This week’s guest at the Deb Ball is a force to be reckoned with. Kellye Garrett has, in addition to writing a highly acclaimed mystery novel, spearheaded the 17 Scribes group of 2017 debuts for over a year now. She has tirelessly devoted herself to organizing the group and celebrating each release, and I daresay it’s largely due to her that it’s so robust and active. Her own debut, Hollywood Homicide, was chosen as a Library Journal Debut of the Month and described as a “winning first novel and series launch” in a starred review by Publishers Weekly. It’s the start of what will no doubt be an absolutely stellar series, and I’m delighted to welcome her to the Ball!
Interview with Kellye Garrett
4. Where do you love to be?
I feel like I should say some exotic location like Bora Bora. But my happy place is my bathtub. Nothing makes me forget a stressful day like a nice, long bath. I go overboard with bubbles, Epsom salt and a tablespoon of coconut oil. I also even splurged on a bath tray so I can read a book or have a drink.
9. When you were a teenager, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
A novelist. It’s what I wanted to be since I was five years old, actually. It just took me a really long time to get over my fear and to just do it. I still can’t believe I did, honestly. Of course, in the ensuing years, I detoured into every other type of writing from journalism to TV writing. In fact, the only thing I haven’t tried is poetry. And that was probably for the best.
17. What three things would you want with you if stranded on a desert island?
- A perpetually charged Kindle.
- A lifetime supply of pizza.
- A fully-decked out bathtub (see above).
21. Have you ever met someone you idolized? What was it like?
Does email count? Valerie Wilson-Wesley is a black woman author who wrote an amazing mystery series about Tamara Hayle, a black woman Private Investigator who lives in Essex County, New Jersey. It wasn’t just one of the first times I saw a black woman as the star of a mystery, it was also the first time I read a book where I actually recognized the places in the book. Needless to say, I’ve had a writer crush on her and her series for years. When I finally got my deal, I tracked down her email address and sent her a gushing, fan letter. She was so nice and so encouraging.
There are so few black women who with traditionally published mysteries, that when we find each other, we all go above and beyond to support each other. I feel so honored to be in such amazing company of people like Valerie, Rachel Howzell Hall, Kyra Davis, Alexia Gordon, Carolyn Wilkins, VM Burns and more.
22. What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I once wrote reports for a small private investigation firm. It was nowhere near as exciting as it sounded. We weren’t investigating any murders or blackmail or anything worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. Chinatown, it was not. It was more slip and falls at work.
Kellye Garrett spent eight years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for Cold Case. A former magazine editor, she holds a BS in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. She now works for a leading media company and brainstorms ways to commit murder for her novels. Hollywood Homicide introduces Dayna Anderson, a semi-famous, mega-broke actress who takes on the deadliest role of her life: Homicide Detective.