until 2010. I taught forensic science for over twenty years, and I loved Nancy Drew as a kid. I began writing mysteries by turning the case studies I wrote for my students to solve into books. Annie is inspired by my favorite female students. One of my pet projects as a teacher was to inspire girls to follow careers in science.
2) Is The Madonna Ghost your first book? If not, please tell us a little about your first book.
The Madonna Ghost is my first book. My Annie Tillery Mysteries involve the title character in a series of adventures dealing with the solution of crimes. Annie lives with her Aunt Jill, who is a NYC police detective. In the first book, The Madonna Ghost, they go to Fire Island for a vacation. Annie meets a boy who tells her about a local ghost. They investigate and find that the ghost is hiding a crime that impacts on national security. The Madonna Ghost has a mystery, a thrilling solution to a crime, obviously a ghost story, and a lovely little romance, all set on the beautiful beaches of Fire Island. The other books in the series are Girl with Pencil, Drawing and Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys. These books involve Annie in exciting plots of a timely nature, give good understandable insights into how forensic science is used to solve crimes, and bring in the extra added bonus of a little romance. The settings are glamorous and exciting, if not a little scary at times.
3) Why did you choose mystery / suspense as genre for your book?
My science background makes the solution of problems, neatly tied up at the end, something that is very satisfying to me. I like the sense of justice at the end. I love giving the forensic science explanations to the mysteries in the books. I like the edgy quality of having my heroine getting herself out of dangerous and exciting situations. I love to read mysteries! Why not create my own?
4) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Since I write YA lit, I will be specific with my advice to that genre. Here goes. Do your research. Make the stories have the gravitas of factual detail and accuracy. Today’s YA readers are pretty sophisticated. It’s okay to suspend reality a bit. You are not writing hard crime fiction. I believe that adventure and a sense of fun go a long way in YA literature.
5) Do you have any works in progress you’d like to tell us about?
I am working furiously on marketing. Come the New Year, I will start my next Annie Tillery, which will involve her great grandmother, forays into her past, and a mystery in her WWII past. I am looking forward to the research that L.I., the Cradle of Aviation, will involve.
About the Books
The Madonna Ghost
Seventeen-year-old Annie Tillery and her Aunt Jill set off for Long Island’s Fire Island for a vacation of surf, sun, and sailing. Annie is happy to leave behind the stress of her relationship with her parents. Aunt Jill, who is an NYPD detective, is mixing her vacation with a case she must keep secret from Annie.
Girl with Pencil, Drawing
Amateur detective Annie Tillery is at it again. After she wins a series of art lessons at a prestigious art gallery, Annie shows up for her first lesson to find her instructor, Francesca Gabrielli, in a volatile argument with John DiCristiani, the art gallery’s director, over his incessant requests for her to illegally copy art masterpieces.
Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys
Annie Tillery joins boyfriend, Ty Egan, and his best friend, Cedric Zeeks, at an archaeological dig in Turkey. All is not what it seems in the fascinating city of Istanbul. The gang finds themselves tracking treasure hunters and thieves through mysterious passageways in Istanbul’s old city, and the treacherous caves surrounding the ancient archaeological site.
Linda Maria Frank: With the introduction of the Annie Tillery Mysteries, Linda has been launching a new career as author. Inspired by a childhood passion for Nancy Drew books and the popular television series, CSI, she successfully married an appealing heroine (Annie Tillery) with a gripping story plots to create these new fiction books for mystery readers. The Madonna Ghost has earned the distinctive “Editor’s Choice” and “Rising Star” awards. In Girl With Pencil Drawing, the second book in the series, Annie stays one step ahead of the bad guys. The third book, Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys, released this year, will soon join the others in digital audio.
Frank’s first love was teaching science, her assignments ranging from Middle School to graduate level courses at Hofstra and Adelphi Universities. It was the forensic science courses that gave her the story lines for her heroine, Annie, who is based on a composite of former beloved students.
Presently Frank is the producer of “The Writer’s Dream”, a series of shows with writers who discuss different aspects of the profession, seen on youtube.
The Madonna Ghost won Rising Star from iUniverse. It also got the author a spot into the Authors Show 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading. The author is a finalist this year for Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys. The cover for “Secrets” is a finalist in the Book Goodies cover contest. http://www.wnbnetworkwest.com/WnbAuthorsShow50Writers2014-preVote.html
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieTilleryMysteries?ref=hl
Chapter 1 of “Secrets in the Fairy Chimneys” on YouTube